United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the afternoon of Tuesday, 8 June, on the first leg of a trip that would also take them to Burundi, Cameroon, Benin and Sierra Leone. The trip would also bring them back to South Africa for the opening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The Secretary-General’s first official function was a bilateral meeting with President Jacob Zuma at Constitution Hill, a former prison. The two leaders also held a joint press stakeout before attending a “Sports for Peace” gala dinner in the same location.
He told the dinner guests that it was an ideal time to be meeting, just days before the start of the World Cup, one of the biggest events in the continent’s history. He said the real victor was already Africa, and that the aim now was to work together as a team to achieve the eight Millennium Development Goals — eight goals for Africa, eight goals for the world. (See Press Release SG/SM/12945)
The Secretary-General also received a symbolic first football, one of a million that the Hyundai Motor Company donated for young people across Africa, to be distributed through United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations. He also saw the launch of the official Millennium Development Goals song.
The Secretary-General left Johannesburg for Burundi early on Wednesday, 9 June, arriving in Bujumbura later that morning.