Viet Nam Cultural Space was officially inaugurated in South Africa.

Within the framework of her official visit to South Africa (14–17 September), the Vietnamese Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan, along with the South African Minister of Public Enterprises and the Vietnamese Ambassador to South Africa, participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony, officially inaugurating Viet Nam Cultural Space in Pretoria capital.

Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan and delegates cut the ribbon to inaugurate the Viet Nam Cultural Space (Photo: Lam Khanh – TTXVN).

 

Viet Nam Cultural Space is a part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ “Viet Nam Days in South Africa 2023” program commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and South Africa (December 22, 1993–December 22, 2023). This is the first time “Viet Nam Days Abroad” has been held in Africa and South Africa.

 

The cultural space sends a message of peace and charity to the South African community.

 

In the past, Viet Nam was recognised for its history of engaging in resistance wars against foreign invaders. However, at present, the country has transformed into a secure and appealing tourist destination as well as a thriving economic market that actively fosters international cooperation and connectivity. The message of “Origin, Vitality, and Prosperity” is effectively reflected primarily through the medium of photo exhibitions. In addition to the exhibition that commemorates the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and South Africa, there are captivating images of world heritage sites in Viet Nam that have been recognised by UNESCO. These images, along with everyday scenes portraying the vitality of Vietnam and a series of lacquer paintings depicting the four seasons of Hoan Kiem Lake, effectively convey the image of a peaceful and compassionate Viet Nam. Through these artworks, viewers are able to develop a profound appreciation for a beautiful and contemporary nation, as well as the happiness and optimism of its people.

Mr. Hoang Huu Anh, Deputy Director General of the Department of Cultural Diplomacy and UNESCO Affairs, presented the distinguished guests with an introduction to the photo exhibition commemorating the momentous occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and South Africa (Photo credit: MarknB).

 

In the Cultural Space, the Organising Committee also introduced the South African community to the distinctive traditional cultural forms of Viet Nam for the first time. The presence of artisans from Dong Ho painting village and Xuan La To He village, who are carrying on the legacy of their ancestors in order to safeguard the traditional values of their family and lineage serves as undeniable proof of the lasting vibrancy of Vietnamese folk art.

 

Young people continue to embrace and uphold traditional values in innovative ways, thereby fostering their dissemination and serving as a source of inspiration for future generations in contemporary society. The exhibition “Golden Journey” showcases the enthusiasm and commitment of young individuals from the 9X generation in successfully restoring ancient costumes that preserve intricate motifs and patterns that are rich in symbolism and artistic value from the Nguyen Dynasty.

 

The young individuals of the 1990s have successfully restored the ancient costumes of the Nguyen Dynasty and have subsequently presented them in Viet Nam Cultural Space in South Africa (Photo: MarknB).

 

Diverse experiences in Viet Nam Cultural Space

In addition to the photo exhibitions, model introductions, and displays, viewers who visit the Cultural Space also have the opportunity to engage in unique cultural activities in Viet Nam. During an interview with a reporter from the Vietnam News Agency, 8-year-old Joey du Plessis, a second-generation member of the Vietnamese community in South Africa, joyfully displayed the intricately crafted clam pieces fashioned into adorable flower shapes. He planned to present these to his mother upon her return home. She mentioned that she had gained a deeper understanding of a captivating form of art originating from Viet Nam, which happened to be her mother’s native country.

South African children are very interested in crafting lacquer souvenirs. (Photo: MarknB)

 

Regarding Dr. Kobus Groenewald, a music teacher from South Africa, he exhibits great enthusiasm for the art of To He crafting. With the assistance of artist Dang Dinh Thuong, despite the language barrier, they were able to successfully create a tray of green Banh Chung adorned with white bamboo strips. He mentioned, “I am impressed by the vibrant colours of these toys. The artist’s creativity is truly remarkable, as he is able to craft various shapes of animals, fruits, and people. Today, I have also acquired knowledge about the narrative behind banh chung. The square green cake represents the earth, while the round white rice cake symbolises the sky in Vietnamese culture. Very impressive”.

 

Mr. Hoang Huu Anh, Head of the Organizing Committee, expressed that the program holds great significance as it marks the first Viet Nam Days event organized in Africa, particularly in South Africa. This region is known to have limited opportunities for hosting large-scale cultural events, making it even more meaningful. “Our team, along with our partners, have made significant efforts to introduce the cultural identity, long-standing traditions, and unique features of Vietnamese culture to the South African public. With this programme, our aim is to present to the public an image of a country that consistently maintains stability and peace. We aspire to showcase our nation as an appealing investment destination, fostering opportunities for economic cooperation and trade between our two countries,” he shared.

 

“Viet Nam Days Abroad 2023” is an event that aligns with the cultural diplomacy strategy set forth by the Vietnamese Government. It aims to provide foreigners residing in different countries with an opportunity to immerse themselves in Vietnamese culture. This event symbolises the deep-rooted values of filial piety and a peaceful nature that are inherent in the Vietnamese people. Moreover, it serves as a platform for diplomats to connect with individuals from various backgrounds on a personal level, showcasing the genuine essence of their diplomatic efforts.