It was a festival of some sort as the maiden edition of South Africa Week in Nigeria kicked off yesterday, April 22, 2023, in Lagos with pomp and pageantry.
The well-attended informal event, which was held at Terraform, Lekki, marked the beginning of a series of exciting week-long activities to commemorate the 29th Anniversary of South Africa’s democracy as well as 29 years of formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and Nigeria.
In attendance were members of the diplomatic community and captains of industries. It also attracted dignitaries from both private and public sectors, including travel and tourism, aviation, automobile, hospitality, banking, and finance. Also in attendance were airlines, travel agencies, tour operators, and distinguished members of the media.
The event, which was the first of its kind, celebrated the colorful sights and sounds of South Africa, amidst innovative tourism products and services which allowed the elated guests to immerse themselves in South Africa while in Nigeria.
Welcoming guests to the event, the Consul-General of South Africa in Lagos, Dr. Bobby Moroe, said the event was the beginning of many good things to come. He appreciated and thanked Nigeria and Nigerians for their unforgettable roles in bringing an end to political instability in South Africa, especially in her struggle for liberation.
“Today, we are kick-starting South Africa Week, the very first ever celebrations in Nigeria. We are celebrating the success of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Nigeria. We are also celebrating 29 years of democracy in South Africa. And we have chosen Nigeria because of the role she has played in the struggle for the liberation of South Africa.” Dr. Moroe said.
“Today is the beginning of a new journey in the renewal of our friendship between South Africans and Nigerians. Today is the beginning of a recruitment process to move down south to South Africa. Today, we want to urge Nigerians and friends of South Africa who want to visit South Africa for tourism, who want to visit South Africa for conferences, who want visit South Africa to go and study, that South Africa is open.” He added.
With “Mzansi Imbiso” as its theme, day one of the maiden South Africa Week promoted and positioned South Africa as the destination of choice for tourists and holidaymakers. It was also an opportunity for stakeholders to engage and network with various sectors as well as the South African Consulate team in Lagos.
The event was spiced up by the energetic Zulu Dancers who thrilled the guests with a splendid performance of South African history and folklore beautifully translated into fascinating music and dance steps. Other highlights of the evening included raffle draws and exquisite gastronomic experiences. Guests also burned up the dance floor.
The maiden South Africa Week is aimed at celebrating 29 years of freedom and democracy, deepening bilateral relations through trade and investment. The event also seeks to position South Africa as a preferred destination for tourism, education, and business as well as showcase the diversity of the rainbow nation in Nigeria.
Several other exciting programs and activities have been lined up to celebrate South Africa Week, including South African and Nigerian Movie and Comedy Night which comes up on Sunday, 23 April 2023. South Africa-Nigeria Trade and Investment Roundtable will hold on Tuesday, 25 April 2023, and will promote and position South Africa as a preferred trade and investment destination.
Other programs lined up include Freedom Day Celebration which will come up on Friday, 28 April 2023. The maiden edition of South Africa Week will come to an end on Saturday, 29 April 2023 with SACG Golf Tournament to promote social cohesion and common interests between South Africans and Nigerians through sports.
Formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and Nigeria date back to 1994. The countries’ respective high commissions were established in Abuja in 1995 and in Tshwane in 1996, opening up bilateral relations between both countries.