The Ambassadors and High Commissioners of the Latin America and Caribbean group in South Africa held a GRULAC end-of-year gathering on November 24.

H.E. Ms. Mairin Josefina Moreno-Merida welcomed members of the Diplomatic Corps, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Minister Mr. Alvin Botes, members of DIRCO, distinguished guests, and friends to the event at the Residence of the Ambassador of Chile.

Expressing gratitude to everyone for attending, H.E. Ms. Merida, also the Dean of the Latin American and Caribbean countries, conveyed sincere appreciation on behalf of all her GRULAC colleagues for joining to celebrate achievements made throughout 2023.

Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean share many commonalities. The African heritage holds immense significance; African ancestors brought a variety of cultural influences that were adopted over time. Despite millions being taken from Africa by force to work on distant lands, they persevered in keeping their culture alive. Africa became an integral part of the national identity of many countries. Music permeated the American continent and the Caribbean—Jazz, Mambo from Cuba, Salsa from Puerto Rico, SAMBA from Brazil, Calypso from Trinidad and Tobago—examples of African influence. This strong African effect in Latin America and the Caribbean persists today in music, dance, art, language, gastronomy, and religious practices in the region.

South-South cooperation should be an authentic and enduring collaboration directing sustainable strategies and plans towards the people of the South. Only through this approach can unity between Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa deepen, fostering prosperity and peace for a better world.

In May 2006, Former President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela remarked, “We carry Africa inside us; Africa is part of us. Latin America cannot be understood without Africa and its sacrifices, the grandeur of Africa—our brother continent, our brother people.”

Hosting this event was a commitment to this idea—a platform for everyone to share, connect, and continue strengthening relationships between Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

True to Latin American and Caribbean style, the night was a resounding success with dance, music, and delightful food enjoyed by everyone.

by Marion Kate