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UAZA ACTIVITIES in 2018-2022

July 14, 2023 | 0 Comments

The Ukrainian Association of South Africa (UAZA) was registered as NPO in 2017 and unites Ukrainians and South Africans living in South Africa. The organisation membership includes Gauteng, North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Western and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. Our mission is to be a collaborative association based on rich Ukrainian cultural heritage that promotes networks between Ukrainians and South Africans for mutual development, increased awareness and inner growth of individuals and societies. UAZA actively cooperates with a wide range of organisations in South Africa and Ukraine. UAZA has been an associate member of Ukrainian World Congress since 2018.

After the Russian unjust and unprovoked full scale invasion of Ukraine, on the 24th of February, UAZA is aiming to respond to this war by:

  • building solidarity movements with civil society organisations, academics and other organisations; and being a voice of Ukraine in SA independent media;
  • ensuring that the SA government allows Ukrainians to come to stay with their families;
  • providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine and supporting those whose lives were changed forever by the war. 

UAZA’s main projects are built around its objectives:


Objective 1: To promote Ukrainian culture, language and other information about Ukraine in South Africa 


UKRAINIAN FESTIVAL | Annual event since 2017

Photo below (left to right): Anna Zubko (a vocalist of the Ukrainian folk musical band “Dyvyna” from Donetsk region), Ruslana Malichenko (UAZA PR in 2019-2020), Tetiana Kotenko (a vocalist of the Ukrainian folk musical band “Dyvyna” from Donetsk region), Dzvinka Kachur (UAZA Honorary President) at the Ukrainian Festival 2019 in Cape Town

Every year Ukrainian Association of South Africa welcomes everyone to come and enjoy everything the Ukrainian culture has to offer at the Ukrainian Festival. South Africans had an opportunity to immerse themselves in Ukrainian culture and traditions. The festival is a fun-filled day with loads of activities and entertainment: from traditional Ukrainian instruments to modern music; from folk songs to popular rhythms of our days; form Ukrainian art of seven thousands old Trypillia culture to the exhibition of famous Ukrainian artist this century; to learn Ukrainian folk dancing, to see paintings in Petrykivka style and to taste delicious Ukrainian cuisine. 6000 visitors attended the event in 2018 and the event was opened by UWC president Eugene Czolij. Ukrainian Festival had its first online edition in 2020 with over  3000 participants connecting online. Ukrainian Festival is the only regular Ukrainian culture event in Southern Africa. It allows all in South Africa to build new friendships and explore similarities between the two countries by  learning about Ukrainian roots, traditions,  modern art and literature.

Besides the Ukrainian Festival, UAZA organises regular classes in Ukrainian crafts, poetry reading and lectures about Ukrainian literature that aim to increase the understanding of Ukrainian culture by South Africans.



Photo below: Nadiia Prymak, Ukrainian bandura musician, performed song “Nich Yaka Misyacha” (The Moon Lit Light) by Mykola Lysenko at the Expresso Morning studio, SABC TV.

Ukrainian Association of South Africa cooperated with the Expresso Morning Show at SABC 3 and Lays campaign to create 7 episodes about Ukrainian culture which showcased Ukrainian dance Hopak by Oleksii Ischenko, Ukrainian music by bandura player Nadiia Prymak, Ukrainian cuisine by Ukrainian Bakery in SA, Ukrainian Language, traditional clothing and painting style Pysanky. More than 30,000 viewers around South Africa watched this show.



Photo below: the official poster of the event created by Tetiana Hurn (Ukrainian artist).

The contemporary dance performance “The Forest” was created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka and inspired by her book “Forest Song” (ukr. “Лісова пісня») as a collaboration between the Ukrainian Association of South Africa, the international choreographer Kateryna Aloshyna (Ukraine/South Africa) and the support of the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of South Africa.

The contemporary dance performance changes the space into a life dialogue, supported by digital technologies. The images for the projection were created by Ukrainian animator Mykyta Budantsov. 

