decisions to an ever increasing extent. You have to convey messages in the most responsible way.”
“The cons are that it can be difficult when certain events of political or economic significance happen in your home or host country that directly or indirectly affect your relations, and you are not in a position to explain convincingly. It is a two-way street. You need to know what is happening in your home country, as well as what is happening in your host country,” says Bafana.
To become an ambassador or diplomat, you need to have knowledge on a broad range of subjects, which is not only confined to international politics. You need to know about international law, economics, culture, climate and environmental issues. Bafana studied international relations, diplomacy, international economic relations, as well as international cultural relations. “Foreign policy is the extension of your domestic policy, influenced by your country’s Consti-tution,” he says.
“You must be able to think on your feet and know what’s going on with numerous things. You need to be fast-thinking, tactful, confident, up-to-date, have good communication skills, negotiation skills and interpersonal skills, and be aware of the business culture internationally,” states Bafana.
“I check my e-mails in the morning and deal with all types of communication that need my attention,” says Bafana. “I also need to read the papers and watch all the news to see if there is anything that is going on that affects South Africa. I must know what’s happening, in case I’m asked anything regarding it. I have to be in touch with embassies regularly.
My normal daily work involves corresponding with the diplomatic missions I’m responsible for. I also have a responsibility to inform my political principals of matters that might affect South Africa’s relations in the country of my responsibility.”
“To love your country, love the people and be passionate and proud, precisely because, if you want to be an ambassador, it’s about promoting your country and people.”
“The job accords me the opportunity of interacting with people that I would not meet under normal circumstances,” smiles Bafana.
The worst thing about the job is when the host country has lost your trust and confidence,” frowns Bafana.
Published By: Liezl Maclean