Mampho Brescia comes back to South Africa with renewed insight into Japan

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In an effort to strengthen ties and grow mutual understanding between the two countries, the Japanese government invited South African actress, Mampho Brescia to be a representative on a week-long visit to the land of the rising sun.

During her visit, Brescia met with some of the country’s political and social development leaders where the agenda of speeding up social justice especially for women was discussed, along with Japan’s foreign policy on Africa’s engagement. She also experienced a variety of Japanese culture, arguably one of the most fascinating cultures in the world.

“Both nations, South Africa and Japan have a futuristic outlook, where they have mutual goals of creating a free and fair society where all their people have rights, and social justice. Both governments wish to advance the well-being of their citizens, and that is something that is laudable,”

Brescia said.

She said that she was deeply honoured that the Japanese government had chosen her to act as a global citizen in bridging the cultural and political gap between South Africa and Japan.

Taro Sawada, PR officer at the Embassy of Japan in South Africa, said that the appointment of Brescia as its representative in Japan served to highlight how much the two countries can learn from each other.

“Japan has been fostering close relations with South Africa for 100 years now. Unlike South Africa, a so called rainbow nation with a variety of races, religions and cultures, Japan is a racially homogenous country. Japan, however, has developed unique and colourful cultures and traditions in a sophisticated manner. With our long-lasting and close relationship, we would like to promote more mutual understanding with South Africa through people-to-people exchanges, and this is what we expect Mampho’s key role to be. By taking advantage of the huge influence Mampho has in South Africa, we would like her to bring her experience and engagement in Japan to the people of South Africa,” 

Sawada said.   

Brescia, who studied cultural exchange and the politics of Japan as an exchange student in the past in Japan, said the recent visit back to Japan was both spiritually and culturally fulfilling.

“Staying in Japan has been a full circle moment for me. Not only it is a beautiful country with unique cultures, but the people are incredible, welcoming and so deeply respectful. I had the opportunity of visiting Kyoto, an ancient city in Japan, experiencing the Japanese Tea Ceremony, wearing kimono (traditional Japanese garment), and visitingthe Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji). My exposure to these cherished Japanese cultures as well as Japanese hospitality has just renewed my insight into Japan, which I am committed to sharing with South Africans”.

“Another highlight for me in Japan was to visit a primary school in Japan, mingling with Japanese students and experiencing some unique school activities they do. You might be surprised, but in Japan, it is typical for students to maintain and clean up their classrooms on their own. Sometimes they even clean the toilets. They also serve lunch to their peers. Through these activities, Japanese youth effectively learn how to put things in order, how to make arrangements in an organised manner, and probably, how to be punctual. You might remember that, at the Football World Cup in Russia, some Japanese supporters surprised the world by cleaning up the stadium, even after Japan lost the match in the knockout stage. These surprising Japanese behaviours can be traced back to school activities in Japan, from which South Africans can learn a lot, probably”.

“In short, I took away so many lessons from Japanthis time. I’d jump at the opportunity of going back there again,”

Brescia said.

The Japanese Embassy will be hosting a handoverceremony on the 20th of October 2018 of a Youth Development Centre in Orlando Children’s Home, Soweto, equipped with a high-efficiency solar power system. The ceremony will be attended by Mampho Brescia and other notable guests of honour alongside Mr. Yasushi Naito, Consul of Japan in Cape Town.

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