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Celebrating a Milestone: “25 Years On” Documentary Illuminates South Africa-China Relations

Published December 31, 2023
7 months ago

Amidst the glittering lights of Nu Metro in Johannesburg's Hyde Park shopping centre, a significant gathering marked a milestone in international diplomacy and partnership. The occasion was the premiere of “25 Years On,” a documentary series chronicling the journey of South Africa-China relations which have grown from fledgling beginnings into a formidable comprehensive strategic partnership, as officials, diplomats, business leaders, and academics bore witness to this celebration of unity and progress.

The three-part documentary, a collaborative venture between the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and the China Media Group, tells the story of 25 years of diplomatic ties between Pretoria and Beijing, built on mutual trust and shared development goals. The premiere of this documentary signifies the 25th anniversary of the bond that has seen both nations work together, achieving numerous milestones across various sectors.

Minister Zheng Bingkai of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa highlighted the significance of the documentary as a testament to the enduring and multi-faceted relationship that has seen China become South Africa's largest global trading partner, and vice versa for China in Africa. He elucidated on the depth of the partnership, noting especially the historical state visits by Chinese President Xi Jinping, including his recent tour to Pretoria, which was instrumental in ushering in what he described as a 'golden era' between the two nations.

The documentary draws attention to the cooperation's vast expanse, which encompasses political, economic, cultural, and international facets. It shines a light on the progress and future aspirations within the framework of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the 10-Year Strategic Programmes of Cooperation (2020-2029) outlined by the Department of International Relations.

China and South Africa have not only seen growth in political goodwill but have also witnessed a meteoric rise in their economic exchanges. Trade volumes soared from a modest base to over R500 billion by 2021, demonstrating resilience and potential, even during the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic. This trade growth underscores the cooperative spirit that has been a bedrock of their bilateral engagements.

Indeed, the premiere of "25 Years On" is more than a look back at a shared history; it is a celebration of mutual understanding, a shared vision for progress, and an emblematic depiction of South-South cooperation that stands as a model for other international relations. The documentary is set to be more than just a historical account—it is a marker of solidarity, a beacon for future collaboration, and ultimately, a tale of two nations walking together towards a common horizon.

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