Welcome to the South African Embassy website.
It is exactly 10 weeks since the South African Government declared a national state of disaster in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, South Africa was forced to implemented unprecedented measures in order to save lives, including a nation-wide lockdown, to contain the spread of the Corona virus.
While the nation-wide lockdown has been effective, it cannot be sustained indefinitely. South Africa introduced the five-level COVID-19 alert system to manage the gradual easing of the lockdown.
This risk-adjusted approach is guided by several criteria, including the level of infections and rate of transmission, the capacity of health facilities, the extent of the implementation of public health interventions and the economic and social impact of continued restrictions. It is on the basis of these criteria that Cabinet has determined that the alert level for the whole country should be lowered from level 4 to level 3 with effect from 1 June 2020.
Moving to alert level 3 marks a significant shift in South Africa’s approach to the pandemic. This will result in the opening up of the economy and the removal of a number of restrictions on the movement of people, while significantly expanding and intensifying our public health interventions. Even as we move to alert level 3 it is important that we should be aware that there are a few parts of the country where the disease is concentrated and where infections continue to rise. There will be only domestic flights working in South Africa during this period.
Please check the South African Embassy website regularly on when the South African Embassy will be open to the public. Thank you for your understanding.
Please find below the highlights for this month;
Youth Month - 1 to 30 June 2020
Every year on 16 June South Africa commemorates the 1976 Soweto uprising to pay tribute to learners who stood up against the apartheid government. Observed as a public holiday, the day serves as a reminder that young people in the country were at the forefront of our struggle. It also provides us with an opportunity to take stock of the strides we have made in addressing issues facing the youth.
During this month of youth, government and its agencies such as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) will host a number of engagements, including youth expos, dialogues and youth entrepreneur hubs to showcase opportunities available to young people.
National Environment Month - 1-30 June 2020
The National Environment month is celebrated in June, with the South African government and captains of industry leading the way by stimulating awareness on environmental issues and challenging all to become agents for change.
The World Environment Day is the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) biggest annual event commemorated on 5 June, with an aim of galvanising positive environmental action. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1972, and was first celebrated in 1974 with a view to deepening environmental awareness and address concerns such as the depletion of the ozone layer, toxic chemicals, desertification and global warming.
International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression - 4 June 2020
On 19 August 1982, at its emergency special session on the question of Palestine, the United Nations General Assembly, “appalled at the great number of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese children victims of Israel’s acts of aggression”, decided to commemorate 4 June of each year as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression (resolution ES-7/8).
The purpose of the day is to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. This day affirms the UN's commitment to protect the rights of children.
Child abuse is now in the spotlight of global attention and the United Nations (UN) is working hard to help protect children around the world.
World Oceans Day - 8 June 2020
World Oceans Day aims to raise awareness of the role of the oceans and the importance of conserving and protecting our marine environment.
The 8th of June is observed internationally as World Oceans Day. While the day has been unofficially celebrated since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, in December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to officially recognise World Oceans Day on June 8 each year.
This special day is an opportunity to celebrate the world’s shared oceans and to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in people lives. The oceans are essential to food security and the health and survival of all life. They also power our climate and are a critical part of the biosphere. World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.
Observance of World Oceans Day in South Africa
The observance of World Oceans Day in South Africa allows us to highlight the impact of oceans on our country and the various ways in which oceans contribute to our country. Celebrating the day provides the department of international relations and cooperation with an opportunity to highlight the considerable challenges we face in dealing with marine pollution, maintaining the oceans’ capacity to regulate the global climate, supply essential ecosystem services and provide sustainable livelihoods and safe recreation.
The celebration of the day coincides with and forms part of the dedication of June as National Environment Month.
International Albinism Awareness Day - 13 June 2020
On 18 December 2014, the General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/69/170 proclaiming, with effect from 2015, 13 June as International Albinism Awareness Day in an effort to stop the brutalities against people with albinism.
The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in 2013 (A/HRC/RES/23/13) calling for the prevention of attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism. Moreover, in response to the call from civil society organizations advocating to consider persons with albinism as a specific group with particular needs that require special attention, on 26 March 2015, the Council created the mandate of Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.
In January 2016, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, United Nations Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights of Persons with Albinism submitted her first report on albinism (A/HRC/31/63) to the UN Human Rights Council. Adding to the information contained in the July 2016 report to the General Assembly (A/71/255), a report was presented to the Human Rights Council in 2017 (A/HRC/34/59), which included a focus on witchcraft as a key root cause of attacks against persons with albinism. In July 2018, the Secretary-General transmitted to the General Assembly the report of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism (A/HRC/37/57) in accordance with Human Rights Council resolutions A/HRC/RES/28/6 and A/HRC/RES/37/5
World Blood Donor Day - 14 June 2020
World Blood Donor Day is commemorated annually on 14 June in a global celebration of the millions of people throughout the world who give their blood on a voluntary, unpaid basis to save the lives of those in need. The day aims to raise awareness of the need for safe blood, to thank and honour those blood donors who make transfusion possible and to encourage regular blood donation by suitable donors.
Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures.
