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The United States Ambassador, Reuben Brigety (third from the right), after giving his speech at the University of Venda. Next to him is Ms Nosisi Feza, University of Venda’s deputy vice chancellor. Photo: Thembi Siaga.

US Ambassador Brigety pays visit to Vhembe region

 

The United States’ ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, visited the Vhembe region last week and spoke about his country’s projects aimed at alleviating poverty and fostering economic growth. During his trip to the region last Tuesday (16th), he visited the University of Venda and the Vhembe TVET College.

Brigety was confirmed as the 29th United States Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa on 21 July 2022. During his time here, he has visited all nine provinces, highlighting educational programmes and projects to help improve the relationship between the two countries.

Brigety stated that with more than 600 American companies creating opportunities for 225,000 individuals, their focus remained steadfast on bolstering job creation and empowering communities. "One of the ways we contribute is by improving South Africa's health-care system, ensuring fairness and accessibility. Through programmes like The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has allocated nearly $10 billion to South Africa, we have significantly enhanced the health and well-being of its citizens,” Brigety said.

He also said that they supported South Africa's human rights and democracy efforts. “As the nation celebrates 30 years of democracy, we stand ready to assist, particularly during upcoming elections. We trust in their commitment to uphold their own laws and maintain national strength,” Brigety said.

Brigety said that they were dedicated to addressing social challenges in South Africa. While the responsibility lies with the government and people of South Africa to resolve these issues, the U.S. stands prepared to offer assistance if needed. "The government and people of South Africa must collaborate to tackle social problems. Both the South African government and the United States, along with myself as the U.S. ambassador, are prepared to contribute to resolving these issues,” Brigety said.

Ms Nosisi Feza, Univen's deputy vice-chancellor, said that they regularly sent students and staff to the United States, and they also received students from their universities. “What I like is the reciprocal engagement we have. We respect each other. So, it’s not only us going there, but them coming here that is also mutual because they respect what they can learn,” said Feza.

One of the alumni of such educational exchange programmes, Ms Basani Hlekani, is also the principal of the Vhembe TVET College. She said that she had participated in the CCAP programme in South Africa where the U.S. and South Africa worked together.

“They taught me how they run their institutions. I visited Florida to see community colleges and universities. I saw how they teach and work with their communities. When I came back, our college changed a lot because of what I learned. We now do many projects with our community. We make sure our rules help the community and that our college is known,” she said.

 

 

Date:27 April 2024

By: Thembi Siaga

Thembi Siaga started as an intern during 2021. He assisted with video photography and editing. He also produced numerous small documentaries, focusing on the Vhembe region and its people. Currently he works as a freelance journalist, covering stories in the Elim area.

Thembi studied at the Tshwane University of Technology, where he completed his diploma in Journalism in 2021.

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