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“South Africa Week” celebrated in Lagos, Nigeria, amid pomp and grandeur

In my humble opinion and assessment, I think rolling out the drums to celebrate the success of a 29-year venture is not a jamboree or for the fun of it.
No, it is more than that. It is an event worth celebrating if not for anything but for national accomplishment and nationhood.
This was exactly what the South African Consulate General in Lagos Nigeria did between Saturday 22nd and Saturday 29th of April 2023, when it hosted the maiden edition of what it called the “South Africa Week” in Nigeria to commemorate 29 years of South Africa’s democracy as well as 29 years of formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and Nigeria.

Apart from the event proper, the key objectives of South Africa Week are to deepen bilateral relationships between the two sister countries — South Africa and Nigeria — and to further position South Africa as the destination of choice for Nigerians.
Inside Watch Africa (IWA) participated actively in the week-long activities and can authoritatively report that it was indeed a very exciting week. The week started with a very well-packaged and well-attended event by the South African Tourism (SAT) team in West Africa on Saturday 22nd at ‘TerraForm’ Lekki, one of Lagos’s top hang-out spots.
In attendance were members of the diplomatic community and captains of industry. The event also attracted other dignitaries from both private and public sectors, including travel and tourism, aviation, automobile & automotive, hospitality, banking, and finance. Also in attendance were practitioners and experts from airlines and travel agencies, tour operators, as well as distinguished members of the media.

The event, which was designed to position South Africa as a preferred destination for Nigerians featured the colorful sights and sounds of South Africa, amid innovative tourism products and services, as well performances from energetic Zulu dancers which allowed the elated guests to immerse themselves totally in South Africa while still here in Nigeria.
As an Art enthusiast myself, the second day’s event of the South Africa week, which was tagged “A night with the Stars’’ and held at Mike Adenuga Complex, Ikoyi Lagos on Sunday 23rd April 2023, was particularly special for me as it was an evening designed to promote social cohesion between South Africans and Nigerians through arts and culture. The evening was truly a night with stars, as it had a lot of top South African and Nigerian film producers and actors in attendance. Short films and documentaries by South African and Nigerian filmmakers and producers were screened, followed by a panel discussion on how the creative industry can help to forge a united Africa.
After the first two exciting days of South Africa Week, a South Africa-Nigeria Trade and Investment Roundtable was held at the Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island, Lagos on Tuesday 25th April 2023. The Roundtable, we were told, was essentially aimed at intensifying the call on all the strategic stakeholders of the bilateral relationship between South Africa and Nigeria to do all that they can to ensure that all unnecessary bottlenecks that continue to impede the ease of doing business between South Africa and Nigeria are eliminated. Access Bank which we gathered sponsored the roundtable and was well-represented at the roundtable. Mr Amaechi Michael Okobi, the Group Head of Communications and External Affairs of the bank represented and delivered the goodwill message of the MD/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Herbert Wigwe, FCA, at the roundtable.

The Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce, led by its chairman, Mr. Osayaba Giwa-Osagie, was also well represented at the roundtable. There were several other captains of industry as well as some renowned international businessmen and women in attendance at the roundtable.
The major highlight of the roundtable was a panel of discussion with the theme; “Opportunity for Industry Trade and Investment Between South Africa and Nigeria”, moderated by an erudite scholar – Mr. Sonny Iroche, who is a visitor at the African Studies the Centre University of Oxford England as well as a Financial & Infrastructure Consultant with many years experience in banking and finance, negotiation and business development. 
Traditionally, the 27th of April is a public holiday in South Africa, known as Freedom Day – the day is set aside to commemorate the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994.
The elections were the first national elections where everyone of voting age over 18 years of age from any race group, was allowed to vote. Consequently, the event of Friday, 28th of April, which was held at the continental hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos was tagged ‘Freedom Day’, and to be sure that everyone in attendance had a true ‘Freedom Day” experience, the organizers of the event gave us a typical South African township experience where there are no inhibitions to freedom. Apart from the fact that the hall was filled to the brim with lovely people, we also had a lot to eat and drink; it was truly a night of fun.
The “South Africa Week” came to an end on Saturday, 29th of April 2023 with a Golf Tournament tagged, “The South Africa Consul General’s Golf Tournament”, which was held at Ikoyi Club 1938, Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria.
The tournament, we were told, was meant to promote social cohesion and integration between South Africans and Nigerians through sports.

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