RU  UK  EN
Articles  >  Know  >  Mandela – the Legacy of Freedom: an exclusive interview with South Africa's Ambassador to Ukraine

Mandela – the Legacy of Freedom: an exclusive interview with South Africa's Ambassador to Ukraine

On 23 October, in Kiev in the Dome Master Class of Education and Culture opens both a festival and exhibition dedicated to the 100th birth anniversary of Nelson Mandela. Thus our chief editor Darya Karyakina interviewed the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa in Ukraine Christian Albertus Basson, who told us about this outstanding person whom he met personally.

– So, let’s start. I would like to ask you about the today’s event. Actually, I think that we did the first exhibition of such kind in Ukraine, so please present a little bit for Ukrainians and tell us some words about this occasion.

– Thank you very much. This year is celebrated the twentieth anniversary of birth of the new South Africa, twenty years of democracy. The President Mandela, as you know, played a very big role in the birth of the modern South Africa – he was the first democratically elected President, in 1994 he was elected already at advanced age. Mandela passed away in December last year, we still fell his presence. Our first exhibition and our first film festival are devoted to those twenty years of democracy and life of the President Mandela that we want to share with everyone. We did it globally this year, not only in Ukraine, but also in other countries. We are very fortunate to have content from the producers of very good films with star actors and top producers for this event. So, we are very glad to host over four or five weeks films about the South Africa.

– I’d like to ask you personally what do you think are the most important achievements of Nelson Mandela for your country?

– To my mind, he obviously achieved a lot. I believe that the first one is reconciliation. We are diverse country: we are from different histories, backgrounds and cultures, and Mandela was able to forge a new nation around the Constitution. Moreover, through his personal contact he was able to bridge the different forces: extreme right wing, left wing and all political groups. He made them all feel a part of the process, to my mind, this is his the most lasting legacy. The second one was his respect for Law, the rule of Law. He was trained as a lawyer, and we are very fortunate that our three founding fathers Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and the President Mandela were all lawyers and had a great respect for Law. For them the African democratic Constitution that captures the aspirations of the South Africa and human rights respect, was very important. I think the third element for him was that he was a success to take the South Africa back to international community. As you may remember, we were crossed out from the most of international events until Mandela became the President. He took us back to international community. Thus, he contributed much into reconciliation and peace through negotiations. You know he did not like war, he did not like violence. He made a great contribution into humankind. He was a very great man of humanity. I met him a few times.

– Really?

– Oh yes, I can tell you some interesting stories about him.

– Please tell, it is very interesting to speak to person who made an acquaintance with such a great figure.

– I am going to share my personal experience. When I was working in our international relations department, I had to go and brief him a few times in his office. He remembered names and he remembered faces. Once there was a very interesting occasion. As you know, Mandela spent twenty-seven years in prison and therefore he had serious problems with his legs. One day I was asked to take documents to him and to brief him in his residence. I arrived, there were no security guards, the only one who was there was his butler who opened a door for me. I said to him “I want to see the President Mandela to give him documents and to brief him”, he answered “Go up to his room”, but I said “I cannot go to his room, you know?” he told me “Don’t worry, he doesn’t mind.”. When I walked up the stairs, on the left-hand side, he was lying on the bed and a physiotherapist was massaging his legs. I was very conscious when they saw me walking in. And Mandela said “Young man, come here. Come and see your president lying on his bed”. How many people would do it?

– He was so open…

– He was open, great, you know, humanitarian. He loved people, he had a great love for people.

– Incredible scene, really. I think for our leaders it would be an interesting story. Actually my last question is: in what way can the Ukrainians learn more about the figure of Nelson Mandela? Maybe you can recommend some places to visit in your country, if they have such possibility, to read some books.

