African States Showcase Culture At Korean Festival

Victor Maphosa in SEOUL, South Korea

AFRICA is widely perceived as the cradle of human kind and is gaining more attention as the youngest, fastest-growing and most dynamic continent on Earth, South Korea's Foreign Affairs Minister Cho Tae-yul has said.

Officially opening the Africa Culture Festival here on Friday last week, Minister Cho said culture has the power to connect people.

The three-day Africa Culture Festival was organised as a special event ahead of the forthcoming Korea-Africa Summit next month.

Most African countries, through their embassies in South Korea, showcased their cultural heritages including traditional cuisine.

"Culture has power to connect people beyond the walls and across borders. We are witnessing how the power of culture can change the world. In Africa, the Korean wave, encompassing Korean food, K-pop, K-Drama, and K-beauty, is gaining increasing popularity among younger generation.

"Korean people are also opening their eyes to the beauty and charm of African culture.

"There has been a continuous stream of people-to-people exchanges between Korea and Africa, and Africa has emerged as an attractive travel destination to Koreans.

"These examples show the growing mutual engagement and understanding between Korea and Africa. I believe that today's Africa Culture Festival will provide my fellow Koreans with valuable opportunities to explore and immerse themselves in the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Africa. I hope this three-day event allows all of us to gain a deeper appreciation of the stunning beauty of Africa," Minister Cho said.

He said Korea and Africa share the same historical background of colonialism and took a moment to appreciate the efforts of the African diplomatic corps in Seoul to make the event a success.

In his remarks, Ambassador Carlos Victor Boungou, thedean of the African Ambassadors in South Korea, commended South Korea for allowing Africa to promote its culture.

"On behalf of the African Group of Ambassadors and the African Embassies in Seoul, it is my honour and privilege to thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs for taking the time to participate in this meaningful festival aiming to promote African culture in Korea and facilitate the intensification of cultural exchanges between the Republic of Korea and African nations.

"I also would like to appreciate the invaluable contribution of Africa Insight, a precious organisation that has always been instrumental in the promotion of African culture.

"Public opinion in Korea tends to describe Africa as a distant land. But the expansion of cultural relations can contribute to tell a different story through better mutual understanding and the enhancement of sustainable dialogue between peoples.

"The upcoming Korea-Africa Summit, to be hosted by the Republic of Korea under the theme of 'the future we make together: Shared growth, sustainability, and solidarity', will undoubtedly deepen cutural relations between Korea and Africa while reinforcing political and economic ties.

"Aspiration 5 of the African Union Agenda 2063 envisions an Africa with a strong cultural identity. It calls for cultural renaissance, tapping Africa's rich heritage and culture to ensure that the creative arts are major contributors to its growth and transformation," he said.

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