From beadwork to potjie, it's all at South African Culture Week
The South African Embassy in Seoul together with the Pyeongtaek city government on Tuesday kicked off South African Culture Week, celebrating all things South African including its culinary delicacies, beadwork and films at the Baedari Library.
“South Africa has been famously referred to as the rainbow nation because it is made up of so many diverse cultures and religions,” said Zenani Nosizwe Dlamini, ambassador of South Africa to Korea. “Contained within South African borders are Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Tswana, Ndebele, Khoisan, Hindu, Muslim and Africana people, to only name a few. All of these people are united by calling South Africa home, and therefore their lives all contribute to forming a part of the country’s heritage, identity and culture.”
The celebration at the library in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, that runs through Saturday includes a beadwork class on Wednesday, a film festival on Thursday and Friday showcasing the drama thriller “Uncovered” (2019) and a lecture on South African culture by Seul Jae-woo, a travel writer, on Saturday. A book exhibition showcasing works by South African writers such as Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer, whose works including “Telling Tales” (2004) have been translated into Korean, as well as a photo exhibition will be available to view through Saturday.
The festival was organized by the Pyeongtaek International Exchange Foundation (PIEF) and the city government, and supported by the embassy.
A cooking class video on the traditional South African dish potjie will be shared on PIEF's Facebook account sometime during the culture week. The class has been pre-filmed by Chris Truter, owner and chef of the South African barbecue restaurant Braai Republic.
The embassy and the city government also held a commemorative ceremony to mark South Africa's participation in the 1950-53 Korean War on Tuesday, at the memorial dedicated to the soldiers.
“Just this morning we held the commemoration ceremony,” said Jung Jang-seon, mayor of Pyeongtaek city. “It’s become a yearly event, but our gratitude for the South African people who came to fight for us during the Korean War never grows old. We want to thank South Africa again with our deepest gratitude.”
A total of 826 South Africans served during the war, according to the UN Korean War Allies Association. Altogether they made up the South African Air Force’s No. 2 Squadron, which served as part of the U.S. Air Force’s 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing.
Thirty-six South Africans made the ultimate sacrifice during the war. Eleven are buried in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea in Busan. The remains of the rest have not been found.
Photos taken of the South African pilots and Air Force ground personnel during the war will be exhibited at the lobby of the library through Saturday.
“I wish to extend my heartful thanks to the current and past mayors, the city council and the residents of Pyeongtaek city for not forgetting the contribution made to the preservation of the freedom of South Korea by a handful of South Africans more than seven decades ago,” Ambassador Dlamini said.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]