A number of envoys and diplomatic officials from countries in Africa and elsewhere yesterday paid glowing tributes to South African anti-apartheid leader and former President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his birth centenary.
The remembrance meeting was held at the South African embassy in Doha.
Besides South African ambassador Faizal Moosa, the envoys of Algeria, Morocco, Tanzania, Palestine, eSwatini and Eritrea, as well as representatives from the embassies of Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Cuba also attended the meeting.
While recalling the initiatives taken by Mandela 27 years after his release from prison in 1990, the diplomats also participated in what they referred to as “67 minutes of community service for Madiba (as he was popularly known to his people)” as a mark of respect to the African National Congress (ANC) leader.
At the meeting, the speakers also remembered another South African leader Nontsikelelo Albertina ‘Ma’ Sisulu, whose birth centenary will be celebrated on October 21, 2018.
Replying to a query, Moosa said they joined the wonderful initiative of doing “67 minutes of service” as Mandela devoted 67 years of his life to public service.
The activities in Doha were held as part of a global programme under which South African embassies across the world undertook initiatives aimed at raising awareness and making a solid impact on social and charitable projects close to the heart of both Mandela and ‘Ma’ Sisulu.
As part of the initiatives, this year the UN General Assembly will mark the centenary by holding the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, focusing on world peace ahead of the annual gathering of world leaders two months from now.
As part of the programme, the organisers plan to launch initiatives such as ‘Elders’, aimed at the harnessing of grassroots creativity by gathering the 100 most innovative and workable ideas to further the causes of peace, health, equality and justice.
Recalling Mandela’s humanitarian efforts, Moosa highlighted his words: “massive poverty and obscene inequality are terrible scourges of our times”. He also noted that the well-being of the child was an issue close to the heart of both Madiba and ‘Ma’ Sisulu. “Children of every culture, at every social and economic level across the world are at risk of violence, sexual harm, human trafficking, exploitation and neglect. Children living in poor households and communities impacted by conflict often resulting and impacted by poor education, lack of primary healthcare resulting in pandemics such as HIV and Aids are often at increased risk of abuse, violence and exploitation.”
The ambassadors, including Moosa, reiterated that the values and principles advocated and practised by Mandela united Africans.
The South African ambassador also made an appeal to the country’s residents to make efforts to convey the values of Madiba by volunteering their time for 67 minutes of community service.
Later, the envoys and some of the diplomats who were present at the meeting went to Hamad hospital to donate blood.
Qatar-South Africa bilateral trade grows
There has been a significant improvement in bilateral trade between Qatar and South Africa in the last one year.
While Informing this yesterday, South African ambassador Faizal Moosa said there was an increase of 22% in trade between the two countries in the first three months of this year compared to the corresponding period last year.
The overall growth last year was almost close to 70% compared to the previous year, he said, reaffirming that trade between the two countries has grown “exceptionally well” since the blockade began in June 2017.
“South Africa has been able to find markets for many of its products in Qatar since the blockade (started),” he said.
Moosa also informed that his country was seeking natural gas security, and hoped to further strengthen relations with Qatar and expected investments from Doha in building better petroleum infrastructure in South Africa.
Replying to a query, the envoy said South Africa is offering its support and expertise to help beef up security during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar as his country has the experience of hosting the championship in 2010.
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