H.E. Mr. Geoffrey Quinton Mitchell Doidge
The Embassy of the Republic of South Africa Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos
/ photo ajwood
BANGKOK: A stunning South Africa National Day celebration took place in the Thai capital at the Siam Kempinski 5 star hotel.
HE GQM Doidge gave a Freedom Day speech last night to a packed audience. With the kind permission of the SA Embassy in Bangkok the amiable Ambassador’s speech is reproduced here in its entirety.
The speech was preceded by a moment of silence in respect to all those who lost their live in Sri Lanka in last week’s attack.
The Ambassador recounted that he and Carol called Sri Lanka home for 5 happy years and felt for all those affected.
His Excellency Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Virasak Futaku
Representatives from the Royal Thai Government and Army
Ladies and gents and all the South Africans who have joined us this evening!
Before we commence with our formal proceedings, please join me in observing a moment of silence in memory of the many who have succumbed to the bombings in Sri Lanka.
I had the honour of serving in Sri Lanka as South Africa’s Ambassador for five and half years. South Africans stand in solidarity with all Sri Lankans during these trying times.
Freedom Day is the official, National Day of South Africa. On this day we celebrate one of the most significant political reformations in modern history.
Two great leaders of the time, President Nelson Mandela and President FW de Klerk provided outstanding leadership which brought about the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime and laid the foundation for a new democratic South Africa.
Both leaders were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1993 for their constructive policy of peace and reconciliation and for their commitment to the forces of good and to advance the country towards equality and democracy.
Birthday cake for a Nation. HE Ambassador Geoff and Carol Doidge (centre) are flanked by HE Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr & Mrs Virasak Futaku
On the 27th of April 1994, all South Africans will recall the images of the long snaking queues when millions of South Africans turned out to vote for the very first time in their lives. President Mandela himself was seventy five and Archbishop Emeritus Tutu was 62 years old, when they voted for the very first time.
On May 08th South Africans will once again return to the polls, for the sixth multiparty, democratic elections. It is fitting to wish all of the 48 participating parties well in the upcoming elections.
The diplomatic corp were out in force /photo ajwood
The President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, impressed that a central priority for government is to encourage significant investment in our economy, to stimulate economic growth and job creation. South Africa has entered a new era of hope and confidence.
This year the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of South Africa, commemorate twenty five years of cordial bilateral relations and both countries share a common desire to further strengthen and expand relations in the areas of trade, investment, agriculture, tourism and people-to-people cooperation.
The introduction and establishment of several bilateral mechanisms and improved interaction are showing early signs of improved trade, increased investment potential and closer collaboration on several key issues supported by several high level visits taking place between the two countries.
The Kingdom of Thailand is South Africa’s largest trading partner in ASEAN and we are Thailand’s most significant trade partner in Africa. South Africa is open to investment and is currently engaged with Thailand on investment opportunities in a range of sectors.
South Africa, congratulates Thailand on its recent elections and conveys its best wishes for the completion of the roadmap to democracy.
I wish to thank all government departments and institutions; in particular, we would like to mention the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all supporting government departments for their ongoing collaboration and support.
We thank our many sponsors, Paramount Group, Koi Restaurant, UMH Company Myanmar, Beijing Axis, Integrated Convoy Protection, Honorary Consul Saweeng Crueaviwatanakul and Amazon Colours.
My appreciation also goes to the Assumption University Chorus and School of Music, as well as Fivera.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
We will now have the Royal Thai Anthem.
I now request you to join me in proposing a toast to His Majesty King Rama X, for a successful coronation, for a long life, good health, prosperity and the gift of wisdom.
Please remain standing
We will now have the South African National Anthem.
I now request you to join me in proposing a toast to His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, and wish him a long life, good health, prosperity to the President of the Republic of South Africa.
Skalleague Michael Bamberg (third right) is a lucky winner in the draw prize of Kenya Airways (KQ) presented by Country Manager Khun Chaichan (third left).
Story and pictures by
Andrew J Wood