Ivory Coast president ‘draws strength’ from Robben Island

Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara, middle, was welcomed by Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, left, and RIM Council chairperson, Professor Saths Cooper.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara concluded his South African trip with a visit to Robben Island Museum (RIM) on Saturday July 23.

He was welcomed by Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa and newly elected RIM Council chairperson, Professor Saths Cooper.

RIM CEO Abigail Thulare said the visit by the Ivory Coast president was deeply emotional, both for the dignitaries and for the South Africans on the island who welcomed him.

“President Ouattara’s reflection of the pain and destruction caused by the civil war in his country, brought back so many painful memories about South Africa’s struggle for peace and liberation.

“It is also fitting that this visit took place during Mandela Month, and the immense power of forgiveness and nation building displayed by our beloved Tata Madiba, is where President Ouattara drew his strength from, to go back home and lead his people on the path to reconciliation and forgiveness.”

President Ouattara’s state visit, which took place after the South African president’s visit to Abidjan in December last year, is part of strengthening relations between Abidjan and Pretoria.

“Robben Island stands as a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and we are both proud and humbled to share the learnings of Africa’s struggle icons with the rest of Africa, in pursuit of a stronger, unified and prosperous African continent,” said Ms Thulare.