JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Republic of South Africa is celebrating 20 years of Freedom and Democracy during 2014 and this year also marks 20 Years of Diplomatic relations between South Africa and Jamaica.
  • Jamaica played a crucial role in pressing the international community to limit foreign trade and investment in South Africa.
  • The South African High Commission is pleased to announce that, in celebrating 20 Years of Freedom and 20 years of Diplomatic Relations, several events will be hosted in Jamaica.

The Republic of South Africa is celebrating 20 years of Freedom and Democracy during 2014 and this year also marks 20 Years of Diplomatic relations between South Africa and Jamaica.

From the very earliest days of the international campaign against apartheid, Jamaica played a crucial role in pressing the international community to limit foreign trade and investment in South Africa, with a view to creating economic dislocation which, coupled with the internal struggles of South Africans, would lead to the dismantling of apartheid. Jamaica was amongst the first countries to declare a trade embargo against apartheid SA as early as 1957. This culminated into the momentous occasion in April 1994 when national elections were held on the principle of ‘one man one vote’ and Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected President of South Africa.

A Jamaican with a long record of service in the United Nations, Angela King, was head of the United Nations observer team which monitored those historic elections.

Two eminent Jamaicans have received one of South Africa’s highest honours, The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo.

Prime Minister Michael Manley was posthumously awarded South Africa’s Order of the Companions of Oliver Reginald Tambo (Gold Award) on 16 June 2004 for promoting the interests and aspirations of the Republic of South Africa at the higher levels through excellent cooperation and active expression of solidarity and support. In 1978, Michael Manley, while still Prime Minister, was among a group of eminent persons awarded the UN gold medal for distinguished service in the struggle against apartheid.  He subsequently led the Commonwealth Observer Mission to South Africa in 1992 and 1993 and again in 1994 to observe the first democratic elections.

Prime Minister PJ Patterson was also presented with the Order of the Companions of Oliver Reginald Tambo (Gold Award) on 27 April 2013.  PJ Patterson is among eight foreign leaders whom the government of South Africa recognizes as having played a significant part in the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa through lobbying the international community to take a stand against the oppression of South African people prior to 1994.

The award is named after South Africa’s national hero and icon, former African National Congress (ANC) President Oliver Reginald Tambo. 

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations

Jamaica and South Africa established diplomatic relations on the 9th of September 1994, five months following the historic free and democratic elections, a testament to the enduring ties of friendship between the peoples of South Africa and Jamaica.

In 1999, South Africa appointed Ambassador T Luthuli-Gcabashe as first non-resident High Commissioner to Jamaica and the rest of CARICOM with residence in Caracas, Venezuela, while High Commissioner TH Chiliza based in Kingston assumed duties as the first resident High Commissioner in October 2000. The incumbent South African High Commissioner is Ms Mathu T Joyini, having presented her credentials in December 2010.

Jamaica opened its High Commission in Pretoria in October 2006. In January 2009, Jamaica appointed H.E. Audley Rodriques as Jamaica’s first resident High Commissioner to South Africa.  Jamaica’s High Commission is currently headed by a Chargé d’Affaires a.i. in anticipation of the imminent appointment of the High Commissioner-designate to succeed the previous High Commissioner, H.E. Ms Norma Taylor-Roberts, who recently completed her term in office.

At the conclusion of his 2012 state visit to Jamaica, President Jacob Zuma said, amongst others, that: “South Africa would like to see increased volumes of trade and investment between the two countries. We are committed to encourage and facilitate South African companies doing business in Jamaica, resulting in the steady growth in trade and investment between our two countries. In the same vein, both countries agreed to encourage people-to-people contacts through cultural, scientific and educational exchange programmes and tourism…. We agreed that several other agreements under negotiation must translate into stronger economic, social and developmental relations between our two countries. South Africa recommitted to continue to work together and to support Jamaica and the Caribbean Community, and to voice their interest in fora where they do not have a voice, e.g. G8 and G20.” Link to the 2012 State Visit http://www.dirco.gov.za/docs/2012/jama0807.html

The South African High Commission is pleased to announce that, in celebrating 20 Years of Freedom and 20 years of Diplomatic Relations, the following events will be hosted in Jamaica:

  • An official Reception on Wednesday, 10 September 2014.  In attendance will be Government representatives, the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, Business Leaders, Friends of South Africa and South Africans in Jamaica.
  • A Public Concert on Friday, 12 September 2014 at the Emancipation Park commencing at 6pm.