The Embassy of Belgium in Pretoria celebrated King’s Day on November 15, 2023. H.E. Mr. Paul Jansen welcomed members of the Diplomatic Corps, Mr. Zaine Dangor, and other distinguished guests to the official reception.

November 15 marks the day Belgians celebrate their kings. It began in 1886 on the name day of both Leopold and Albert, the names chosen for the first four heirs to the Belgian Throne. This is not the official National Day, but it is still a very important day as the Kings embody the unity of the country, as the national motto says, “Unity makes strength.”

In South Africa, there is another reason to celebrate the King. His Majesty King Philippe and Queen Mathilde were on a state visit to South Africa in March 2023. It was a very successful visit that emphasized the close links between the two countries. Belgium and South Africa are strong supporters of the international rule of law, defense and promotion of human rights, and the values enshrined in the UN charter. The third world group of trade and investment was convened a few months after the identical vision on the issue of climate change was underlined with other world groups, as well as the close cooperation in education, science, and innovation. Bilateral trade between Belgium and South Africa is showing growth of over 60%, and Belgian investors continue to show a lot of interest in South Africa. As a strong supporter of the rule of law and the principles of international integrity and national sovereignty, Belgium condemns the situation in Ukraine.

Raising a glass to toast, H.E. Mr. Paul Jansen said: “To peace, to the good health and prosperity of President Ramaphosa and the South African people, and to the friendly relations between Belgium and South Africa. Long live the King, long live the King.”

Mr. Zaine Dangor congratulated Belgium on their Kings Day. With over 180 Belgian companies in the country in areas such as mining, logistics, and education, despite global economic difficulties, Belgium has remained in the top 10 export destinations for South Africa. Belgium continues to support several programs such as skills development, student exchange, capacity building, as well as technical assistance to small and medium enterprises.

The afternoon ended with guests enjoying Belgian food and an all-time favorite, Belgian waffles.

Long live the King!

By Marion Kate