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Darkey Ephraim Africa Spearheads Thailand-South Africa Collaboration: A 30-Year Journey of Mutual Growth

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Imagine a world where two seemingly distant nations, Thailand and South Africa, weave a tapestry of collaboration that spans three decades, enriching the spheres of agriculture, culture, tourism, and more. At the heart of this international camaraderie stands a figure, Mr. Darkey Ephraim Africa, South Africa’s Ambassador to Thailand, who recently shared insights into the thriving bilateral relationship between these two diverse countries during an exclusive chat with the Bangkok Post.

The story of Thailand and South Africa’s partnership is not just a tale of diplomatic meetings and signed agreements. It’s an evolving narrative of mutual respect and shared goals, all catalyzed by historical visits from Nelson Mandela to Thailand, showcasing his ambitious vision for South Africa’s global connections, particularly with Asia.

Ambassador Africa highlighted the bountiful harvests of this relationship, especially visible in the agricultural sector. This inter-nation collaboration has seen the cross-border exchange of succulent fruits, with South African vineyards yearning to introduce their top-tier wines and beef to the Thai market. Yet, it’s the sharing of agricultural knowledge that Mr. Africa deems paramount, a testament to Thailand’s renowned farming expertise.

Yet, in the realm of tourism, there lingers an avenue ripe for enhancement. With merely 2,000 travelers bridging the two nations in 2022, Ambassador Africa eyes the untapped potential for growth. The challenge? The absence of direct flights—a puzzle he hopes will soon find its missing piece through the cooperation of the countries’ national carriers, Thai Airways and South Africa Airways.

The ambassador didn’t shy away from admitting the hurdles in actualizing the slew of bilateral agreements, proposing a robust monitoring system to transform written words into tangible outcomes. This reflects his broader vision for a relationship not just measured by diplomatic handshakes but by the palpable impact on the people’s lives.

The trade statistics of 2023 painted a picture of imbalance, with South Africa importing significantly more from Thailand than vice versa. Such insights prompt a reflective look at how to balance the scales of commerce, understanding that true partnership thrives on reciprocity.

Beyond the metrics of trade and agreements lies a profound commitment to peace and humanity—a legacy of South Africa’s journey from the shadows of apartheid to the global stage as a champion of democracy and rights. This commitment is symbolized by the new Nelson Mandela Centre at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, a beacon of hope for conflict resolution, human rights promotion, and the quest for global peace.

As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s freedom and its warm relationship with Thailand, we’re reminded of the enduring power of international friendship. It’s a relationship fostered not just by shared interests, but by the undying spirit of learning from one another, embracing diversity, and jointly paving the path towards a more inclusive and prosperous global community.


  1. GeoPolNerd May 1, 2024

    Fascinating article! The partnership between Thailand and South Africa highlights how diplomacy can transcend geographical boundaries. It’s a testament to the power of international cooperation.

    • Skeptik123 May 1, 2024

      But how effective is this cooperation really? Seems like a lot of talk but little action, especially when you look at the trade imbalance.

      • GeoPolNerd May 1, 2024

        Fair point on the trade imbalance. However, cooperation like this lays the groundwork for rectifying such issues. It’s about long-term gains, not immediate wins.

      • TravelBug May 1, 2024

        Not to mention, improving direct flights could significantly boost tourism and trade. It’s a step in the right direction.

    • VinoLover May 1, 2024

      South African wines in Thailand could be a game changer! Their vineyards produce some world-class wines. Excited to see this develop.

  2. ProudlySA May 1, 2024

    Darkey Ephraim Africa’s role deserves more spotlight. His efforts in fostering this relationship showcases the importance of having passionate diplomats.

  3. HistoryBuff May 1, 2024

    Nelson Mandela’s vision for South Africa’s international relations really is the gift that keeps on giving. His foresight in connecting with Asia is paying dividends decades later.

    • Realist2023 May 1, 2024

      While Mandela’s vision was admirable, are we truly seeing the benefits, or is this just diplomatic posturing?

      • ProudlySA May 1, 2024

        It’s not just posturing. The agricultural exchange and potential in tourism are clear indicators of mutual benefits. Plus, establishing peace centers is a solid step toward Mandela’s vision of a peaceful, interconnected world.

  4. TechieTraveller May 1, 2024

    Establishing direct flights is crucial. Without them, the tourism potential is just that – potential. It’s surprising that this hasn’t been addressed sooner.

    • AirwaysAnalytic May 1, 2024

      Actually, direct flights between countries are a complex issue involving lots of regulatory and economic factors. It’s challenging but definitely worth the effort.

  5. EcoWarrior May 1, 2024

    I hope the agricultural knowledge transfer includes sustainable practices. Thailand has a lot to offer but also a lot to learn in terms of sustainability.

  6. TradeGuru May 1, 2024

    The trade imbalance is concerning. South Africa should focus on leveraging its unique offerings to balance the scales. More exports to Thailand could be beneficial.

    • Skeptik123 May 1, 2024

      Easier said than done. South Africa has been trying to boost exports for years, but it’s not just about what you offer; it’s about what the market demands.

      • MarketMaven May 2, 2024

        Exactly! It’s about finding the right market for your products. Thailand is ripe for South African wines and beef, sure, but what else? There needs to be a broader strategy.

  7. CultureVulture May 2, 2024

    Cultural exchanges are just as critical as trade and tourism. It’s through understanding each other’s culture that we build lasting relationships.

  8. JusticeSeeker May 2, 2024

    The new Nelson Mandela Centre could be revolutionary for peace and conflict resolution studies. It’s a shining example of how Mandela’s legacy continues to influence global relations.

  9. Nomad May 2, 2024

    Only 2,000 travelers? That’s shockingly low. Direct flights could seriously boost those numbers. Here’s hoping for a boost in cultural and tourism exchanges.

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