Recently arrived U.S. Consul General Frances Chisholm hosted representatives of the provincial and municipal governments, civil society contacts, media, members of the diplomatic corps, and other dignitaries at her Durban North residence on November 4. More than eighty guests mingled, enjoyed music by a jazz duo, and listened to remarks by the Consul General, eThekiwini Municipality Speaker Logie Naidoo, and the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) MEC for Finance Belinda Scott.
Consul General Chisholm said she was impressed by the warm welcome she had received in KZN, and outlined her priorities for her three-year assignment. “I can’t hide the fact that economic development and education are two subjects very dear to my heart. I am proud of the many US-government sponsored educational exchanges in which many of you have participated over the years. These programs bring together some of the best minds in South Africa and the United States. From the time-tested Fulbright and International Visitors’ programs to the exciting, new Young African Leaders Initiative – these rich experiences build mutual respect and understanding.”
CG Chisholm also praised the achievements of the U.S.-South African health partnership in KwaZulu Natal under the auspices of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR): “The concrete results of PEPFAR are all around us. This unprecedented program has helped the South African government support life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 2.4 million people. HIV prevention-focused efforts in the country have also been greatly strengthened by PEPFAR. Today I would like to salute the KwaZulu Natal provincial government for its outstanding success in bringing mother to child transmission of the virus down to less than 1.2% of newborns as of September this year. We are proud to be your partner!”
Noting recent cooperation between the United States and South Africa to combat poaching and wildlife trafficking, Chisholm highlighted her recent visit to “the beautiful Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, where young people from South Africa, America, Vietnam, and around the world had gathered to confront the threat of rhino trafficking. They met with government officials, conservationists, and traditional leaders; they raised awareness and made their voices heard to help ensure that another generation would appreciate, understand, and fight for Africa’s irreplaceable natural heritage.
“The United States provided financial support to the youth summit, and I had the honor of addressing these exceptional youth and announcing new grants for anti-poaching activities. In fact, it was my first speech as Consul General. So you see – considering that my first speech was in a tent in the bush – I am committed to getting out and exploring all corners of the province.“