20 years ago in South Africa the apartheid system that lasted for 46 years, was over and young people who were born after the abolishment of the apartheid system could vote. Although Nelson Mandela passed away, he left behind for South Africa a legacy to be honoured: freedom.

2014 is the year of freedom and democracy for South Africa. On this occasion a number of South African embassies have celebrated and hosted receptions. On the national holiday of South Africa in addition to the diplomatic corps, members of the local governments, a number of UN and other NGO organizations were present at the celebrations. Johann Marx, the South African ambassador assigned to Hungary and Croatia gave a reception two days later in the capitals of the two countries: Budapest and Zagreb respectively and was accompanied by the European Diplomacy & Economics magazine. In his speech, the ambassador emphasized that “South Africa has a good reason to celebrate the successes they achieved since 1994.”

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Of course the country has yet to face many challenges but it is well worth to continue to work together and  take part in building the future because it can result in the steady  recovery to the country. This past 20 years has shown that, today, South Africa is a very liveable country. However, while celebrating success, we should not forget how we got here. A large number of diplomats appeared in Zagreb to celebrate the 20th anniversary of democratic change. On the National Day, the vice president of the Sabor, Nenad Stazić made a speech.

“The emotion that renders the path easier, that gives it meaning and purpose, is hope, the hope that the battle to build a better, fairer and more just world can be won. Efforts will be terrible, sometimes unbearable, but the goal can be reached. Nelson Mandela proved it with his life and I wish to thank you for allowing that his achievements transcend the borders of Africa and become the legacy of the world… Having constantly on my mind how much South Africa has done for the development of democracy and the respect of human rights, and hence for world peace, I raise my glass in a toast to the good relations between our two countries and nations, to the development and enhancement of all the values embodied in the life, work and sufferings of, but also, in the hope brought by the grand Nelson Mandela.”

The rest of the evening ended with friendly chats and dinners in Budapest and Zagreb.
We close with a thank you, and with a quote from  the man who made it possible.

„Let freedom reign.
The sun never set on so glorious
a human achievement.”
– Nelson Mandela