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Sven Botha


The Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Sweden are often said to share a special relationship. This relationship, as Anna-Mart van Wyk’s article in this special issue illustrates, is firmly rooted in Sweden’s support for the Anti-Apartheid Movement. Since then, both South Africa and Sweden, and indeed the world as a whole, have experienced significant political, economic, and social changes.
The bilateral relationship between South Africa and Sweden has grown since the former’s transition to democracy on the 27th of April 1994. To this end, South Africa and Sweden enjoy a bi-national commission and a total of 22 bilateral agreements1 (DIRCO, 2022).
In addition to these milestones, innovative initiatives have been established in areas of mutual concern. Chief examples in this regard include the South Africa-Sweden University Forum (SASUF)2 and the Cape Town-Stockholm Connect Initiative3, which seek to stimulate collaboration in higher education and business and technology respectively. There have also been developments in our cultural exchanges in recent years. One such example was the facilitation of the Sweden-South Africa Live Connection: Digitally Yours Campaign (hereafter the Digitally Yours Campaign) which sought to keep both countries connected virtually during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The Digitally Yours Campaign ran from the 4th of April 2020 until the 2nd of May 2020 and hosted a number of virtual exchanges4 whereby both Swedish and South African artists participated in roundtable discussions and cultural performances in the areas of fashion, poetry, and music (Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria, 2020).

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