- Welcome to South Africa
- South Africa in the Commonwealth
- South Africa became a member of the Commonwealth in 1931, temporarily leaving 1961, and later rejoining in 1994
- South Africa has been competing in the Commonwealth Games since 1930, and has won 280 medals since joining
- Two South Africans, Nadine Gordimer (in 1991) and John Maxwell Coetzee (in 2003), have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
- J M Coetzee won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize with his novel, Disgrace, in 2000 and Manu Herbstein, the award for Best First Book (Ama, a Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade) in 2002
- Eleven South Africans have been regional winners in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize
- Scholarships and fellowships are awarded by South Africa to citizens of other Commonwealth countries under the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan
- South Africa hosts the secretariat of the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management and its president, Zandile Kunene, is a South African citizen
- Dr Cyrus Rustomjee, Director of Economic Affairs, Commonwealth Secretariat 2009-
- Jenny Glennie, Deputy Chair, Board of Governors, Commonwealth of Learning
- David McQuoid-Mason, President, Commonwealth Legal Education Association
- Ivan Kotze, President, Commonwealth Pharmacists Association
- Christine Platt, President and Chief Executive, Commonwealth Association of Planner
- 1999 CHOGM in Durban, resulting in the Fancourt Commonwealth Declaration on Globalisation and People-Centred Development.
- 2003 The second Commonwealth Local Government Conference in Tshwane
- 2006 Sixteenth Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Cape Town
- 2008 The Association of Commonwealth Examination and Accreditation Bodies conference in Tshwane
I am extending the warmest of welcomes from the South African portal of the Commonwealth of Nations website.
From its inception, to its role in lobbying against institutionalised racism in our country, the Commonwealth and South Africa have a long historical association. Over the years these historical ties have been cemented by common interests, values and principles.
Today, as one of the larger contributors to the Secretariat, South Africa works in a spirit of co-operation, partnership and understanding with fellow members. Being a large contributor also brings responsibilities and South Africa endeavors to use this status to influence the debates of the Councils and meetings of the Commonwealth to focus on the plight of the poorest and most underdeveloped amongst us. All our actions must always consider how we will contribute in a direct and meaningful way to the improvement of the lives of our people.
The urgency of the times, as the world grapples with the impact of the global financial and economic crises; issues of good governance, democracy and human development; and an environmental future more precarious than at any time in human history, seems to have fashioned a more genuine, co-operative and purposeful dispensation towards international partnerships and alliances. With a focus on education, health and job creation, also constituting some key priorities of the South African Government, the Commonwealth is ideally placed to assist with addressing the needs of South Africa and other member states in this regard.
Consequently South Africa will continue to use multilateral relations to take forward the goals of eradicating global poverty, strengthening peace and security and promoting democracy. To this end, the Commonwealth holds tremendous relevance in today’s environment and is seen as necessary for forging mutual understanding and building relationships particularly in this new dispensation.
With the Commonwealth’s membership extending to two members of the G8, five of the G20, twelve of the Islamic Conference, over half of the G77 and NAM, as well as members of the EU, AU, SADC and ASEAN, the Commonwealth is uniquely placed to drive the renewal of the global governance architecture, which remains a key pillar in our nation’s foreign policy.
Whilst governments have a role to play in fostering change, we will not meet our goals on development and democracy without civil society: the vast number of Commonwealth associations – impressive in the scope of their activities, are vital instruments that together with the work of the Commonwealth Foundation is important in respect of people-to-people links.
Mindful that the Commonwealth of Nations accounts for 30% of the world’s population and 25% percent of the worlds international trade, South Africa firmly believes the structures and institutions of the Commonwealth have an important role in fostering co-operation and partnership between business and government, between developed and emerging markets, between the rich and poor and the powerful and most vulnerable.
As we look to the future of the association, we remain conscientious that constant change, constant renewal and constant-re-evaluation are fundamental in today’s precarious world.
Solely by remaining relevant to the challenges and opportunities of the modern world and recognising that the solutions to our greatest challenges have to be collective through the formation of partnerships between the public, private sector and civil society can the Commonwealth be effective.
To this end, South Africa believes that the work of Eminent Persons Group (EPG) to increase the impact, strengthen the network and raise the profile of the association is a positive step in ensuring its relevance.
We remain confident, that the Commonwealth of Nations can provide an ideal foundation for a better world that we seek to build.
This website must serve as a gateway to the Commonwealth’s multifaceted role in creating a better life for present and future generations.
The above message was provided by the previous President.
South Africa in the Commonwealth
did you know?
Senior Commonwealth officers
Commonwealth meetings hosted
Development of Mpumalanga Province Tourism Growth Strategy (2007/08)
This Commonwealth funded project supported the development of a tourism master plan for Mpumalanga Province covering areas of marketing and promotion, skill and institutional requirements, economic, social and environmental sustainability and infrastructure and product development. With a tourism master plan it was expected that the province would be assisted to meet its targets of increasing tourist arrivals and expenditure, as well as coordinating tourism development planning in the province.
Benchmarking of South Africa’s Fruit Export Trade Logistics Chain (2007/08)
The goal of this Commonwealth Secretariat commissioned project was to enhance the competitiveness of South Africa’s fresh fruit export chain through improvements to the trade industry logistics chain. The project carried out a benchmarking study to assist South Africa assess its fresh fruit export trade chain against best practice and international standards, and supported the development of an action plan to correct weaknesses indentified in the chain.
E-Learning and Website Designer/ Developer (2005/06)
Technical assistance was provided, on behalf of the Commonwealth, to support the design, development and implementation of an effective user-friendly website that provides information on e-learning strategies and opportunities to the clients and partner organisations of the South African Management Development Institute (SAMDI). The website was also intended to promote the professional image of SAMDI as a leading training and development institute.
Study tour to India by Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa (2004)
A study tour for two officials of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa was supported by the Commonwealth. The tour included the ‘Bio-Villages Programme’ of the M S Swaninathan Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu and a rural development programme of the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Karnataka, India. These two Indian institutions have developed successful programmes of assistance to rural women in agricultural production and small-scale agribusiness. The main purpose of the study tour was to enable the ARC officials to understudy the activities of these institutions and gain practical field experience in the design and delivery of similar programmes of technical support to women in South Africa.
Advisor to the Commission for Gender Equality (1999)
This advisory project entailed the appointment of a long-term expert, which was provided by the Commonwealth Secretariat to the Commission for Gender Equality, whose aims were to advise the commission on policies, implementation of its Programme of Action as well as on gender sensitisation.