South Africa observes Commonwealth Day

Media Statement


11 March 2024


South Africa observes Commonwealth Day


On 11 March 2024, member countries of the Commonwealth will commemorate Commonwealth Day. Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration observed by people all over the Commonwealth in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Americas, as well as the Pacific and Europe.


The Commonwealth theme for 2024 is, ‘One Resilient Common Future’.


Each year, the Commonwealth and its members celebrate Commonwealth Day to renew their bond with the Organisation, strengthen their commitment to the Commonwealth values and re-energise the union of its member states. During 2024, the Commonwealth will also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the signing of the London Declaration, which heralded the birth of a modern Commonwealth.


The theme also reflects the focus for this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that will take place in Apia, Samoa on 24 and 25 October 2024. CHOGM 2024 will be preceded by a Pre-CHOGM Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting. Samoa will be the first Small Island Developing State from the Blue Pacific to host CHOGM.


CHOGM 2024 will focus on the core pillars of the Commonwealth through a resilience lens. It aims to strengthen: (1) Resilient democratic institutions upholding human rights, democracy, and the rule of law; (2) A resilient environment to combat climate change; (3) Resilient economies that support recovery and prosperity and (4) Resilient societies to empower individuals for a peaceful and productive life.


On 25 October 2024, Heads will also elect the next CHOGM Secretary-General “in accordance with usual practice and the principle of regional rotation”. The understanding is that the next Secretary-General will be from Africa as the continent has not had a Secretary-General in over two decades since Chief Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria, left office in 2000. The successful candidate will serve as the seventh Commonwealth Secretary-General.


South Africa attaches great importance to the role the Commonwealth Secretary-General should play in improving the image and credibility of the Commonwealth and to promote and protect the Commonwealth’s values and principles, as set out in the Commonwealth Charter. The Secretary-General should also prioritise the management of the Commonwealth Secretariat and play a role in ensuring ownership of the Commonwealth and directing its activities to truly serve all the member states in achieving their development aspirations.


As a member of the Organisation since 1994, South Africa believes that the Commonwealth continues to play an important role in a world where there is increasing pushback against the forces promoting collective action and international solidarity and cooperation. The Organisation, which represents countries from across the development spectrum, should use its unique position of comprising of members from all parts of the world derived from both developing and developed countries, to continue calling for the strengthening of existing multilateral mechanisms and institutions and transform them to suit current global realities. The Commonwealth provides an opportunity to address issues of common interest, including the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the reform of institutions of global governance, in particular the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the United Nations.


The Commonwealth must remain at the forefront of the struggle for the advancement and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, gender equality and women empowerment.


The 56 members of the Commonwealth will be able to assist each other, only through increased solidarity, to address the challenges we are collectively currently facing. This will ensure that the Commonwealth continues to remain relevant and grow.


On Commonwealth Day, South Africa once again renews its pledge to uphold and serve the values and fellowship of the Commonwealth.


Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974




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