OOT PRETORIA, SA: The Office of Tibet Pretoria celebrated the 81st Birthday of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, on the 9th of July (Saturday) attended by approximately 100 official guests from Embassies, NGOs, Friends & Supporters of Tibet. This auspicious event was graced by the presence of His Excellency, Prince Mangosuthu Bethelezi, the President and MP of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) of the Republic of South Africa, accompanied by Advocate Anthony Mitchell, Head of Media & Research (IFP), all the way from Cape Town.
The Office of Tibet started the formal function by saying short prayers jointly by Lamrim Buddhist Centre, followed by offerings of traditional scarf by the Representative and the honoured guests, to the well decorated throne and portrait of His Holiness, as most respectful gesture and prayer for long life. The Representative Nangsa Chodon then welcomed all the guests and introduced Prince Buthelezi, as a great admirer of His Holiness and His Party’s support towards Tibet, as a great inspiration for the struggle of Tibet since long and especially thanked for His presence, amidst the busy schedules of Election campaigns in South Africa, while thanking govt. of India through the Principal Secretary of Indian High Commission and others. (Indian High Commissioner could not join this time with her engagement at the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to South Africa, in Durban )
His Excellency, Prince Buthelezi conveyed his personal greetings for the long life of His Holiness The Dalai by presenting Tibetan Scarf to the throne and addressed the gathering highlighting his party’s continuation of support for the Tibetan Cause. He was not only welcomed by the Representative OOT, but was loved, greeted and highly appreciated by all present at the function at OOT (approximately 100 guests).
In his speech, Prince Buthelezi said, “It gives me tremendous pleasure to join you this afternoon in celebration of the 81st birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I know that throughout the world this special moment is celebrated by peace-loving people of every nationality. It is humbling to be part of a global outpouring of good wishes for a leader whom we all respect and admire. I am brought here by my longstanding friendship with His Holiness and my party’s good relationship with the Office of Tibet.”
“I support the Middle-Way approach advocated by His Holiness to address the cause of Tibet. I know that the success of this cause will have a deep impact on the internal democratisation of China. I have therefore expressed my support to His Excellency Dr Lobsang Sangay, who was recently re-elected as Sikyong, or Prime Minister, of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. I am also proud of a former Representative of His Holiness who was based in Pretoria, Mr Migyur Dorjee, who has been elected as a Member of Parliament to represent Utsang Province. Mr Dorjee represented His Holiness well and that legacy of good representation is continued in the generosity, professionalism and warmth of Mrs Nangsa Chodon,” he said.
The formal function was followed by serving of refreshments and lunch to all the guests. The formal Statements of Kashag & TPiE were distributed and few related short documentary films on His Holiness birthday celebrations internationally were screened, on the side lawn.
Following this celebration, the Lamrim Buddhist Centre at Johannesburg also celebrated His Holiness’s Birthday on the 10th of July ( Sunday ) with the special prayer sessions for His long life and screening of documentary film on His Holiness’s life followed by lunch to the Buddhist gathered at Lamrim.
As this auspicious event ended with great joy filled with personal greetings as they left the OOT, followed by their comments and pictures on their respective facebook, the following days. The celebration was successful with the cooperation of local friends of OOT.
-Report filed by Office of Tibet, SA-