The young crew of the Poland’s centennial independence celebration vessel, Dar Mlodziezy, making a three-day stop-over in South Africa this week, payed a moving tribute to former South African president and international statesman, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela at a brief ceremony held at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on Thursday.
The site of the tribute was the small memory garden at the V&A Waterfront housing the statues of four of the country’s Nobel Peace laureates; Nelson R. Mandela, former Anglican Church Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu, former South African president Frederick W. de Klerk and the late ANC president, Chief Albert Luthuli.
It was a fitting tribute coinciding and consistent with Poland’s own 100th anniversary of the regaining of its own independence in 1918, and which is being marked spectacularly by the round-the-world trip the Dar Mlodziezy’s crew is currently on and which will involve touch-down in some 22 countries in four continents.
The crew of Dar Mlodziezy‘s of more than 100 is made up of a majority of maritime students from the as well as cadets.
They arrived in South Africa’s port of Cape Town on Wednesday morning and depart for their sailing trip on Friday afternoon, the next stop being Mauritius in about four days.
In the next video, the commander of Dar Mlodziezy, Captain Ireneusz Lewandowski explains the nature and context of the Polish’s oceans celebratory journey across the world.
After paying tribute to Mr Mandela, also whose centennial – along with former ANC struggle stalwart, Mam’ Albertina Sisulu – is also being celebrated in South Africa; the crew of the vessel hosted a cocktail function on board the Dar Mlodziezy at the V&A Waterfront on Thursday night, ahead of a trip to Robben Island early on Friday and from which they’d sail out of South African oceans waters.
The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between South Africa and Poland in Cape Town on Wednesday marked a turning point in the development and enhancement of relations between the two countries and which will benefit both in the long term particularly with regards maritime sector issues.
This is according to South Africa’s Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and Poland’s Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Mr Marek Gróbarczyk during the ceremony of the welcoming to South Africa of Poland’s centennial independence celebration’s vessel, Dar Młodzieży at the port of Cape Town.
The vessel with a crew of some 250 members on aboard including about 60 cadets, is on a round-the-world trip that began recently in Poland and shall continue until the end of March 2019, with stop-overs in as many as 22 ports around the world.
South Africa was the second stop over on Wednesday, where the vessel will remain at the port of Cape Town in a jetty adjacent the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront at the foot of Table Mountain until Friday.
On arrival in Cape Town late morning on Wednesday to sounds of the South African Navy’s brass band at Cape Town harbour’s cruise terminal, crew and passengers of Dar Młodzieży were formally welcomed on South African soil by Ms Chikunga on behalf of the South African government, along with Mr Gróbarczyk, Poland’s Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Andrzej Kanthak and other senior government officials including South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi.
Thereafter, the Polish maritime students and cadets who were joined by their South African counterparts from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) for a combined group of about 200, were later treated to a braai on board South Africa’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas.
In-between the events, Ms Chikunga and Mr Gróbarczyk signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the basis of which, they said, the two countries would endeavor to enhance co-operation and joint pursuit of socio economic development initiatives but especially in relation to the maritime economic sector.
Areas of likely immediate focus would include ship repairs and maritime education and training, said Ms Chikunga, while Mr Gróbarczyk felt it also an opportune time for the two countries to enhance relations ahead of South Africa’s hosting of an International Maritime Organization (IMO) conference in the country in 2020.
In the video clips below, Ms Chikunga (clip 1 lasting 3 minutes) and Mr Gróbarczyk each explains the genesis of the development and the respective country’s hopes to strengthen relations.
Meanwhile, also in remarks welcoming the group of Polish and South African maritime students and cadets on board the SA Agulhas late Wednesday afternoon, Mr Tilayi described it as important the establishment of sound relations with countries such as Poland which would benefit South Africa’s emergent pursuit of redevelopment of its own maritime economic sector.
For his full remarks, click on the video below.
On Friday, the group will be taken on a tour of Robben Island before the centennial independence celebration vessel set sail yet again, this time for Madagascar.
Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront will be the host venue on Wednesday for Poland’s celebration of its 100th year of independence, an event marked by the docking of one of its most celebrated old sailing vessels, Dar Młodzieży which docks at the port of Cape Town at about noon, with a crew of more than 100, comprising mostly cadets and maritime students.
The vessel’s stop-over in Cape Town is part of a 10-months round-the-world trip dubbed Independence Sail and during which it will visit as many as 22 ports. Cape Town is its second stop from Europe and one of two involving the African continent.
Other ports in the list include Tallinn, Copenhagen, Stavanger, Bremenhaven, Bordeaux, Tenerife, Dakar, Mauritius, Jakarta, Singapore, Shanghai, Osaka, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Acapulco, Panama, Miami, Ponta Delgada and London.
It is expected to finish the round-the-world trip sometime in March 2019.
According to organizers of the event in Cape Town over the next three days beginning Wednesday morning, senior representatives of both the Polish and South Africans, during the three day stop-over in South Africa, a number of events focusing on Polish history and culture will be held.
Central to the activity, according to organizers, will be the promotional events to establish and enhance both socio-economic and cultural cooperation between Poland and South Africa.
On arrival in Cape Town today, the vessel is scheduled to be welcomed jointly by the Deputy Minister of Transport Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, along with Polish government counter-parts that include the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Mr Marek Grobarczyk, the Ambassador of Poland to South Africa, Dr Andrzej Kanthak.
According to the programme of Wednesday’s welcoming event, two ‘Letters of Intent’ are scheduled to be signed between the Ministry of Transport (South Africa) and the Ministry of Economic and Inland Navigation (Poland) as well as between Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the Port of Gdynia.
Later in the day, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will host the Polish maritime students and cadets to a braai on board its cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas. The festive event will also involve maritime students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).