South African President to be Republic Day chief guest
November 16, 2018
After United States President Donald Trump expressed his inability to be the chief guest at 2019 Republic Day celebrations of India, the government has extended an invitation to Cyril Ramaphosa, President, South Africa.
The Indian government had earlier invited Trump to be the guest of honour. However, the invitation was not accepted by the White House as Trump had some other engagements on those dates.
President Ramaphosa is the fifth President of South Africa. He is known as an ardent follower of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Inviting him as the special guest is also symbolic as this year will mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
During his stay, President Ramaphosa will also attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations which are to be held in January.
The day is celebrated in memory of Gandhi's return to India from South Africa.
Although the day is usually observed on 9 January, it will be postponed to a date later in January to ensure that President Ramaphosa can attend it along with the Republic Day celebrations.
The news has been welcomed by most people as was evident from some tweets on social media.
Dr. Shahid Siddiquiâ€ @shahidsiddiqui, tweeted "India's Republic Day Celebrations to see South #Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa- a #Gandhi follower from #Mandela 's land!"
While another user Samarâ€ @Samar_Anarya wrote,
After Donald Trump's refusal to be the chief guest of India's Republic Day celebrations; first ever in last 71 years, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is likely to be the chief guest at the 2019 #RepublicDay. #BajRahaHaiGhanta