5 September 2014

South Africa: It's Business, Mr Lama, Nothing Personal

Photo: Jordi Matas/Sapa
(file photo)

The inability of the Tibetan religious figure and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the Dalai Lama, to be able to enter South Africa for a conference of other laureates points to the inner confusion of values in South Africa's foreign policy, critics say. J. BROOKS SPECTOR takes a look.

One would think that by now, even the Dalai Lama's friends around the world would have gotten the message - the South African government really, really doesn't want you to come here. Or, maybe, perhaps, the message really is: China really, really doesn't want you to come to South Africa. And South Africa obliges.

This time around, he was supposed to be one of the honoured guests at an annual gathering of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. The event has taken place every year since 1999, and this year's meeting has been scheduled for Cape Town in October. As one of the Peace Prize laureates, in the fullness of time, the Dalai Lama's people in India presented his application for a South African visa to the South African High Commission in New Delhi. Then, on 4 September, South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation issued two separate media releases about this presumably...

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