Address by the Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technology at the official opening of International Philately Exhibition, Cape Town International Convention Center, Cape Town

 1. The Patron of the exhibition 2022,

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe President of Federation International de Philatelie (FIP), Mr. Prakob Chirakiti,

Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Mr Geordin Hill- Lewis,

Secretary General of PAPU, Mr. Chief Sifundo Moyo,

Juries and Commissioners

General Kamffer from The Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation

Managing Director of SAPOA

Speakers & Facilitators for Africa Philately Conference Sponsors who have generously enable this gathering Distinguished delegates

Ladies and gentleman

2. It gives me a great pleasure to welcome the international community of philately and philatelic material collectors and exhibitors to Cape Town, the Mother city, in South Africa. Since South Africa was granted patronage to organise the International Stamp Exhibition in 2021 during the 75th FIP Congress held on 2 December 2018 in Bangkok, we all thought it was never going to happen. When South Africa first received correspondence regarding the hosting of this International Philately Exhibition from the FIP in 2020, which was planned for March 2021, immediately thereafter the global community was under the uncertainty of a threat of a potentially catastrophic pandemic (COVID 19), and at that time the full effect and extent of this threat was not yet know.

3. For a long time we could not perform so many of the human gestures that we were so used to: we could not shake hands in greeting nor could we hug each other in pleasure. And yet here we are, under the cradle of a city that features so prominently in the history of our country, welcoming the community of collectors and preservers of philatelic materials in this beautiful venue.

4. I would like to congratulate and acknowledge all those who made this possible, starting with the Local Organising Committee, and the officials from the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, who all invested so much of their time and effort into the success of this week’s exhibition. Their energy drove all of us to ensure that we do not betray the honour bestowed upon us by the Federation International de Filatelie, which chose us to host this exhibition under the very appropriate theme of The Road To Democracy.

5. The city of Cape Town could not have been a more appropriate setting for this year’s exhibition and theme. In spitting distance of this venue, the CICC, are many monuments that stand as reminders of the path South Africa travelled on its journey to attaining democracy, prominent among those is the Robben Island, which is a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and oppression. True to its name as the Mother City, the City of Cape Town survives as the rock upon which we built today’s democratic South Africa. It is on the shores of this city that the first colonial settlers made their entrance into this country, later on the colonial settlers brought slaves for labour mainly from Asia and other settlers from around the world. South Africa was never the same again. Throughout the years wars of resistance to colonial conquest and domination, the years of struggle against the system of apartheid exploitation, we are here today under conditions of democracy where we are seeking to forge a United nation, united in its diversity. We are seeking to build a truly non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural society that is the envy of many around the world.

6. But the road to our democracy was not an easy one, as we all know. We had to overcome many obstacles along the way. But the very long road that we had to travel to get here, to a time and place when we are able to welcome the international community, is the very one that forged our resilience. On many occasions, when all seemed lost, we were able to find the strength to persevere, knowing that our failure to attain democracy, will not only be our failure, but will be a failure to be endured by generations to come, and the failure of many around the world who walked alongside us.

7. Secondly, I want to acknowledge and thank all those who supported this exhibition, our sponsors who responded to our call for support, and the exhibitors who have taken so much risk with their valuable collections, to come here and share with us the fruits of their efforts to preserve our modern history. I also want to thank the city of Cape Town and the province of the Western Cape for working with us to make IPEX 22 possible. The efforts of everyone are testament to our belief that when we work together, no task is impossible.

8. The international body of philately, the Federation International de Philatelie (FIP), was founded in 1926 in Zurich, Switzerland, to oversee stamp collectors and philatelists globally. Since its inception, FIP has worked with stamp collectors and preservers of philatelic materials, as well as designated postal operators who are mandated with the production and distribution of stamps. The work that FIP has done over the years has ensured that the role that stamps play in the preservation of history and spread cultural knowledge among nations, enjoys the recognition that it so richly deserves.