– We are always very eager to prescribe other countries our experience, so let me be frank about it. There are some general lessons that one can learn from the South Africa. First, you have to talk to everybody, whether you agree with them or not, you shall talk even to those people you do not agree with. And your President is doing that. Secondly, it is important to have good Constitution. The third aspect is the importance of the rule of Law and of the judicial system. The fourth aspect is that Mandela opened the economy for everybody to participate in it. Therefore, these are lessons that you can learn from the South African experience. We are not perfect, we are still dealing with the challenges from the past, but Mandela was very good in setting up an example for the future. Now when people talk, Mandela is always a reference point. They say “Mandela would have done this… This is that he would have said or done… ”. Thus, he has really become a benchmark. A very good example: he was summoned, while he was the President, to court to testify and he went to court, and many people said to him that presidents do not go to court, but for him it was important to set an example for the future that nobody is above the Law. So, there are many lessons that you can learn from Mandela’s life. And you will see them tonight and in some of movies within next few days. And also he had a great sense of occasion, how to use symbolism. One movie that shows this is Invictus. It is a fantastic movie about rugby. Or rather, the movie is about how to use the rugby cup to unify the nation. This is really something to see.

– Thank you, thank you very much.

– My pleasure. Thank you so much, thanks. 

It will be interesting:
Multifaceted palette of peace in Kiev. OUTLOOK WORLD CULTURE FESTIVAL gathered guests and friends for the fourth time. Part 2
Looking through thousands of photos capturing the bright emotions of our guests, again and again we recall that day, filled with vivid colours, pleasant meetings and merry laughter. Today, together with you, we would like once again recall the OUTLOOK WORLD CULTURE FESTIVAL 2017.
Day of Unity in the embassy of Germany
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Republic Germany to Ukraine Ernst Reichel along with his wife invited guests to celebrate the holiday, official union of Western and Eastern Germany. Mr Reichel recognized the step forward made by Ukraine in the direction of Europe. Particularly, it goes about the agreement on Association with European Union: ‘The agreement will maintain the support and consulting, political collaboration and Ukraine will get closer to the standards of European Union in many areas’.
The Embassy of Hungary announced the creative autumn
In Kyiv it was the press conference under the support of embassy of Hungary to Ukraine. It was dedicated to the bright Hungarian creativity in autumn 2017. The Ambassador of Hungary to Ukraine Erno Keshken started the meeting expressing greetings and announcing the program of cultural events planned in Kyiv with the support and interactivity of Hungarian diplomats. He made an emphasis on the importance of common projects of our countries.
In Kyiv it was a press conference with the foreign diplomats in International investment forum ‘InCo-2017’
The press conference that announced International investment forum ‘InCo-2017’ happened on the 26-th of September in media center Directorate-General for Rendering Services to Diplomatic Missions. In the event the visitors listened to the speeched of CEO of Directorate-General for Rendering Services to Diplomatic Missions Pavlo Krivonos, the head of Management of international affairs and external activity of Ukraine from Zaporizhzhya Administration Artur Boyko, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Republic Bulgaria to Ukraine Krasimir Minchev, Vice President of Zaporizhzhya commercial chamber Dmitro Antonyuk and the head of the project OUTLOOK Darya Karyakina.
The Embassy of Indonesia to Ukraine appareled the monument of queen Anna in Kyiv in the traditional wedding dress of Bali woman
The Embassy of Republic Indonesia to Ukraine under the auspices of Kyiv city administration caused a new tradition to change the clothes on the queen Anna monument at Lviv square in national dresses of different countries. The first dress in the wardrobe became the traditional wedding dress of Bali woman.
The Embassy of Kazakhstan to Ukraine organized a ‘round table’ dedicated to the 25-th anniversary of diplomatic relations
On the 27-th of September, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Republic Kazakhstan to Ukraine Samat Ordabaev organized a ‘round table’ in Kyiv. The event was dedicated to the 25-th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. There were heads of diplomatic missions, people’s deputies of Verkhovna Rada, executives of authorities of Ukraine, the representatives of creative and scientific regions, business communities, as mass media.
