Celebrating US and South African Ties: My Remarks at the University of Johannesburg

I wish I could go back to college—the boundless energy, the thrill of a debate, and the excitement about exploring new ideas and perspectives.  All of that was on display when I did go back to college last week, to the University of Johannesburg's bustling campus, where just the sight of the young students was enough to make me feel more hopeful about the future of the world.  Even better: I got to engage those bright minds in a discussion about a variety of topics, from our shared commitment to ensuring full human rights and dignity for members of the LGBTQI+ community to the urgent need to find energy solutions and address climate change. 

The thrust of my prepared remarks, though, was to highlight the length, depth, and breadth of the relationship between the United States and South Africa. I am constantly encountering new examples of individual Americans and South Africans, their churches, schools, musical groups, and NGOs who have been learning from each other and collaborating in pursuit of shared values, whether the ongoing struggle for social justice and human dignity or the urgent need to ensure life-saving treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. I could have spent the entire seminar just discussing the contributions of Charlotte Maxeke! 

I hope you'll take a moment to read the three anecdotes I shared with the students at the University. This history is also our shared present and future, as scores—hundreds, maybe thousands! of Americans and South Africans are working together today, right now, to convince the world, to ensure girl children have equal access to education, to promote arts and culture, to protect our environment for future generations, and so much more. 

I am interested to hear your thoughts, whether on the anecdotes I shared or what other stories we should be telling to highlight the historic and ongoing partnerships between inspiring Americans and South Africans. 

Click here to watch the full video

In partnership, 

Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety II    
U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa