Wednesday, 30 September 2009

More Heritage Day Celebrations...

This past Sunday and Monday evenings our South African Heritage Day celebrations continued as we were invited to a concert hosted by the Ambassador on the Sunday and then a buffet dinner on the Monday.

The concert on Sunday evening comprised a local Beninoise group followed by a South African cappella group, Amaryoni (Zulu: The Lions). The setting was a lovely open-air jazz cafe. I really enjoyed the evening and both groups were brilliant. The SA group sung many songs in Zulu and even sung the National Anthem of South Africa, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (Xhosa: God Bless Africa). The whole audience stood as the national anthem was sung. It was really special.

The following evening a group of South Africans from the ship, along with the band Amaryoni, and representatives from MTN (a South African cellular network provider which is a large player on the African continent) and government, joined the Ambassador at her Official Residence for a buffet dinner. We had a swordfish starter followed by a barracuda fish main course with jollof rice and vegetables. Dessert consisted of crepes and fresh fruit. Amaryoni put on an informal, impromptu concert and the evening wrapped-up the Heritage Day celebrations at the Embassy here in Benin.

It really is lovely to meet up with fellow countrymen and women in a foreign setting. I also enjoy that all political affiliations are no longer important when we're outside of our country. We see each other as South Africans and find unity and a common spirit - despite our diversity. I've been really impressed by the South African Embassy here in Benin. They've really welcomed us and have made me even more proud to be South African. (Not that I have ever not been proud of my heritage - but it's nice to be reminded of home and our wonderful Rainbow Nation.)

With Amaryoni at the Ambassador's Residence.

Hanging out at the Official Residence of the Ambassador.

South African crew members with South Africa's Ambassador to Benin.

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