Donating a unit of blood can save up to three lives patients in dire need of blood. By becoming a regular blood donor, this ensures that the safety of blood is maintained and makes it possible for the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) to collect sufficient safe blood to meet the demand.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day - 15 June 2020
Elder abuse can be defined as "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person".
Elder abuse can take various forms such as physical, psychological or emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect.
In many parts of the world elder abuse occurs with little recognition or response. Until recently, this serious social problem was hidden from the public view and considered mostly a private matter.
Even today, elder abuse continues to be a taboo, mostly underestimated and ignored by societies across the world. Evidence is accumulating, however, to indicate that elder abuse is an important public health and societal problem.
Youth Day - 16 June 2020
Youth Day commemorates the Soweto youth uprising of 16 June 1976.
In 1975 protests started in African schools after a directive from the then Bantu Education Department that Afrikaans had to be used on an equal basis with English as a language of instruction in secondary schools.
The June 16 1976 Uprising that began in Soweto and spread countrywide profoundly changed the socio-political landscape in South Africa. Events that triggered the uprising can be traced back to policies of the Apartheid government that resulted in the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953. The rise of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) and the formation of South African Students Organisation (SASO) raised the political consciousness of many students while others joined the wave of anti-Apartheid sentiment within the student community. When the language of Afrikaans alongside English was made compulsory as a medium of instruction in schools in 1974, black students began mobilizing themselves.
On 16 June 1976 between 3000 and 10 000 students mobilized by the South African Students Movement's Action Committee supported by the BCM marched peacefully to demonstrate and protest against the government’s directive. The march was meant to culminate at a rally in Orlando Stadium.
On their pathway they were met by heavily armed police who fired teargas and later live ammunition on demonstrating students. This resulted in a widespread revolt that turned into an uprising against the government. While the uprising began in Soweto, it spread across the country and carried on until the following year.
The aftermath of the events of June 16 1976 had dire consequences for the Apartheid government. Images of the police firing on peacefully demonstrating students led an international revulsion against South Africa as its brutality was exposed. Meanwhile, the weakened and exiled liberation movements received new recruits fleeing political persecution at home giving impetus to the struggle against Apartheid.
Bantu Education Policy - The word ‘Bantu’ in the term Bantu education is highly charged politically and has derogatory connotations. The Bantu Educational system was designed to ‘train and fit’ Africans for their role in the newly (1948) evolving apartheid society. Education was viewed as a part of the overall apartheid system including ‘homelands’, urban restrictions, pass laws and job reservation. This role was one of labourer, worker, and servant only. As H.F Verwoerd, the architect of the Bantu Education Act (1953), conceived it:
“There is no place for [the African] in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour. It is of no avail for him to receive a training which has as its aim, absorption in the European community” The uprisings tragically ended with hundreds of young people killed by the apartheid government when they protested against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought - 17 June 2020
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, 17 June, was proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1994 (resolution 49/115).
On that date, the same year, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification was adopted. States were invited to devote the World Day to promoting awareness of the need for international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought and on the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification.
It aims to promote community and ecosystem resilience while improving the human condition, particularly in dry lands. The decade 2010–2020 has been declared the United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification (UNDDD).
In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.
World Refugee Day - 20 June 2020
World Refugee Day is held every year on 20 June. It is a special day when the world takes time to recognise the resilience of forcibly displaced people throughout the world.
World Refugee Day is celebrated annually to honour the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threats of persecution, conflict and violence. On this day, the international community seeks to draw attention to the plight of refugees and celebrate their courage and resilience.
Around the world more than 50 million people have fled their homes. Each day thousands more follow.
On 4 December 2000, the General Assembly noted that 2001 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June.
Africa Public Service Day - 23 June 2020
Africa Public Service Day is an event entrenched in the African Union calendar. It originates from the conference of African Ministers for Public or Civil Service held in Tangier, Morocco in 1994.
It was agreed at this conference that 23 June should be celebrated annually as Africa Public Service Day to recognise the value and virtue of service to the community.
It is also a platform to reflect and share practical recommendations on women empowerment in public service nationally and across the continent.
It aims to discover innovations, reward excellence in the public sector, motivate public servants to further promote innovation, enhance professionalism in the public service, raise the image of public service, enhance trust in government, collect, document and share best practices for possible replication within a country as well as across the African Continent.
The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) is the custodian of the day in South Africa.
International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking - 26 June 2020
The United Nations General Assembly in 1987 decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) selects themes for the International Day and launches campaigns to raise awareness about the global drug problem. Health is the ongoing theme of the world drug campaign.
The Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act (Act 20 of 1992) and the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act 70 of 2008), provides for the establishment of programmes for the prevention and treatment of drug dependency.
The Central Drug Authority was established as an advisory body in terms of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act No. 70 of 2008) and is mandated to assist in the fight against substance abuse in the country.
Alcohol abuse is a complex socio-economic issue that requires a multi-stakeholder and integrated approach towards a drug free society, captured in the National Drug Master Plan. Creating awareness of dangers of the substance abuse in society and effecting behavioural change are integral parts of the National Drug Master Plan.
The South African Embassy in Ankara, Turkey suggests you stay at home and protect your families, avoid travelling and wear a face mask whenever you leave home.
South African Embassy in Ankara, Turkey