Bulgaria’s head of state Mr Rumen Radev arrived on an official visit to the Republic of South Africa on the 12 May 2023 where he had talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa at his official residence in Pretoria which was both promising and successful.

Bulgaria and South Africa established diplomatic relations 31 years ago. During the opening of exhibition at Freedom Park about Bulgarian support for the struggle of South Africa’s people during apartheid, President Radev noted the two countries share a long standing good relationship.

The head of state also mentioned how Bulgaria managed to save 50 000 Jews during WW2 . “ In that spirit it was normal for us to support the people of South Africa “ he added.

Bulgaria remains a significant trade partner, with South Africa exporting R1.96-billion worth of goods to the European country in 2022.

While on his two day visit the President attended the Consecration of the first Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Africa – St. John of Rila in Midrand . “Bulgaria has the ambition to intensify its cooperation with the Republic of South Africa, which is a key factor in international relations and on the African continent”.

During his visit to the country , the Head of State was accompanied by his wife, Desislava Radev as well as a delegation, led by Radev, which included Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and Transport Minister Hristo Alexiev, Tourism Minister Ilin Dimitrov, Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Innovation and Growth – Velislava Petrova and Stefan Savov.

The opening of the Exhibition was attended by Ministers from RSA, Dr Naledi Pandor addressed the guests expressing appreciation for the warm and cordial relations that South Africa shares with Bulgaria . President Radev is the first sitting head of State of Bulgaria to visit South Africa since establishing diplomatic relations in 1992.

Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa , Maria Pavlova addressed distinguished guests and heads of mission where she explained Bulgarias role in contributing to the apartheid regime by imposing sanctions to aid the liberation struggle.

President Radev noted he was happy to see so many people sharing the same values , freedom , democracy and friendship.

by Marion Kate