Music has been composed specially for the performance by Ukrainian musicians Maksym Berezhnyuk (sopilka) and Dmytro Aleksienko (beatboxing) using original folk melodies which the poet had heard in the Ukrainian forest region of Polissya. Four performances were shown at the Joburg Theater in Johannesburg for Ukrainian and South African children and their families where they were not just a viewer but a participant as well. 


Objective 2: To support and promote the territorial integrity, national identity, pride, security, humanitarian projects and economic prosperity of Ukraine



Photo below: Memorial bench dedicated to the victims of the Holodomor in Ukraine and genocides on the African continent at the De Waal Park (Cape Town).

UAZA is cooperating with the Embassy of Ukraine and Holocaust and Genocides Centres in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban to organise the annual commemoration of the victims of Holodomor. 

Since 2019 UAZA campaigns SA parliamentarians to recognise Holodomor as a deliberate act of genocide. 

In 2017 the screening of the movie ‘Bitter Harvest’ took place in Cape Town and Pretoria. In 2018 Dr. Nadia Kravets (Harvard University) gave the Public Lecture “Death by Starvation: Geography and Legacy of Stalin’s Terror-Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine”. In 2021 two benches were unveiled dedicated to the victims of the Holodomor in Ukraine and genocides on the African continent by the UAZA with the support of the Embassy of Ukraine to South Africa at the Ukrainian Museum in Riversdale and De Waal Park in Cape Town. The benches are decorated by the Ukrainian-born South African artist Yulia Glas, whose great-grandmother was among the Holodomor survivors. The Memorial Benches became traditional meeting points for Candle Lighting Ceremony and Community Prayer.



Photo below: the official poster of the event created by Tetiana Hurn (Ukrainian artist). 

The photographic exhibition “The Victors”, project curator Solomiya Vitvitska and two veterans Volodymyr Voropai and Olga Benda came to South Africa as a joint effort of UAZA and the Embassy of Ukraine to support veteran’s psychological rehabilitation and reintegration into social life via sport and to serve as an inspiration for South Africans of all abilities.

The project consisted of photos, made by well-known artists Alexander Morderer and Tatiana Rubliova, showing Paralympians, veterans, and volunteers of Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) who became amputees as result of the russian aggression against Ukraine. A conversational forum on ‘Sport and the Human Abilities of People with Disabilities’ was organised by the Disability Innovations Africa, University of Cape Town, Ukrainian Association of South Africa, Embassy of Ukraine in RSA in association with Artscape Theatre Centre. The social multimedia project THE VICTORS is a joint initiative of TSN (Television Service of News, 1+1 TV Channel) and VIVA! Magazine



Photo below (left to right): Alexsandr Nikituk (Ukrainian muralist), Tatiana Hurn (Ukrainian-South African artist). 

Khersones Lighthouse Mural – a 150 sq m painting just 200 meters from SA parliament was created by Alexsandr Nikituk and Tatiana Hurn as a reminder to all residents and visitors of Cape Town that Crimea is Ukraine. 

The Crimean Lighthouse is decorated with Petrykivka style flowers and was a UAZA project implemented in collaboration with Baz-Art, International Public Art Festival in Cape Town, Boxwood Property Fund, the Embassy of Ukraine.




Photo below: the official poster of the event created by Tetiana Hurn (Ukrainian artist). 

Researchers from different countries and fields attended and presented at the online conference Socio-Economic connections between Eastern Europeans in South Africa” to understand the diversity of those connections and their representatives. 

The conference aimed to spark the curiosity of researchers from different fields to map key migration processes from Central and Eastern Europe to South Africa. Its objectives were to understand the present contributions to this field of research of integration of migrants, to identify the institutions migrants are setting in South Africa and to discuss the role those communities play in developing cooperation between South Africa and Eastern Europe. In June 2023 the collection of papers developed based on the conference presentations were published and available on www.uaza.co.za. The conference was organised by the Ukrainian Association of South Africa (NPO), the Polish Association of Siberian Deportees (NPO) and Sol Plaatje University in Kimberly, South Africa.


