27 April 2014
Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US Secretary of State John Kerry were among the international leaders who sent South Africa messages of congratulations on reaching 20 years of democracy on Sunday.
“On the occasion of the Republic South Africa celebrating 20 years of democracy, it gives me great pleasure to send the people of South Africa my warmest congratulations,” the Queen said in a statement.
“My family and I have enjoyed a special and significant relationship with South Africa over the years. The links between our two countries have deepened and matured since South Africa’s transition in 1994, and long may that continue. I send my best wishes for the happiness, security and prosperity of the people of South Africa in the next 20 years and beyond.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said South Africa’s struggle to achieve freedom and democracy “has shown the world how much can be achieved with courage and determination … The South African people have shown us all that a process of reconciliation and forgiveness can truly lead to a brighter future.”
Also on Sunday, news agency Xinhua reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President Jacob Zuma, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, congratulating the county on the 20th anniversary of its founding.
And US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement: “On this 20th anniversary, we reflect on South Africa’s transformation in these two decades as a testament to the power of reconciliation, forgiveness, and hope.
“As you prepare to hold general elections next month – your fifth in the post-apartheid era – we remember the spirit of that historic election in 1994, one filled with tremendous hope, goodwill, and promise for a better future.”
US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard, meanwhile, posted a message on the US embassy’s website on Saturday, saying: “As someone who grew up in the United States and who is acutely aware of the struggles that we have had in perfecting our own union and creating a more equal society, I can recognize that South Africa is still a beacon and an example of what is possible.
“As President Obama has said, we are seeing an awakening in Africa, with new growth and possibility. South Africa is still the shining example, as a country with a mature finance sector, a vibrant press corps, an engaged civil society, independent courts and levels of government transparency unparalleled in the region.
“Having only served six-months as US Ambassador, I am already convinced that it is the young people in particular who will be the ones to step forward and realize the great potential of this remarkable nation. They are the real treasure of this country. The more I meet and interact with them, the more I am convinced that there are no limits to what South Africa can accomplish in the 21st century.”