SA’s perspective on global issues found expression in Ubuntu concept

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Deputy President Paul Mashatile says South Africa’s unique perspective on global issues has found expression in the concept of Ubuntu, which informs the country’s approach to diplomacy and shapes its vision of a better world for all.

“It was the commonly shared values of Ubuntu that motivated us as a government to mobilise our sharpest legal minds to prepare a solid case to be presented to the International Court of Justice in the hopes of arresting the genocide in Gaza, which the UN Secretary-General has called an unprecedented catastrophe,” Mashatile said.

Mashatile made the remarks at the Eighth Annual Ubuntu Awards 2024 ceremony, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Saturday night. 

Hosted annually by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), the awards recognise South African industry leaders, including eminent people and ordinary South African citizens for their distinguished service and contribution to promoting South Africa’s national interests and values across the world.

The event takes place after the opening of Parliament and brings together captains of industry, civil society leaders, members of Cabinet and eminent persons, in addition to all Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to South Africa.

Delivering his keynote address, Mashatile said President Cyril Ramaphosa's reference to  Tintswalo during the sixth administration's final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday solely serves as an indication of the bare minimum achievements that South Africa has achieved over the last three decades.

“We are cognisant that to some, Tintswalo may appear to be an unattainable ambition for a variety of reasons; but, as government, we want the life of Tintswalo to mirror the life of every person and the possibilities that exist for all South Africans, possibilities that exceed Tintswalo’s wildest dreams.

“To achieve this, we must all come together as government, NGOs [non-government organisations], private sector and communities to build a society that will see everyone with equal opportunities,” Mashatile said.

The Deputy President said the reference to Ubuntu in the interim Constitution created hope of an equal and just society, which does not discriminate against people on the grounds of their culture, race, gender or religious beliefs.

Mashatile reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring that South Africa maintains its position as a prominent nation in diverse sectors in the coming years, thereby effecting positive change both domestically and internationally.

Awards winners

The recipients of Ubuntu Wards included, amongst others, South Africa’s Springbok Captain, Siya Kolisi, who received an award in the category of Ubuntu Sports Diplomacy Award (Male). Multichoice received an award in the category of Ubuntu Economic Diplomacy Award (Africa); MaXhosa Africafounder and owner, Laduma Ngxokolo received the Ubuntu Economic Diplomacy Award (Global). 

Ambassador Mohammed Dangor was honoured with the OR Tambo Lifetime Achievement Award, while 30-year-old female farmer from Khayelitsha, Ncumisa Mkabile received Ubuntu Youth Diplomacy Award. 

Ngxokolo said he is super honoured to be acknowledged by DIRCO and sponsors through the award. 

"We have knocked at the doors of DIRCO many times and they have graciously opened. MaXhosa is a growing organisation, it will grow by strategic networks that we are building with DIRCO and various other stakeholders within government and fraternity.

Ngxokolo noted that MaXhosa brand is in a business of selling Ubuntu, African art, and business of selling culture.

“African culture is still a new industry that we stumbled upon, and we were brave enough position our brand around the world. We were confident believe that culture is important, and we believe that every country has brands and their economic driving force,” he said.

Ngxokolo said that the brand currently has 300 staff members and is looking to recruiting 100. –