State visits strengthen bilateral relations

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cabinet has welcomed the recent State visits by Senegalese President Macky Sall and Indonesia’s Sultan Husain Abubakar Syah of Tidore.

In a statement released after the executive’s fortnightly meeting, Cabinet said relationships established between South Africa and the two countries during South Africa’s journey to democracy have ensured that the fruits of trade, tourism and other economic links are realised and celebrated. 

During the Senegalese State visit, views on critical regional and global issues were exchanged and agreements in several areas signed. 

In 1987, then Senegalese President Abdou Diouf paved the way for the ANC in exile to meet at the Gorée Islands during a period when liberation movements were still banned in the country. 

This historic moment, which was termed the Dakar Talks, was commemorated this year through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on the twinning of Robben Island and Gorée Islands. 

During apartheid, Robben Island was used by the apartheid regime to incarcerate freedom fighters, while the Gorée Islands were used as a route through which African people were shipped out for a life of slavery. 

The visit to South Africa by Sultan Husain Abubakar Syah highlighted the common history of colonial rule and the centuries-old fight for national liberation by the people of Indonesia and South Africa. 

The Tidore delegation included Muhammad Amin Farouk, a descendant of Tuan Guru, a freedom fighter who was captured by the Dutch and sent to Robben Island in 1780. 

Tuan Guru (Imam Abdullah ibn Qadi Abdussalam) and three of his companions were imprisoned for about 12 years and thereafter kept in exile in the Cape. During this time, Guru contributed greatly to the development of the local community and the building of the first mosque. A number of South Africans trace their family history to him. 

The delegation visited the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, where they were welcomed by the presiding officers, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. –

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