|SA- China dialogue in spirit of ubuntu|
THIS week’s SA-China People-People Exchange Mechanism(PPEM)and High-level dialogue has been lauded yesterday by both Minister of International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and China’s Vice-Premier Liu Yandong as being in the true spirit of ubuntu.
“Ubuntu is one of the basic principles of South Africa, expressing the close bond between people and the harmony between people and nature,” Liu said yesterday in her address at the Department of International Relations in Pretoria. “The idea is of coexistence, equality and responsibility. This is in line with the Chinese belief in benevolence, inclusiveness and harmony,” she said.
Liu outlined the long history of solidarity between China and South Africa, mentioning that Nelson Mandela had once said: “China has always been in my heart. When on Robben Island, every year on October 1 the inmates would secretly celebrate China’s national day, as we felt China symbolised the hope of oppressed nations.”
The nostalgic connections were also shared by Nkoana-Mashabane, who opened the dialogue saying “ Our relations and people-to-people interaction with the people of China dates back to our Struggle time and has grown over various epochs of history.”
Mashabane said South Africa is further cultivating the seeds sown by leaders such as OR Tambo who worked tirelessly to shape relations with China during a difficult period.
“ At the height of a repressive government, through his visits to China in 1963, 1975, and 1983, Tambo sought counsel and support that would contribute to our Struggle for freedom.
“ Your relations with us have stood the test of time, you were with us in the most difficult times of our history... and you are with us as we try to transform our economy,” Mashabane told the Chinese delegation, adding Africa needed development, and said South Africa believed in China “we have a friend we can depend on”.
“ China and Africa are important cradles of civilisation.The Chinese nation and Africans nations have similar aspirations and vision. We have strong resonance in our mindset,” Liu said.