9. The first adhesive postal stamp was issued in 1840, many years before all of us were born. And yet in the glimpse of that first stamp, and many that followed, we are able to be transported back in time and history to events, persons, institutions and milestones, as well as natural formations and occurrences that mark the evolution of our civilization. But of course stamps date even further back than that first adhesive stamp and have continued to facilitate the evolvement of communication as we know it today.

10. FIP has therefore played an important role in ensuring that the historical role of stamps is not lost, and this work is even more important today when advances in communication technology, threatens the very historical role of stamps as preservers of history, culture and heritage.

11. Since its inception FIP has worked tirelessly to promote the hobby of collecting stamps and philatelic materials. Today, FIP enjoys global membership, and we are glad that during the course of this week, South Africa’s membership of FIP will be recognized. We also wish to engender an interest in the collection and preservation of stamps especially among young people, and we will this week be transporting learners from various schools around Cape Town, to the exhibition. We hope that this week will see some of them grow an interest to know more about philately, and that their interest will grow the ranks of the community of philately.

12. Our Former President, Honourable Kgalema Motlanthe, was approached and accepted the invitation to be the Chief Patron for this exhibition. He could not be here with us because of unfortunate circumstances, but his contribution to the events of this week is testimony to the seriousness with which he took on this role.

13. The focus of the exhibition as contemplated in 2021, would be to use this exhibition to promote greater investment in education on Philately in South Africa and especially among our young people. Philately, despite its long history, has enjoyed little popular attraction as a hobby and as part of the outcomes of the occasion of IPEX 2022, we also seek to leave behind a legacy project with the establishment of the Philately Museum of South Africa (PMSA) which will be done in collaboration with the South African Post Office.

14. The Museum will display the philatelic development history of South Africa, since the 1800s. It will also serve as a reminder to many, of the importance of philately in preserving the social and historical journey of the country.

15. We are also joined at this exhibition by Iziko Museum of South Africa, a museum of social and natural history, and science. Iziko was founded in 1825 and today boasts a vast collection of artefacts. The collection that Iziko has under its care, among others, includes ancient fossils and tools, historical artefacts, and art. Our hosting of IPEX 22 will therefore serve as an opportunity to promote the important role of Iziko in the preservation of our history and evolution.

16. In line with the theme of the 2022 exhibition: The Road to Democracy, we are excited to share in the court of honour a special exhibition stall depicting critical moments in the history of South Africa leading to democracy. The exhibition showcases South Africa through a selection of philatelic material and information that the South African Post Office issued from 1853– 1994. The stand consists of 8 frames of 128 pages. This exhibition has drawn on the knowledge and expertise of many key stakeholders and I would like to thank everyone who made it possible.

17. The hosting of this year’s exhibition in South Africa is something that our government takes seriously, and that it is an opportunity to continue our efforts, since 1994, to promote social cohesion in our country. It is for this reason that we have since last week, reached out widely to the media as an important stakeholder, to spread the message and to encourage all those who are able to, to attend this exhibition.

18. In In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to invite our guests from around the world to utilise the period of you being here to explore our beautiful city, Cape Town, the Mother City as we call it. This city offers diverse and significant attractions. Some famous tourist attractions include Table mountain, which was declared as one of the seven wonders of the world, alongside Amazon in South America, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Jeju Island in South Korea, and others. Since we are celebrating this exhibition under the theme: The Road to Democracy, I will strongly recommend that you visit Robben Island, which was a prison that was meant to break the back of resistance to apartheid but was converted by converted by those incarcerated to become the greatest university in political education. It is a prison where a world-renowned struggle icon, Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 of the 27 years he spent in jail. We also have the the District 6 museum, the vineyards, our famous Stellenbosch and Franschhoek among others, the worldfamous Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, the Boulders Penguin colony, the Waterfront Aquarium, the Houses of Parliament, and much more. Please also make sure you enjoy local delicacies, including Snoek fish and South African wine. You will also find arts and crafts from across the African continent here, sold by street vendors and up-market shops and galleries

19. I would like to thank you once again and wish you all a successful exhibition and Africa Philately Conference.

20. I thank you end

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