The fourth OUTLOOK WORLD CULTURE FESTIVAL in Kyiv
On the 7-th of October from 12.00 till 4 pm in Column hall of Kyiv city council (Khreschatik Street, 36) there will be the fourth festival of international communities’ cultures known as OUTLOOK WORLD CULTURE FESTIVAL. We will represent more than 40 reflections of different cultures to come into stage. We expect more than 30 embassies of foreign states and expat communities will take part. The festival is annually organized by the project OUTLOOK working in the scope of mass media and cultural diplomacy.
The Ambassador Ruslan Bolbochan started the Honorable Consular Post of Moldova in Lviv
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Moldova to Ukraine Ruslan Bolbochan officially opened the Honorable Consular Post of Moldova in Lviv
The Ambassador of Uzbekistan Alisher Abdualiev organized reception in honor of Independence Day and 25-th anniversary of diplomatic relations
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Uzbekistan to Ukraine Alisher Abdualiev organized an official reception in honor of the 26-th anniversary of Independence Day of the country and 25-th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
Personalities: Chrystia Freeland
In today continuation of our rubrics about the famous Ukrainians who have changed the world here and now, we would like to tell about incredibly dynamic Chrystia Freeland. She is journalist, writer and currently known as the successful politician. Having ethnic belonging to Ukraine, she fluently speaks the national language. It is the wonderful example of the following generalization that if a person has a desire, it is not a problem to develop in many scopes.
The Ambassador of Mexico organized an official reception in honor of Independence Day
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mexico to Ukraine Maria Luisa Beatrice Lopez Gargallio organized an official reception in honor of national holiday, Independence Day that is celebrated in the country on a wide scale.
In Kyiv it was the festival that started year of Ukrainian and German languages
In Kyiv at Contract Square at the last weekends there was a street festival dedicated to the start of Ukrainian and German languages year. The event that began from the bike ride and was accompanied by the interactive lessons of German and broadcasting from different Ukrainian cities, came under the auspices of German Embassy in Ukraine and Goethe-Institut.
The President accepted credentials at the Ambassadors of Denmark, Afghanistan, and Georgia
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko accepted credentials at the Ambassadors of Kingdom Denmark Ruben Madsen, Islam Republic Afghanistan Sardar Mohammad Rahman Ogly and Georgia Gela Dumbadze.
The great curves: Friedensreich Hundertwasser
He made up his name to be one of a kind. Riot of his selfhood became the basis for enormous artistic heritage while architecture demonstrated the possibility to combine ecological compatibility with modern technologies.
The Ambassador organized a reception in honor of Independence Day
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Ukraine Manoj Kumar Bharti organized an official diplomatic reception in honor of the main holiday of country, Independence Day.
Morocco Day of Throne in Kyiv
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Morocco to Ukraine Mina Tounsi organized an official reception in honor of the national holiday. The Day of Throne is dedicated to the anniversary of King Mohammed VI coming on the throne.
Not by tower alone
The word is, Guy de Maupassant hated Eiffel Tower. The famous writer believed that it was uglifying the face of Paris without benefiting the city. Nevertheless, he could be often seen in a cozy cafe on the top of the construction. In such cases the author of “Bel Ami” used to say that “it was the only way the damned tower dropped out of his sight…”
The Ambassador of Egypt organized an official reception in honor of National Day
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Egypt to Ukraine Mr Hossam Eldeen Aly organized an official diplomatic reception in honor of National holiday dedicated to July revolution of 1952.
The Ambassador of Iraq organized a press conference in honor of Mosul city liberation
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Iraq to Ukraine Bakir Ahmed Asis Al Jaff organized a press conference related to liberation of Iraq city Mosul from groups of terroristic organization ISIS.
The Ambassador of France Isabelle Dumont organized an official reception in honor of Bastille Day
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Ukraine Isabelle Dumont organized an official diplomatic reception in honor of national holiday, Day of storming of Bastille as well as 25-th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and France.
Close
Outlook facebook page