Embassy of the Republic of Poland, Pretoria, South Africa


This year marks the 100th anniversary of women’s electoral rights in Poland.  Polish women gained the electoral rights as one of the first in Europe, a year before similar rights were obtained by American women. The decree signed by the Head of State, Józef Piłsudski, initiated changes that altered the life and fate of the entire Polish society.

As part of celebrating the Year of Women’s Rights 2018, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Pretoria organized a concert of Polish and international popular songs performed by well-known Polish artists – Michał Buczkowski and Mateusz Kowalski, as well as guest appearance Berthine van Schoor from South Africa.

Ambassador Andrzej Kanthak stressed in his speech the uniqueness and importance of 2018 in the history of Poland and the hearts of Poles. 2018 marks special anniversaries – the hundredth anniversary of Poland’s regained independence, as well as the 100th anniversary of regaining civil liberties and obtaining electoral rights by women in Poland. The dreams of Poles born and brought up under the partitions came true. The Polish nation could finally decide for itself and determine the future of coming generations.

A great concert for violin, classical guitar and cello, as well as the possibility to sing together famous Polish and international songs by all participants, will leave unforgettable impressions among the audience for a long time. Michał Buczkowski, a talented violinist, performed as a soloist in many European countries and also on Australian stages. He recorded many auditions for the radio and television in Australia, the Netherlands and Poland.  Cooperation with the legendary violinist, Wanda Wiłkomirska, was of particular importance to him.  Mateusz Kowalski, a young and talented Polish classical guitarist, a graduate of the Music University. F. Chopin in Warsaw, thanks to the outstanding ability to play the guitar, was qualified to the group of the best guitarists of the young generation already at the age of 17. Berthine van Schoor, a well-known and renown cellist and teacher in South Africa, performed together with Polish artists. She has been performing on many world stages as well as she is the founder of the cello academy.

During the event, the guests could also see the exhibition ” Women of Independence ” prepared by the Museum of Polish History on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, which presents the process of emancipation of the Polish nation in a very accessible way, the participation of women in the independence struggles, regaining independence in 1918, the growing role in social life during the interwar period, difficult challenges during World War II and the contribution of women to democratic change in Poland. Profiles of several dozen outstanding women have been presented on 15 boards. The Women of Independence played a great role in the history of creating the Polish nation and identity. They were active in various areas – politics, science, education, culture, economy and the military – they changed the fate of individuals, local communities and the entire Polish society.

Both the performance of renowned musicians and the presented exhibition met with great interest of the audience.


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