HUMANITARIAN AID | Fundraising companies since 2022

Photo below (left to right): Kateryna Aloshyna (UAZA President since 2022), Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman (Gift of the Givers), Nataliia and Div Venter (UAZA members of The Humanitarian Aid Committee) in Cape Town 2022. 

The Ukrainian Association of South Africa in partnership with the largest disaster response non-governmental organisation of African origin, the Gift of the Givers (GOTG) provides medical support and food supplies to people and animals in Ukraine from the first days of russian war against Ukraine.

Thanks to the support of South Africans and friends across the country, UAZA & GOTG have organised more than 30 fundraising events in Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg; and have distributed funds in 48 cities, towns and villages in 16 war-affected regions in Ukraine, including Sumy, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Bucha, Mariupol, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhya. 14 beneficiary organisations such as hospitals, orphanages, animal shelters – have received aid (food, medicine and hygiene kits). 

We continue collecting funds which are used to buy food, hygiene items, clothes, medical supplies, and other necessities for the Ukrainian civil population and animals based on up-to-date requests from our volunteer partners in Ukraine.


Objective 3: To unite and support Ukrainians of all generations and to be a valid representation of Ukrainian community in South Africa


UKRAINIAN SCHOOL IN SOUTH AFRICA | Annual event since 2016

Photo below: Logo of Ukrainian School in South Africa which was created by Tetiana Hurn, Ukrainian-South African artist.

The Ukrainian school is registered as a Junior Club of the ‘Ukrainian Association of South Africa’ and has three branches in Durban, Pretoria and Cape Town. 

The first Ukrainian language classes for children started in Cape Town in 2016. Since 2018 singing and Petrykivka painting have been taught at the school, and since 2020 Ukrainian dance and science classes have been added. In 2020, a branch of a Ukrainian school was opened in Pretoria  and classes for adults started in Somerset West, Western Cape. Due to COVID pandemic, Ukrainian School went online which gave the opportunity to students from other provinces to join the classes.  

Ukrainian School in South Africa uses Ukrainian culture and language as a space for communication and personal growth of Ukrainians and foreigners of different ages. We accept all students of different ages. We have a free library available for Ukrainian school students and their families.



Photo below (left to right): Nadiia Pryimak, Zoi Dai, Tetiana Hurn, Svitlana Lebedych, Olesya Loubser, Stephan Kacedan, Bishop Yosyp Milian (Міляна), Dzvinka Kachur, Mykola Swystowycz, Suzi Davey, Father Andriy Gah.

UAZA cooperates with the UGCC, Catholic and the Greek Orthodox churches in South Africa to support the spirituality of Ukrainians living in South Africa.

In 2019 UAZA organised events in Cape Town and Pretoria to commemorate metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky. Commemorations were attended by Bishop Yosyp Milian (Міляна) and Father Andriy Gah visited South Africa as a part of the UGCC mission. 

In May-Nov 2022 UAZA hosted Ukrainian missionary priest Stepan Lylak who served divine liturgies in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

With the support of the Ukrainian Association of South Africa and the Embassy of Ukraine to the Republic of South Africa, a number of events were held in honour of Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky such as screening of the film about Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky and services in Pretoria and Cape Town.  



Photo below: the official poster of the event created by Tetiana Hurn (Ukrainian artist). 

UAZA in cooperation with the International Institute of Education, Culture and Diaspora Relations (Ukr. МІОК)  have conducted research on the Ukrainian community abroad and conducted a unique survey of Ukrainians in South Africa, the result is available in Ukrainian and English.

The publication starts with the historical explorations of the Ukrainian community in South Africa and then looks into migration from Ukraine to South Africa, describes a typical portrait of a Ukrainian migrant in South Africa, the causes and features of the migration process, challenges and problems of integration of Ukrainian migrants in South Africa, identity preservation and transformation, the process of forming Ukrainian communities, maintaining a network between migrants and Ukraine, as well as a vision of their future and prospects of the community. 


