Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

South African Consul-General announces exit date

Posted by Kimberly on November 21, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
November 21, 2007 (682 words)

Mr Mario George Masher, Consul-General of the South African Consulate-General, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, announced his date of exit from the Consul-General post yesterday, during a press conference to promote South African food and wine at Afrikana BBQ restaurant at the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf.

Mr Masher will be ending his term of office on December 15, having occupied the post for the past four years.

“I would love to stay but it’s out of my hands,” said Mr Masher.

Asked what he felt had been his greatest achievements during his term as Consul-General, Mr Masher responded, “promoting South Africa in its entirety. I was mandated to do that and we’ve excelled and went beyond.”

As for any regrets, he noted that the only one was that of leaving, adding “I’ve made so many friends, I’ve been consulted on so many issues, not only regarding South Africa, but regarding Macau and so forth.

“The positive side is getting to know people, what they’re all about and where we can work together, promoting South Africa,” he said.

He emphasised the kindness of those in power, including secretaries and executives in welcoming him to various functions.

He added that everything was open and on the table, nothing was suppressed, when he required the knowledge, and hoped that “my successor has that same access.”

For Mr Masher, the youth of Hong Kong and Macau have made the most impression on him, particularly “their aspirations.”

His fondest memories are of being in China “in its totality.

Learning from them, seeing their development, meeting up with people from all walks of life, travelling through China, which I wish I could do forever,” he said.

There was also the learning curve, of having to adapt to an entirely new continent that is Asia, meeting and working with people from Asia, that was what he termed, “an exciting experience.

“I have used 24 hours of my time because you can never switch off, because of the excitement and the developments that have been happening in my regions,” he added.

Mr Masher will announce his departure formally during a dinner on November 29 at an undisclosed venue, during which time the executives of the newly established South African Association of Macau (SAAM) will also be announced.

The association was presented to media at yesterday’s press conference, along with the launching of the South African food and wine tasting promotion that will be extended until December 16.

The promotion at Afrikana restaurant will focus on the country’s meat, vegetables, wine and spirits.

Looking at figures provided for 2006, trade between South Africa and Macau was at 113 million patacas while general food related products reflected a figure of 39.5 million patacas in 2005. Finally, figures on wine and spirits exports were 950,069 patacas for 2006.

The South African Association is a culmination of the efforts of both South Africans in Macau and the Consulate-General.

According to a statement issued at the press conference, SAAM was established “with the principal objective of providing an organised social structure for the South African community in Macau.”

The association is expected to provide an opportunity for regular socialisation of its members and with individuals belonging to similar structures in Macau, as well as assisting newcomers to Macau.

Mr Masher emphasised that South Africa’s tourism industry had now overtaken the gold market as the country’s most valuable export, with with economic research cited by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) showing the travel industry brings 66 billion rands (79 billion patacas) into the country each year.

The establishment of a South African business forum will also occur some time later next year, according to Mr Masher, to allow businesses and business people to interact with each other on a more professional platform.

The South African Association will hold their monthly gatherings on Friday and Saturday nights at a local pub. More information can be obtained by contacting Mr Bruce Canterbury on (853) 6619 5326.

The next big event to be celebrated by the association will be ‘Day of Reconciliation’ on December 16.



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