Chinese ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian welcoming guests at the Chinese new year celebrations in Pretoria on Saturday. Photo: ANA/Jonisayi Maromo
Chinese ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian welcoming guests at the Chinese new year celebrations in Pretoria on Saturday. Photo: ANA/Jonisayi Maromo

PICS: Hundreds attend Chinese new year festivities in Pretoria

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Jan 18, 2020

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Pretoria – Hundreds of guests, include cabinet ministers, senior government officials, academics, political activists, and schoolchildren streamed into the Chinese embassy in Pretoria on Saturday where the red carpet was rolled out for festivities marking the Chinese new year, also known as the spring festival.

Guests were wowed by numerous Chinese cultural kung fu performances, the famous Sichuan opera, aerobatics, Chinese calligraphy, and music. Several guests also won gifts in the writing competitions and ticket raffles conducted by ambassador Lin Songtian, his wife Ni Lingling, and South Africa's Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

The event was also the embassy’s open day for members of different communities to visit and interact with diplomats, learning about South African-Chinese cooperation, and getting a taste of Chinese gourmet meals.

Speaking to local and international media during the festivities, Lin said 2020 would see increased economic, trade, and people to people contact between Pretoria and Beijing.

China's ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian. Photo: ANA/Jonisayi Maromo

“China tries to be the best true friend of South Africa and a reliable partner in your transformation of national, economic, and social development. We have so much to complement each other. China and South Africa, we embrace each other in bilateral cooperation. The year 2020 will be the year of implementation and action for South Africa-China relations and cooperation,” said Lin.

Photo: ANA/Jonisayi Maromo

“We are ready to join hands with South Africa to comprehensively implement important concessions reached by our two heads of state, to deliver the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing summit and synergise the belt and road Initiative. We are ready to work with South Africa. We see South Africa as a locomotive to drive the industrialisation of the continent. We are also happy to see this country being a production base for African industrialisation.”

Photo: ANA/Jonisayi Maromo

He said Beijing wanted to enhance its partnership with South Africa to grasp the many opportunities presented by the so-called fourth industrial revolution, “so as to make our relationship more productive and beneficial to our two people”.

Chinese ambassador in South Africa Lin Songtian welcoming guests at the Chinese new year celebrations in Pretoria on Saturday. Photo: ANA/Jonisayi Maromo

The usually tranquil, giant Chinese embassy was on Saturday a hive of activity as South African communities mingled with their Asian counterparts. Several dignitaries and performance groups had flown from China for the celebrations. South African dignitaries at the extravaganza also included Cassius Lubisi, director general in the presidency, and African National Congress Gauteng provincial secretary Jacob Khawe.  

Despite the rain in Pretoria, the Chinese  embassy said more than 1000 people attended the celebrations on Saturday. 

Photo: ANA/Jonisayi Maromo

Chinese trade and investment into South Africa has grown significantly over the past 20 years, and particularly since the signing of the 2010 comprehensive strategic partnership.

Photo: ANA/Jonisayi Maromo

In Cape Town last year, South African and Chinese government officials signed 93 procurement and investment agreements, with a contract value of about R28 billion, principally for the purchase of South African products by Chinese companies.

African News Agency (ANA)

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