State Visit to South Africa

  November 27, 2009 at 8:26 am by

Their Majesties King Harald V of Norway and Queen Sonja paid a three-day State Visit to South Africa. The Royal couple traveled with a delegation of representatives of Norwegian leadership, culture and business. The King and Queen were welcomed by President Jacob Zuma and Mrs. Zuma with a solemn welcome ceremony at the Union Buildings.

After the welcoming ceremony, there were bilateral talks between the Royal Couple and the President as well as meetings between the Norwegian and South African delegation. Later King Harald officially opened the seminar “In Fragile States Environments” at the University of Pretoria. The seminar focused on the challenges of fragile states pose to peace and security in Africa.

The Royals also got a guided tour through the Freedom Park which is located on a hill in Pretoria and which was built out of a desire for a symbolic reconciliation with past conflicts. It opened in 2007. In the evening there was hosted a state banquet in the Presidential Guest House.

On their second day of the visit to South Africa their Majesties travelled to Cape Town – South Africa’s second largest city. There the Royal couple met the Nobel Peace Prize winners Desmond Tutu, Frederik Willem de Klerk and representatives of Nelson Mandela and Albert Luthuli at an official lunch.

Afterwards the Queen opened the exhibition “Strength and Conviction” at the South African National Gallery. In the evening the Royal couple were present at a cultural event. Mari Boine Band performed together with the South African artists Madosini and Abaqondisi Brothers. The evening was concluded with a buffet called “A taste of Norway”. Norwegian and South African cooks served Norwegian specialties.

On their last day the Royal couple attended seminars on research and education, a guided tour of the health clinic Uitzig clinic and visited to the young sailors at Zeekovlei Yacht Club. At the beginning of the day the King and Queen made a tour through the Green Point Stadium which will be used for the World Cup 2010.

Later Queen Sonja opened two seminars on research and higher education at the University of Cape Town where more then 22,000 students are studying. The Royal Couple also visited the health clinic- Uitzig Clinic- and a family that parish to the clinic.

The last official event for the Norwegian Royals was a visit to the Zeekovlei Yacht Club where young people from poor areas of opportunity are able to learn sailing.

A thread about the visit can be found here.

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