Remarks by Minister Mashatile on the occasion of the launch of Festival for Pan African Music in South Africa
Your Excellency the Honourable Minister of Culture and the Arts from the Republic of Congo, Minister Jean- Claude Gakosso and your esteemed delegation
Your Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Congo in South Africa Ambassor Ognimba
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Let me take this opportunity on behalf of the people and the government of the Republic of South Africa to once again welcome my counterpart and brother His Excellency the Honorable Minister of Culture and the Arts from the Republic of Congo; Minister Jean-Claude Gakosso and his esteemded delegation to South Africa.
This is indeed not our first meeting and I am confident it will not be our last.
We hope you will enjoy your stay in our country and that you will once more experience the warmth and hospitality of the people of South Africa.
Your Excellency, the Honourable Minister, we meet here today a few days after the peoples of Africa and the Diaspora celebrated Africa Day.
More importantly this year’s Africa Day celebrations marked the historic milestone of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the premier organization of African people, the Organization of African Unity.
Guided by this year’s Africa Day theme; “2013 the Year of Pan Africanism and African Renaissance”, we have a responsibility to continue promoting Pan Africanism and to ensure the renewal of our continent.
Culture plays a critical role in ensuring that we succeed in our collective pursuit of African solidarity and the renewal of our continent.
Your Excellency the Minister of Culture and the Arts, we in South Africa have taken a decision that we will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the OAU, throughout this year.
It is for this reason that we view today’s launch of FESPAM in South Africa as an important step towards strengthening African solidarity and improving people to people contact as we advance towards the renewal of our continent.
I take this opportunity to thank all those who have made this launch possible.
As South Africa we will certainly participate in FESPAM in the Republic of Congo in July this year.
We note with appreciation that South Africa has been selected to be the country of honour during FESPAM.
We accept this honour with humility. We will use it to further advance the agenda of African solidarity, using the arts and in particular music.
Equally we will use our participation at FESPAM to promote South African music on our continent and expand market access for our artists within the continent.
We are humbled that on the 18th of July 2013, when the world will be celebrating the 95th birthday of our founding farther, President Nelson Mandela, that the Republic of Congo has also dedicated a “South Africa Day” during FESPAM.
This day will culminate into a concert featuring the best of South African music in celebration on the legacy of President Nelson Mandela.
We appreciate this gesture of goodwill from the Republic of Congo.
As South Africa we will continue to share the legacy of Tata Madiba with the people of our continent and the world.
Your Excellency the Minister, we are equally honoured and indeed eager to host a Congo Day in South Africa during 2014 and are looking forward to a celebration of Congolese music.
It is through activities like these that we aim to strengthening African solidarity and improve people to people contact.
We have no doubt that this launch of the Festival for Pan African Music in South Africa will be a success.
Equally we have no doubt that this Festival will be a success also when it is held in the Republic of Congo in July.
Let this Festival be yet another step we are taking to strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between our peoples.
Going forward let us continue to use culture as an instrument to build a better Africa and a better world.
I wish you a successful Festival.