On 27 April 2017, the South African Embassy in the Russian Federation hosted a hugely successful celebration to mark the 23rd Anniversary of South Africa’s Freedom Day. This celebration of South Africa’s hard won freedom and democracy was held at the Four Seasons Hotel at the Red Square in Central Moscow. The joyous occasion was attended by more than four hundred guests, comprising South Africans, Friends and Partners of South Africa in the political, economic, academic, media, tourism, cultural, agricultural social and diplomatic sectors; as well as South Africans who were visiting Russia on official and business duty.
Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary of the Republic of South Africa to the Russian Federation, Ms Nomasonto Maria Sibanda-Thusi, who presided over the event, reminded guests of the significance of 27 April to South Africans and expressed South Africa’s profound gratitude to the people and government of Russia for their unwavering support to South Africa’s struggle for freedom and democracy. These fraternal relations have since developed to a strategic comprehensive partnership by the two countries at all levels of government.
Ambassador Sibanda-Thusi highlighted the 25 Years of Diplomatic Relations between South Africa and the Russian federation, which is also celebrated in 2017, as well as the OR Tambo Centenary Celebrations and the South Africa – Russia Cultural Seasons.
The Russian Federation was represented by Ambassador Valeriy Ivanovich Utkin, Director for the Department of African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who attended on behalf of the Honourable Mr Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa of the Russian Federation.
The Mission also utilised the Freedom Day event to promote the South African Brand by screening the dti video on “Doing Business in South Africa” as part of the formalities; as well as showcasing South African wines, fruit imported from South Africa, South African cuisine and traditional attire that reflected the diversity of the South African people. As part of the South Africa – Russia Cultural Season the Mission arranged for South African students studying in Moscow and the State Academic Russian Choir named after Sveshnikov to sing the national anthems and to perform traditional songs.
As part of the Freedom Day celebration the VIII Annual Festival of South African Wines was held at the Metropol Hotel in Central Moscow on 25 April 2017. The Festival saw the show-casing of over 35 South African wine brands, and was well attended by importers of the South African wines in the Russian Federation and Members of the Diplomatic Corps.