Objective 4: To promote cooperation between South-Africa and Ukraine


PARLIAMENT COOPERATION | Facilitate cooperation since 2018

Photo below (left to write): Zhan Beleniuk (Olympic athlete and member of the Ukrainian Parliament giving press-conference during his visit in South Africa in October 2022), Phumzile Nhlapo (Chief Operating Officer of Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation (DLTLF).

UAZA serves as an agent for first contact, information and an initiator of cooperation for parliamentarians from both Ukraine and South Africa. 

In October 2018 UAZA organised a meeting with the MPs of National Assembly of South Africa to inform about the situation in Ukraine and opportunities for inter-parliament cooperation, with Dzvinka Kachur (UAZA) and Eugene Czolij (Honorary President of the World Congress of Ukrainians).

In October 2022 UAZA facilitated the visit of Zhan Beleniuk, Olympic athlete and member of the Ukrainian Parliament, to Cape Town, South Africa.

Since the full scale russian war on Ukraine, UAZA is regularly meeting with South African MP’s of different political parties to inform about the situation in Ukraine and supported the visits of two Ukrainian civil society delegations to South Africa. 


ECONOMIC COOPERATION | Facilitate cooperation since 2018

Photo below (left to right): Olesya Matviyas (Representative of Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce in Cape Town), H.E. C.A. Basson (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Ukraine 2015-2018), H.E. Liubov Abravitova (The Ambassador of the Embassy of Ukraine to the RSA), Representative of the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce, Eugen Czolij (the Honorary President of the Ukrainian World Congress), Dzvinka Kachur (UAZA Honorary President). 

UAZA promotes information about opportunities for business cooperation, sharing information about Ukraine in South Africa and the other way around. 

In 2018 UAZA requested that Olesya Matviyas was appointed as a Representative of Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce in Cape Town. In 2021 UAZA supported the Ukrainian trade mission visit to South Africa. And UAZA Business Club was formed to promote Ukrainian-South African business networks and support the entering of Ukrainian manufacturers’ products to the South African market.

In 2023 Anastasia Korpeso was appointed as a Representative of Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce in Johannesburg and Pretoria.



Photo below (left to right): Alina Dashko (UAZA member), Dzvinka Kachur (UAZA Honorary President), Natalia Popovych (Ukrainian activist and co-founder of Sunseed Art), Olesya Drashkaba (Ukrainian artist, curator and co-founder of Sunseed Art), manager of the Trevor Huddleston CR Memorial Centre in Sophiatown at the exhibition “The Womanly Face of War” in Johannesburg 2022.

The Ukrainian Association of South Africa in partnership with the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation (DLTLF) have been hosting a series of Dialogues “Just Peace Talk”. Dialogues between African and Ukrainian civil society organisations aim to encourage organisations to be vocal in the fight for justice and peace globally by bringing together shared experiences, and by promoting conversations beyond the geo- political debate on  a common humanity with the people on the ground are:

Speakers: Graça Machel (women’s and children’s rights advocate), Victor Orchan (founder and executive director of the African Youth Initiative Network in Uganda), Myroslav Marynovych (founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group), Oleksandra Matviychuk (human rights defender, lawyer and civil society activist based in Kyiv).

Speakers: Annah Moyo-Kupeta, (South African human rights lawyer and Executive Director of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), Janet Jobson (CEO of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation), Nataliia Popovych (Ukrainian activist and co-founder of Sunseed Art), Olysya Drashkaba (Ukrainian artist, curator and co-founder of Sunseed Art). 

Speakers: Dr Mamphela Ramphele (South African activist, academic, business women and political thinker), Natalia Popovych (Ukrainian activist and co-founder of Sunseed Art), Olesya Drashkaba (Ukrainian artist, curator and co-founder of Sunseed Art).

Speakers: Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (Former UN USG and Executive Director, UN Women), Oleksandra Romantsova (Executive Director, Centre for Civil Liberties), Illya Ponomarev (Entrepreneur and Politician, former Russian MP), Janet Jobson (CEO Desmond&LeahTutuLegacy Foundation). 

Speakers: Tim Murithi (IJR), Phumzile Nhlapo (DLTLF), Dzvinka Kachur (UAZA).



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