Your Excellencies, Leaders of the BRICS nations,
Your Excellencies, Leaders from across Africa,
Your Excellencies, Leaders of the Global South,
Representatives of global and regional institutions,
Thank you for accepting my invitation to join us tonight as we celebrate being together on a night which I trust you will find joyful and pleasant.
It is also a night when we thank you for joining the BRICS countries prior to tomorrow’s BRICS Outreach programme.
The BRICS group of countries incorporates the peoples, cultures and traditions of more than 3 billion people.
We are united by our common vision and common goals.
Our diversity is our greatest strength, and tonight you will get to experience the rich tapestry of cultures, traditions and foods of South Africa.
Our head chef tonight is Wandile Mabaso, a world class chef who pairs classical French techniques with the wonderful flavours of South Africa.
He is joined by Xolani Mancotywa, a qualified beverage steward and chef who has reimagined traditional African cuisine and authentic African fine dining.
Your culinary journey of South Africa follows a cultural journey across our nation’s diverse cultures.
We hope that this evening you will experience South Africa’s story, one that interweaves our many different cultures, traditions and languages as the foundation of an inclusive nation.
It is a story that reflects the nature and purpose of BRICS, which values partnership and cooperation in a spirit of openness and solidarity.
As BRICS – and all of Your Excellencies who have joined us tonight from many countries – we will all tomorrow articulate how we will foster change in the world for the benefit of all the peoples of the world.
Tonight is a night when we even more reason to celebrate as BRICS partners.
A few hours ago this afternoon, India made history as the first country to successfully land a lunar module on the south pole of the Moon.
We congratulate Prime Minister Modi, the government and people of India and the Indian Space Research Organisation on the success of the Chandraayan-3 mission.
Pushing forward the frontiers of scientific endeavour is integral to human progress.
In anticipation of this great achievement Prime Minister Modi proposed at our BRICS Summit this afternoon that BRICS should set up a Space Exploration Commission where, as BRICS countries, we can share knowledge and experiences.
The more we learn about this world we live in and beyond, the greater our capacity to improve it and to elevate the human condition.
In the words of the great poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore:
“We are in a palace which has no end, but which we have reached. By exploring it and extending our relationship with it, we are ever making it more and more our own.”
This and many other achievements enable us to move forward to prosperity, to progress and to peace.
Once again welcome and please do enjoy this celebration of unity, diversity and shared progress.
I thank you.
ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA