Excellency, the Secretary of State of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Mrs Fernanda Rollo
The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, HE Apostolic Nunciature Passigato
Excellencies, Ambassadors accredited to Portugal
The Secretary-General of the Portuguese Communist Party, Mr J de Sousa
Deputy Director General Antunes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs overseeing African Affairs
Other Distinguished Guests
Fellow South Africans specifically also our
SA Honorary Consul in Porto, Mr. António Schneider
SA Honorary Consul in Madeira, Mr. Peter Booth
Ladies & Gentlemen
Welcome to South Africa’s Freedom Day, also called our National Day. This day 23 years ago was a turning point in our history when SA held its first democratic elections, which gave birth to our freedom and our constitutional democracy.
Today South Africans are honouring our fallen heroes and stalwarts in our struggle for liberation. We specifically honour Oliver Reginald Tambo, who would have celebrated his centenary this year. Thus 2017 has been declared the year of OR Tambo, a year of unity in action by all South Africans as we move South Africa forward together in honour of his selfless legacy. Comrade Tambo who was not only our longest serving ANC President, but a super-diplomat who shaped our current foreign policy and ensuring international solidarity is an integral part thereof.
Let me also briefly say we honour with you this week your own Freedom Day – the 43rd anniversary of the “Carnation Revolution” on the 25th April 1974. This was where your democracy was born through a bloodless coup, supported by the civilian population, bringing democracy and civil liberties to the Portuguese people after 48 years of dictatorship.
Keeping focused on this beautiful country, I will not forget the warm welcome I received from President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa during the handing over of my letters of credence in January this year and I must add, that warmth and hospitality have been replicated across the country in my visits and engagements at all levels. Thank you for that welcome.
The deep-seated historical ties between our two countries form the basis of our close pragmatic relationship. It is thus not surprising that SA has the third largest Portuguese Diaspora well over half a million people playing a constructive role and certainly benefitting the economic diplomacy between our countries. The Embassy will continue to work tirelessly in building on and further strengthening the existing partnership with Portugal contributing to building a South Africa that is free from poverty, inequality and unemployment.
I thank you and enjoy the evening with us – especially the cuisine with some bites from South Africa and the best wines and juices all the way from SA.
We also have a surprise performer for you all the way from Montijo… as aprt of promotion of cultural exchanges, a young Portuguese singer, Luis Sequeira!
Enjoy the evening