Picture: African News Agency

Cape Town - The 2018 BRICS Media Forum officially got under way on Wednesday morning with a photographic exhibition featuring contributions from news agencies from all five participating nations.

The theme for the 2018 forum is BRICS Media Co-operation - Fostering an Inclusive, Just World Order. This feeds into the ideals former president Nelson Mandela stood for, and so it was poignant that the forum kicked off on the centenary of the father of the nation's birth, according to Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé.

Those sentiments were echoed by co-chair of the Media Forum, Cai Mingzhao, president of the Xinhua News Agency, based in China. In his opening address, Dr Survé re-told a story told to him by Mingzhao the night before.

"He said in a poor province of China, there was a man who was on his way to work," Dr Survé told the dignitaries and delegates before officially cutting the ribbon, opening the joint photographic exhibition at the CTICC in Cape Town.

"This man was walking along and he discovered a coin lying on the ground, it must have been equivalent to 5 cents, not a valuable coin. But seeing this coin made this man incredibly happy. He picked it up and thought... 'I don't have to work today'.

"And that's the start and the end of the story," Dr Survé said, to chuckles from the floor. 

"But that got me pondering that night. It is indicative of how poor that province was. And it shows that today, China is well on its way to achieving its goal of moving from a nation of poverty to becoming a nation of moderate prosperity, and it will continue to grow," Dr Survé said.


Mingzhao paid tribute to Mandela before reflecting on the story Dr Survé had told. "If I had known Dr Survé would be telling that story today, I would have shared more stories.

"Media is the crucial bridge in storytelling, in promoting co-operation between nations, between people, in fostering friendship. "This exhibition foretells of greater co-operation in the future. I believe in storytelling.

"And when we view this joint exhibition today, I believe the photos we see each tell a story. And they are the stories of the people who took them as much as the stories about those who are in them, of the countries they are from and the countries they are in," Mingzhao said.