The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Pretoria commemorated the 76th Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka with the members of the Sri Lankan community and other well-wishers at the High Commission premises on 04 February 2024. Approximately 200 Sri Lankans in South Africa, as well as in other accredited countries, including Botswana and Mozambique along with South African friends of Sri Lanka participated in the event.
According to the participants and Sri Lanka community members, this year marked the highest participation in the Independence Day celebrations organized by the High Commission in recent history. Additionally, the year 2024 is significant in bilateral relations as the two countries celebrate 30th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year.
The event commenced with the singing of the Sri Lankan National Anthem followed by the National Anthem of the Republic of South Africa. A two-minute silence was observed in respect of those who sacrificed their lives for the motherland. Keeping in line with the tradition, a traditional oil lamp was lit by the children and young Sri Lankans present at the event with other distinguished guests.
Multi-faith religious observances were conducted by Most Ven. Nikorn O-In from the Johannesburg Buddhist Temple, Guru Ratnasabapathy Vengatraman of the Adhi Lingeswarar Hindu Temple in Benoni, Sheikh Anver Jhetam, a member of Jamiatul Ulama, South Africa, and Pastor Jack Mmulutsi of the Christian Revival Church, Johannesburg invoking blessings on Sri Lanka.
Following the welcome address by the High Commission, the Independence Day messages from President Ranil Wickremesinghe and President of the Republic of South Africa Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa were read out by the Mission staff.
All attendees were served with traditional Sri Lankan cuisine and Ceylon Tea.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Sri Lanka.