Dias Festival Opening Speech | Western Cape Government


Dias Festival Opening Speech

2 February 2012

Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to this year's Dias Festival. This festival reminds us of a great adventurer and sea captain. Dias sailed the oceans of the world in a time when many still believed the earth to be flat. It was a time when people believed in dragons and sea monsters.

Friends, I am sure there must have been moments during that significant trip in 1488 when Bartolomeu Dias had to calm the fears of his sailors. Fears of the unknown, together with superstition, can paralyse even the strongest man. Dias must have had the qualities of a true leader in order to keep his crew together and motivated.

Friends, during the lifetime of Bartolomeu Dias, explorers were charting new worlds and new cultures. New trade routes and exotic merchandise were discovered. Charting the route round the southernmost tip of Africa played a leading role in opening up the trade routes to the Far East.

But ladies and gentlemen: Today in South Africa it is time for us to discover one another. We come from a past where people were in the first place identified by their ethnic origin. We are now required to think of ourselves as South Africans in the first place. We need to break down these historic barriers which are keeping us apart from one another. We must discover one another.

Ladies and gentlemen: In the same manner that Dias had to be a true leader to keep his crew together, South Africa also now needs visionary leadership to pull us together. For Dias, the motivation was the discovery of new worlds and treasures. For us as South Africans, the motivation must be to discover ourselves in order to measure our true potential as a united South Africa.

In the time of Dias, the mapping of new worlds led to an economic explosion of trade and knowledge exchange. It fundamentally changed the world.

Ladies and gentlemen: If South Africans unite in a singular vision for our country, the effect will fundamentally change our future prospects for the better.

I conclude: Bartolomeu Dias sailed into our world in 1488. Let us be motivated by his courage and leadership skills. Let us learn from him in order for us to sail in 2012, into the future, together as one nation.