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Commemoration of the Lithuanian Independence Day in South Africa
In commemoration of the Independence Day, the Lithuanian Ambassador to South Africa Mr. Dainius Junevičius invited all the compatriots, representatives of the South African Government, cultural, academic, business as well as the diplomatic community to the broadcast of the opera „The Lithuanians“ („I Lituani“) on the 15th of February 2021.
The opera was composed by the famous 19th century Italian composer Amilcare Ponchielli, a teacher of Giacomo Puccini and Pietro Mascagni, and recounts the Lithuanian fights for independence of the 14th century. The opera premiered on the 7th of March, 1874, at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
In addition, the embassy is happy to present a mini film festival for the Lithuanian community in South Africa. Three movies will be available as part of the festival programme including a feature film “Nova Lituania” by director Karolis Kaupinis, a documentary “The Ancient Woods” (“Sengirė”) by director Mindaugas Survila and “Homeland” (“Gimtinė”) by director Tomas Vengrys. More information about the festival and access to films is on the embassy's „Facebook“ account.
It is interesting to note, that the first documented commemoration of the Lithuanian Independence Day in South Africa was held in Johannesburg on the 16th of February of 1939, at Langham hotel, the most luxurious hotel of Johannesburg at that time. The hotel hall was crowded with over 500 guests at the reception, ninety percent of whom were Jews from Lithuania. They longed to hear the Lithuanian language as well as news from their motherland. The guests were addressed by the Lithuanian honorary consul Mr. C. R. MacGillivray as well as a prominent Lithuanian public figure Mr Vladas Nagevičius and his wife, who were on a visit to South Africa. In his speech, Mr Nagevičius expressed high appreciation of the role of the Lithuanian Jews in defending the Lithuanian independence as well as their considerable contribution to the Lithuanian society. The guests were also addressed by Mr. Vaškys, the representative of the Lithuanian community, and by a famous musician Mr. Solomon Aranowsky as the voice of the Jewish community in South Africa. The audience was thrilled and moved by a film about life in Lithuania screened at the reception.