Letter from the French Ambassador to Namibia
By Claire Bodonyi
Ambassador of France
This year 2020 is a strange year! It is so strange that on 14 July, on the French National Day, we could not host a reception to signify our annual commemoration of a monumental event that took place 231 years ago to change and redirect the history of the French people forever.
In normal times and in the absence of the current global uncertainty and turmoil that is affecting rather deeply both the health and economic lives of all of us, we would be having a reception with Champagne, cheese, canapes and oysters.
And we would be rubbing shoulders and handbags as we mingle and exchange notes about the going-ons in our family and diplomatic lives her in Namibia where I have had the privilege to represent the Republic of France.
Under these circumstances it would be more than inappropriate to celebrate the French Day in its usual way. The Government of France, just like the Government of Namibia, is deeply concerned that so many people lost and will continue to lose their jobs and livelihoods. So many people are scared of their future and let us face it, many will succumb to the disease. Instead, I will share moments in Namibia with disadvantaged communities.
In these difficult times, I would like all of us to focus a though or two on the families and friend of my fellow citizens who lost their lives to COVID-19, as well as ll the victims of this pandemic around the world. Right now our hearts go out to those who are facing these uncertain times very directly one way or the other, and we cheer those men and women in the healthcare and security sectors who are lending their hands to assist those in need and risking their own safety.
With all the knowledge that world has accumulated about this, that and the other, or civilization does not know exactly how the world will wake up after this crisis. We just know that the situation is and will be dreadful. It surely gives the human family an opportunity to come back to enhanced solidity, and to put multilateralism in the center of a new world order and how this order of different cultures, languages, religions and other marker of our diversity must be managed. No one knows best and we all have to learn, learn from one another and with one another.
Dear and esteemed readers, when international travelling resumes, my official posting in Namibia will come to an end. I will have spend more than three years with you here, working hard on deepening the cooperation between France and Namibian, trying to strengthen these links and making them even more lively and friendly, in education, business, culture and all manners of mutual understanding with the focus on making the world a better place for all our people.
Even though there are no newspaper headlines about what we did and still do, we have an obligation to improve our relations through relevant, appropriate, and mutually beneficial actions, It is my hope that I had some success in doing so. I am sorry that I cannot in this format of communication name the types and depths of the activities we were able to cover. There will be further communication in this regard at appropriate times.
Three years of a life is a lot. May of you have accompanied me from one perspective or another, on that Namibian path, challenging me and sometimes going further than required and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. To the friends I leave here, I can tell that you helped me a lot by offering me a sense of home away from home and a life far away from my blood family. And to my specific (special) friend, I would dedicate a special thank you for having been so helpful.
Dear all, allow me to pay tribute to my team. To the French Embassy in Windhoek, and indeed colleagues in Luanda, Pretoria and Johannesburg, and at the French Namibian Cultural Center.. Merci beaucoup!
An ambassador is nothing without the colleagues, and the team who move in the same direction. We went together through nice moments and difficult ones, but always with the certainty that the job had to be done in a better way. I am also confident that the FNCC, reshaped, refurbished and redirected, will have a new under the dedication of its patron and its Trustees.
Dear Friends, perhaps more than ever before, we need to raise our glasses, in good faith to the prosperity of our two countries and to the good health of our two Presidents, Hage Geingob of the Republic of Namibia and Emmanuel Macron, of the Republic of France.
I thank you all and wish you excellent health, prosperity and happiness..