Today, we gather here to pay homage to one of our most revered and loved artists - Oom Ray, also fondly known as Bra Ray and Tata Ray and Chikapa - because first and foremost he was an uncle and brother to us all, a member of the family and a true patriot who loved this country with all his heart.
Today South Africa marks 41 years since the heroic uprising by the youth of our country on 16 June 1976. This year’s national commemoration is held in the home of our struggle stalwart, JB Marks, whose remains we fetched from Russia and reburied here two years ago, and whose tombstone was unveiled in February this year.
As I make my maiden speech today in Parliament as the new Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, I would like to immediately convey my gratitude to Minister Mthethwa and the entire Department for warmly welcoming me in their midst.
Today, we meet here on a day which has significance in our history as the 23rd May marks the 23 anniversary of admission of our country as the 53rd member state of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU), in Tunis, Tunisia.
Today we come together to outline our programme for Africa Month, as we celebrate our Africanness, work towards African integration and reflect on where we have come from in order to map the road ahead.
We greet you all on this 23rd anniversary of the dawn of freedom and democracy in our country.
However, we start on a sad note.
Our primary mission is to serve the people and this historic launch of the South Africa- China High Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism is destined to do just that.
Fellow Africans lend me your ear, the Premier institution of higher learning in Gabon, Omar Bongo University has instructed me to be part of their efforts to keep memory of those sons and daughters of our continent who contributed in our efforts to deal with historical injustice alive.
Tonight before I start my talk, I want to deliver a message of appreciation from the President of Republic of South Africa, President JG Zuma to the Esteemed President Ali Bongo of the Republic of Gabon and to the Gabonese.
I am delighted to be part of this remarkable event of the Fourth Annual Ungasali Storytelling Festival hosted by the Freedom Park under the theme: “My Story, the Story of My Future”.