President Zuma officially began his state visit to the United Kingdom today, 3 March 2010, with a ceremonial welcome on the horse guards’ parade, where he was formally welcomed by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.
President Zuma inspected the Guard of Honour following the firing of a 41 royal gun salute in Green Park and a 62 royal gun salute at the Tower of
London. President and Mrs Zuma then joined the queen and the duke of Edinburgh for a state carriage procession along the mall to Buckingham Palace, where President and Mrs Zuma will be staying for the duration of the visit.
After a private lunch with the queen, President Zuma was conducted to the picture gallery to view items relating to South Africa in the royal collection.
President Zuma also received a courtesy call from Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, for a discussion on the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association. The international award is a self development programme available to all 14 to 25 year olds, designed to support young people to develop into responsible, active citizens who will positively contribute towards society.
President Zuma has accepted an invitation to be the Patron-in-Chief of the South African programme of the association, known as the President’s Award for Youth Empowerment. Former President Nelson Mandela became the Award’s founding Patron-in-Chief in 1994.
President Zuma later visited Westminster Abbey where he laid a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.
Later this afternoon, President Zuma will go to Muswell Hill in north London, where he will unveil a plaque at Oliver Tambo House, the former residence of the late ANC President and his family. He will meet with community leaders who have had a long association with South Africa and the struggle for democracy.
The Oliver Tambo House has recently been acquired by the South African government as a representation of the solidarity of the British people during the anti-apartheid struggle and a tribute to the life of Oliver Tambo.
President Zuma will then visit Alexander Park School, which has a partnership with the Ephes Mamkeli Secondary School in Wattville, Ekurhuleni. The partnership is focused in particular on fostering the development of teaching of maths and science.
From the school, President Zuma will walk to the Oliver Tambo Memorial which is situated in the nearby Albert Road Recreation Park.
President Zuma is due to return to Buckingham Palace later this afternoon, where he will hold meetings with Conservative Party leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg.
In the evening, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh will host President and Mrs Zuma at a State banquet at Buckingham Palace.
President Zuma will bestow on the queen the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo (Gold Class). This order is awarded to foreign heads of state and government and other foreign dignitaries for friendship shown to South Africa. It is an order of peace, cooperation and active expression of solidarity and support.
The queen will bestow on President Zuma the Order of the Bath. The Order of Bath is mainly awarded to officers of the armed services and members of the British civil service. Queen Elizabeth has established the custom of bestowing this honour on visiting heads of state.
President Zuma will start the second day of his state visit, on Thursday, 4 March 2010, with a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street.
Cell: 072 715 0024
Issued by: The Presidency
3 March 2010