Programme Director;
H.E. Ambassador Riina Kionka;
The Diplomatic Corps;
The Board Members and Team of Liliesleaf Museum;
Civil Society;

How do we measure the debt of forgetting?

How do we contemplate the disadvantage of not knowing?

How do we reconcile the loss of wasted lessons?

The gifts that history give us are a priceless inheritance: an endowment of humanity’s judgement, wisdom and consciousness. These are the codified blueprints for society to assimilate and evolve, or, to ignore at the expense of ourselves and our planet. Remembering is everything, and our collective memory informs our social practice and belief structures that develop and change over time. Memory gives us the generous ability to understand the linkages between the past and present, and therefore an insight into the complexities of taking action.

The launch of the virtual exhibition entitled, “The role of the European Union in the struggle against Apartheid”, is one such initiative that creates a space to preserve our collective memory and to illuminate the dark territories of the mind. In this historical project, the EU Delegation to South Africa and Lilieslief Museum, not only archive and document the tumultuous truths of how and why we are-where-we-are today, but this exhibition is in itself another ledger in the continuing journal of solidarity, teamwork, and fellowship between nations, united.

Cooperation is at the core of international solidarity, and the EU’s commitment of assistance to the South African liberation struggle was not limited to humanitarian aid but was underpinned by a broader philosophy that envisioned the peaceful coexistence of the international community based on human rights, equality, justice, equitable partnerships, and sustainable international relations. It was and is this human-centred approach to development that gives gravitas to social movements, which gives dignity to those who are suffering, and amplifies the voices of those who are oppressed.

Encompassing the values of goodwill, integrity, knowledge and progress, the EU Delegation to South Africa and Lilieslief Museum, are shining examples of how empathetic and considered collaboration between institutions serve as bridge-building partners across all divides and distinctions. Such longstanding international relations lay the foundations for increased solidarity and highlight the central role in which the international community plays in advancing development and inclusive growth.

This collective action creates a ripple effect on transnational political cultures, and expands outwards across the ocean of the mind, spilling into our hearts where our collective memory stores the consciousness of a better world for all who live in it. Through the relationships between the EU, the international community, Lilieslief Museum, civil organizations, and leaders of like mind, we as South Africans and the world can remember the past, can learn the lessons, and can pay the memory forward.

Thank you.