Ukraine and South Africa in the cultural relationship
Cultural diplomacy is one of the priorities of modern Ukrainian external relations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine supports cultural projects aimed at establishing communications between countries and peoples.
One of the goals of the Embassy of Ukraine in South Africa is the development of friendly relations with South Africa through the implementation of joint cultural projects. Therefore, an important part of the Embassy's activities are cultural diplomacy projects that promote the development of horizontal ties between Ukrainian and South African artists, cultural institutions and festivals.
During 2017-2019, Ukraine takes part in local art festivals such as "International Public Art Festival" ("Visual Art") and "Poetry Africa" (literature). At the same time, South African artists and poets are guests of exhibitions and festivals in Ukraine. Another one promoter of inter-cultural exchanges between Ukraine and South Africa is NGO "Ukrainian Association in South Africa", held since 2017 annual festivals of popular culture "Ukrainian Festival in Cape Town" as well as the workshops of the tradition of Petrykivka painting. In cooperation with the Embassy of Ukraine in South Africa, the organization acts as the initiator and organizer of Ukrainian books presentation and movies screening.
In 2018 Ukrainian interdisciplinary project “The Sand” was presented in the city of Durban. This project told the stories of Ukrainian internally displaced people through the language of modern poetry, dance and Ukrainian folklore of Donbas. “The Sand" covered performances, master classes, discussions at schools and universities of the city of Durban, involving local artists and gathering 628 people. The best feedback Ukrainian artists received when back home, it was the letters from students of the Rosehill school. Here is one of them: "Hi, I'm sorry to bother you, but when you came to us and told us about the Russian attack, my heart was broken. May I ask you why did they attack your home, if you are so impressing good people? I hope you and your home are safe and you will not need to leave them again. I hope that peace will be in your home. I've already loved you and sometimes I want you to live in South Africa, even though our people do not understand your language. With love, Afile”.
In March 2019, in collaboration with the Library of the University of South Africa and with the assistance of the NGO "Creative Heritage of the Primachenko Family", an exhibition of artworks by Maria Prymachenko "Ukrainian Safari" was opened for visitors of the library.
In May 2019 the Embassy welcomed in Pretoria the project "Victors", devoted to the social and physical rehabilitation of veterans who lost their limbs being wounded, protecting Ukrainian land from aggression in the Russian Federation. The project aroused the great interest among the Ukrainian diaspora, diplomatic circles, as well as among local students, media, and cultural institutions. In Cape Town, the "Victors" project was hosted by the "Ukrainian Association of South Africa".
In South Africa, there is a museum of Ukrainian culture in Riversdale (Western Cape province), whose work is aimed at cultural cooperation between the two countries.
The positive dynamics of cooperation between Ukraine and South Africa in the field of culture is marked by the systematic support of cultural events by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NGO "Ukrainian Association in South Africa", as well as by increasingly active mutual interest in the field of literature (translations) and participation in literary festivals.
The development of horizontal ties between state and public cultural institutions of both countries, and the promotion of cultural exchange initiatives and their support are the main goals of the Embassy for a short term perspective.