South African Ambassador to Mexico Sandile Nogxina and his wife Nqabakazi Nogxina hosted a diplomat reception at their residence Wednesday to commemorate Freedom Day, the anniversary of that nation’s first fully democratic elections on April 27, 1994, which ended apartheid and voted the African National Congress and its then-leader, Nelson Mandela, into power.
“Today marks one of the most important milestones in the historical trajectory of our nation,” Nogxina said at the start of the event.
“Indeed the freedom we celebrate in South Africa today is a material actualization of thoughts and dreams of the sons and daughters of our land, some of whom paid the ultimate price, who by their deeds and sacrifices gave us the right to assert with pride that we are South Africans, we are Africans, and we are the citizens of the world.”
Nogxina went on to describe South Africa’s abolition of apartheid as “a butterfly that had escaped its chrysalis into the sunlight of international acceptance.”
“We salute all those at home and abroad who dedicated their lives to ensure the fruition of this noble human endeavor,” he said.
“Our celebration of this day embeds in the collective conscience of our nation a new sense of patriotism that engenders an unwavering determination in our people to work together and make ours a winning nation.”
Nogxina said that South Africa’s “historical imperative of the moment is to harness the energies deriving from this sense of patriotism” and to consolidate them into a “material force for economic growth and development, safety and security, nation-building and reconciliation.”
“Our attainment of freedom is not an end in itself, but a means to an end,” he added.
“It is a solid foundation on which to gradually build the kind of society which embodies the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers and mothers of our nation, a society that is
characterized by the fundamental values of our constitution — democracy, non-racialism and non-sexism, the rule of law and social justice — a South Africa in which all her citizens will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity, a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.”
Notwithstanding his country’s advances since 1994, Nogxina admitted that South Africa “is a work in progress,” with much still needing to be done to deal with a legacy of past socioeconomic injustices.
“As Nelson Mandela aptly observed in his ‘Long Walk to Freedom,’ once you climb a great
hill, you only discover the secret that there are many more hills to climb,” the ambassador said.
“We have discovered that the fight for freedom is a constant struggle which comes with responsibility for the betterment of the lives of our people. Failure to carry out this responsibility negates the very essence of freedom and amounts to the betrayal of the cause to which many selflessly dedicated their lives.”
South Africa and Mexico established diplomatic relations in 1993. Pretoria opened its embassy here in 1994.
According to South African Embassy figures, combined bilateral trade between South Africa and Mexico currently amounts to about $1 billion annually.