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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of African Affairs > Releases > Remarks > 2006: African Affairs Remarks

Remarks at the Tsotsi Premiere

Carol Thompson , Deputy Assistant Secretary
Washington, DC
March 9, 2006

Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. On behalf of the Bureau of African Affairs, it is my honor to welcome you to the special State Department screening of the Academy Award Winning film Tsotsi. Assistant Secretary Frazer very much wanted to be here today, but her travel schedule made it impossible.

We are thrilled to have this opportunity to share a piece of contemporary African culture and art with you. I would especially like to thank Miramax. Their team has graciously allowed us to show this film prior to the Washington, D.C., premiere tomorrow night.I would also like to thank the South African Ambassador Barbara Masekela for her Embassy’s support, which made this premiere possible.

Many talented artists were involved with the making of this movie. Winning the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film at Sunday’s Academy Awards is a tribute to their work – and to the people of South Africa, as this movie is a prime example of the dynamic spirit of Africa’s present-day art and culture.

Anyone who loves Africa should be particularly pleased to see South Africa’s talented filmmakers honored with the industry’s most prestigious award. Briefly, Tsotsi tells the story of a 19 year old young man who had learned to fend for himself, in the bustling townships of Johannesburg. The main character’s surroundings are marked by poverty and crime, but he finds a place for hope and redemption.

As we gather on the day following International Women’s Day, it is important to note that women are central to culture across Africa. In this film it is a female character that prompts the main character to consider the value of human life and encourages hope for a different, more positive future. South Africa offers a striking setting, in particular, because of the great changes the nation has seen over the last 12 years. Greater opportunities now exist for all South Africans.

South Africa is an example of what Assistant Secretary Frazer has in mind when she says that we are living in a period of unique opportunity for Africa. Every day, people across the continent are making progress in many, many ways.

And as President Bush remarked last June just before G-8, “All who live in Africa can be certain, as you seize this moment of opportunity, America will be your partner and your friend.” In closing, I would like to echo the words of director, Gavin Wood, in his acceptance speech Sunday night: Nkosi Sikeleli Africa. God Bless Africa.



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