FAREWELL REMARKS ON THE DEPARTURE
DURBAN : OCTOBER 28, 2000
As friends, we have gathered to bid farewell to Mr Mysore Lokesh. As South Africans, we have come to wish Godspeed to a departing ambassador of good news, hoping that he will leave our country filled with the message that South Africa has unrealised potentials and is daily experiencing small victories that are never spoken of in the international media. Mr Lokesh arrived in our country a Consul General. I trust that he is leaving as an ambassador, excited to express the good experiences he has encountered here wherever his future postings may take him. We wish him everything of the best for his upcoming position in New Delhi. May the road ahead be filled with prosperity.
I am sure that each of us here this evening feels a personal loss in Mr Lokesh’s departure. We have come to regard him as a friend of the people of KwaZulu Natal and many relationships of mutual respect, trust and camaraderie have been established in Durban between members of the Indian community and Mr Mysore Lokesh. However, Mr Lokesh is not only known and respected among the Indian community, but has impressed upon everyone with whom he has worked the sincerity of his goodwill, which underpins every effort he has made to promote good relations between South Africa and India.
I believe that during his time in this country, Mr Lokesh has enabled many South Africans of Indian extraction to maintain ties with their ancestors' land. He has also eased the transition of people from India coming into South Africa, and has ensured in all his dealings that the good relationship between our two countries continues to expand. I trust that Mr Lokesh has been motivated by a clear perception of the mutual benefit to be gained from closer interaction and increased exchange. South Africa has tremendous potential and a great deal to offer. This seems to be a little known fact in the international mind, for the only news which is reported about our country in the international media is bad news.
Yet there is an overwhelming amount of good news to be found in our country for those with the desire to seek it. I believe that Mr Lokesh will have comprehended the greatest asset of South Africa, which is the desire of our people to achieve this country’s success. We are a people of hope and a determined nation. There is every reason to believe that South Africa can overcome its present social difficulties and economic battles. Above all else, South Africa requires development, and this issue has been placed firmly on the agenda within the political and social spheres. There is a resounding consensus among South Africans that only development will raise us above what we have achieved thus far.
And there is much to be proud of in what we have achieved thus far. Mr Lokesh has, for better or for worse, experienced a time of rapid transformation and unprecedented change in South Africa’s history. His own country having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence, I trust that Mr Lokesh has cherished the rich texture of life in the midst of a people’s ongoing struggle for freedom. South Africa continues to struggle for its liberation. Freedom from the oppressive social and economic yoke which still burdens many of our people shall only be achieved through development. We are on the right track and I believe we can do it. This is the good news of South Africa and I sincerely hope that this will be the news that Mr Mysore Lokesh shall carry in his heart and on his lips.
The ties that link the people of KwaZulu Natal with the people of India and their government, have been strengthened by the fact that Mr Lokesh was the kind of diplomat that he was, while he was the Consul General of India in Durban. A man of great competence and a man of integrity who was acceptable to all our population groups.
With these hopes and sentiments, we wish the departing Consul General and ambassador of good news every good fortune on the road ahead. May your fond memories of South Africa continue to expand the friendships you have found.