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20151123_204052By Sicelo Fayo

The age difference could not be any bigger between a democratic South Africa (now only 21 years old) and a democratic Philippines (117 years old in June 2015) – a gap of exactly 96 years – yet the coziness of relations is only gaining strength.

This could be partly due to yet another fact, that South Africa’s relations with the South East Asian country of some 98.4-million people, is as old as South Africa’s democracy as the two countries only established diplomatic relations in 1993.

Prior to this, the Philippines’ most significant historical engagement with South Africa was its contribution to the liberation struggle for democracy through its ratification of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid back in 1974.

For this, former South Africa president, the late Nelson Mandela praised the Filipinos during his visit of Manila in 1997, and during which he reportedly said the Philippines “is one of the countries that had been very successful in overcoming the legacy of colonialism, of poverty, of ignorance, and we stand to gain a great deal by associating with it.”

Philippines ambassador to South Africa, Mr Joseph Gerard B. Angeles
Philippines ambassador to South Africa, Mr Joseph Gerard B. Angeles

South Africa was reminded of this in Pretoria in June 2015, when that country celebrated its 117th birthday of its independence.

In his own words, the Philippines ambassador to South Africa, Mr Joseph Gerard B. Angeles put it succinctly in his Independence Day speech during a gathering at his Pretoria home that included several government officials inclusive of Public Works Minister, Thulas Nxesi.

Next year, the Philippines will be hosting South Africa at the 4th Bilateral Consultative Forum in Manila.
There may be a better road ahead yet for South Africa.



By Sicelo Fayo

After interacting with many people, some directly involved with the country’s current “Operation Phakisa” campaign, and some not; I figured that if anything about “Phakisa”, “Khawulezisa”, “Speed It Up”, “Tshetshisa” etc can be misunderstood, then it certainly will!

Rephrase: Much has!

Anyhow, while mulling over this issue under the curated shade of Lion’s Head following to the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy Working Groups’s review meeting in the Mother City in early October, as fortune would have it, almost a week later, SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) CEO, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele had a live interview with a SABC Television News team to chat and share more info about the launch of the country’s inaugural SA Ocean Festival at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town on the weekend of October 30 to November 01, 2015.

Of course, the live interview did not live up to its billing, as it merrily went about in another direction, but one fortuitous enough for Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy.

As the camera lazily panned in and out on Mr Mokhele, it turned out that the television news anchor at the time apparently had a different briefing and so his news topic drifted miles from the Ocean Festival, but close enough to Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy to warrant an explanation of the idea or concept. As could be readily expected, Mr Mokhele took the gap!

In the video below, he explains in exactly 2 minutes, what Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy is about beginning with its genesis, its ownership, as well as focus!


By Sicelo Fayo

There is barely gainsaying that this past week’s events at the country’s universities involving students waging a might battle for the suspension or reversal of proposed increases in fees for the 2016 academic year were certainly a source of major concern to especially parents and sponsors.


That the issue of increased fees would be of direct interest to them, possibly as a short term financial benefit, would not dissipate  or arrest parents’ concerns both for the safety of the youths and their positive progress in their studies, which process would preferably entail partly, their successful sitting for and passing the current’s year’s exams.

The very timing of the action, coming so close to year end exams, would worry parents most.

But as observers would testify, the action which saw the country universities’ students marching with much bravado not only on Parliament but also on the seat of Government at the Union Buildings in Pretoria; was not their only achievement, nor did it reflect wholly on the student’s general performance and achievements at campuses.

An awards ceremony of the Department of Maritime Studies (Faculty of Applied Sciences) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Friday afternoon served only to prove the point that by and large, the students at the country’s universities are actually focused on their studies, with several gaining high recognition within their institutions for their academic and general performance.

Just as important, the DUT maritime studies students enjoyed the function addressed as main guest speaker by United States Consul-General, Frances Chisolm, at the St Thomas’ Anglican Church Hall in Musgrave!


The category of accolades included Nautical Diploma ‘Shore-Based’ and ‘Sea Going’ awards, ‘Leadership’ as well ‘Certificates of Pass’ in foreign languages including French, Mandarin and Portuguese.

This writer spoke to at least two of the students who excelled in Portuguese languages; Thokozani Latha and Sikhulile Zondo.

Take a listen…..

Sikhulile Zondo

Thokozani Latha

See highlights of the awards in the short video below.