South Africa’s accession to the ASEAN Cooperation Treaty, first place for sub-Saharan Africa

On 10 November, Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor will sign South Africa’s instrument of accession to ASEAN’s Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation (TAC). This will make South Africa the third country on the African continent to sign the TAC after Morocco and Egypt, and it will open many doors, including trade.

South Africa and Indonesia share a long history, brought together by a common struggle against oppression. Both countries are confronted with Dutch invaders and have fought the malice of slavery, colonialism and apartheid.

History documents that Indonesian slaves at the Cape have been fighting shoulder to shoulder with other Asian and African slaves since the middle of the 17th century. There is also scientific work that shows how political prisoners from Indonesia inspired South Africans to fight against colonial and apartheid forces.

Of course, another important moment in South Africa’s relationship with Indonesia is the 1955 Bandung Conference hosted by President Sukarno. South Africa was among 29 African and Asian countries that attended. South African anti-apartheid activists Molvi Ismail Cachalia and Moses Kotane attended as observers and presented a memorandum against apartheid, internationalizing support for the liberation movement.

With ever-growing ties since the opening of the Indonesian Embassy in South Africa about 26 years ago, …

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