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Event held to clebrate Africa Day in Parague

On Monday, 20 May 2024, an event was held in the small hall of the Municipal Library in Prague to celebrate the Africa Day. The event commemorated thirty years since two key moments: the end of apartheid in South Africa and the genocide of the Tutsi people in Rwanda. Speeches by Deputy Minister Jiří Kozák and the Tunisian ambassador were followed by a debate with the ambassadors of South Africa and Rwanda, accompanied by screenings of thematic films. The event also attracted many high school and university students.

According to Deputy Minister Kozák, Africa as a continent is important from many perspectives. It is a dynamic region in Europe’s close neighbourhood with a rapidly growing economic and political weight. “Very soon – in 2050 – one in four people on this planet will be African. This young and dynamic population in our close neighbourhood wants to communicate with us, to trade and study, to engage in research, culture and sport. And that is exactly what Czechia wants.” Jiří Kozák pointed to Czechia’s interconnectedness with South Africa, exemplified by the friendship between Presidents Václav Havel and Nelson Mandela, and with Rwanda, when in 1994 the Czech ambassador to the UNSC, Karel Kovanda, was the first one to call the events in Rwanda genocide. The Ambassador of Tunisia, Yosra Souiden, opened the event with a short speech. This was followed by a brief educational video on the history of apartheid in South Africa.

Afterwards, the students and other participants had the opportunity to debate with the Ambassador of South Africa Mosa Sejosingoe, the Ambassador of Rwanda Richard Masozera and the journalist of Seznam Zpravy Natálie Sousa. The debate featured Ambassador Sejosingoe’s personal recollections of the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Mrs. Sousa in turn shared with the young participants the reasons why Africa as a whole is important in the 21st century and why the young generation of Europeans should be interested in it. Rwandan Ambassador Masozera said that not only Rwanda, but every country should learn from the mistakes of its past so that they are not repeated in the future.

The next item on the programme was a screening of the French-Belgian film Small Country: An African Childhood (Petit pays, 2020), which is about a boy growing up in Burundi during the ongoing genocide in neighbouring Rwanda.

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