The Chinese Consulate General in Joburg has hosted an annual Women’s Day celebration, supported by the African Chinese Women Association, and attended by academics, businesswomen and political party representatives.
Addressing the prestigious event held at Sandton, Consul General of China in Joburg, Tang Zhongdong said the month-long Women's Month commemorations are not only a tribute to the women who marched on August 9th in 1956, but also a powerful reminder of the indomitable spirit and significant role women play in shaping South Africa’s national progress.
“Regardless of cultural backgrounds or geographical distances, women across our two nations share several inherent characteristics. Firstly, both South African and Chinese women embody a deep sense of familial responsibility. They are nurturing pillars of each family, providing unwavering support, and instilling values in the younger generations,” said Tang.
“Such kind of dedication to families strengthens the foundation of our societies.
“Secondly, women in both nations have displayed remarkable resilience and adaptability. In the face of challenges, they have consistently exhibited an ability to evolve and innovate, contributing significantly to their respective communities and economies,” he said.
The diplomat added that both Chinese and South African women have showed “exceptional” leadership qualities.
“They have risen to prominent positions in various fields, from politics and business to science and the arts. Their achievements serve as beacons of inspiration for future generations,” he said.
The year 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and China. Tang said during the past 25 years, the governments in Beijing and Pretoria have engaged in dialogues and discussions on issues related to gender equality, and women's empowerment.
“There have been a number of exchanges of delegations and visits among female leaders, activists and officials. Such exchanges and visits provide opportunities for networking, knowledge sharing, and partnerships’ building to advance women's causes in either of two countries, to push governments and societies in each country to take steps to promote economic empowerment for women,” he said.
“This includes supporting women entrepreneurs, providing access to training and financial resources, and facilitating trade and investment opportunities for women-led businesses.”
The celebration of South African and Chinese women was attended and addressed by several luminaries including chairperson of the African Chinese Women Association, Jianling Zhao; general manager of the ANC, Fébé Potgieter; Dr Farhana Paruk from the University of Pretoria; Free State MEC for Finance Gadija Brown; general manager of Apollo Solar Technology, Lillian Chen; Bongiwe Tutu from the Wits Centre for Journalism; and Jing Huang from the Chinese Consulate General in Joburg.
The event was also addressed by Speaker of the Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality, Nthabiseng Tshivenga, leading attorney and businesswoman Pinky Mokemane; Antinette Sithole – historian and sister to Hector Pietersen and Dr Tinuade Adekunbi Ojo representing the University of Johannesburg.
The women at the event held two panel discussions focusing on the BRICS forum and women. One of the panel discussions was held under the theme: “BRICS Cooperation in Women’s View” and the other panel discussion was titled: “Independent and self-reliant women”.
Consul General Tang said his office always attaches great importance to women’s development and cooperation between the two friendly nations.
South Africa will chair 15th BRICS Summit this month.
“It is a good time for all of us to review the BRICS cooperation and look ahead in the perspective of women. Within this framework, women play a pivotal role in fostering meaningful partnerships and advancing mutual understanding. The cooperation of women under the BRICS mechanism has led to the implementation of various initiatives that promote gender equality and women's empowerment,” said Tang.
“Under BRICS mechanism, women have united to address common challenges and create opportunities for growth of members. Highlighting the topic of independent and self-reliant women not only helps break stereotypes and dispel misconceptions about women's capabilities, showcasing diverse roles women can play in society beyond traditional domestic roles, but also proves women to serve as powerful role models for younger generations.”
Through sharing their experiences and achievements, Tang said through sharing experiences, women from South Africa and China will inspire others to pursue their life goals and dreams without limitations.
On Tuesday, the Presidency announced later this month President Cyril Ramaphosa will host Chinese President Xi Jinping on a State Visit on 22 August at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
On Thursday, the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria led by Ambassador Chen Xiaodong will be holding a signing ceremony between South African and Chinese companies.
The event will be attended Chinese Minister of Commerce, Wang Wentao who is leading a high-level Chinese trade promotion delegation. The South African delegation will be led by Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel.
The Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition has announced that it will be hosting the 8th session of the South Africa - China Joint Economic and Trade Committee on Wednesday and Thursday, which will culminate in the signing ceremony.
Issues on the table at the summit include investments on both ends, market access in the two countries, cooperation on new energy projects and cooperation in multilateral platforms.