New US ambassador to SA pledges to promote 'Ubuntu diplomacy'

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Reuben E Brigety. (Photo via United States of America Department of State)
Reuben E Brigety. (Photo via United States of America Department of State)
  • Reuben E Brigety has been confirmed as the US ambassador to South Africa.
  • Zambia and Tanzania are also expected to get new ambassadors soon.
  • Analysts have urged the US to prioritise the appointments of ambassadors and special envoys in Africa.

The US Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy has resolved that President Joe Biden's nominee, Reuben E Brigety II, is the new ambassador to South Africa.

The vote was 55 for and 40 against the 48-year-old career diplomat's next port of call.

Announcing the news on his Twitter handle, Brigety said he was "honored to be confirmed by the US Senate".

In May, Brigety appeared before the subcommittee to present his credentials.

He said his role in South Africa would be to promote "Ubuntu diplomacy", a phenomenon academics refer to as an African philosophical worldview that increasingly gained prominence in South Africa since 1994.

He said: 

In practising Ubuntu diplomacy, I will ensure that official US engagement with the government and people of South Africa is firmly rooted in the principles of common cause and mutual recognition.

Since his nomination, he said he had been familiarising himself with South African history and literature.

What had stood out was his reading of the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu's memoirs, No Future Without Forgiveness - a book where Tutu narrates his childhood and coming of age during the apartheid era.

Brigety said it was an extraordinary work, produced by an extraordinary man.

Several African countries currently do not have US ambassadors, something political analysts say is  not good for America's diplomacy on the continent which is facing a challenge from Russia's soft power and Chinese machinations.

READ | US sanctions SA men, two others for allegedly supporting ISIS, securing funds

"The US must prioritise the appointments of ambassadors and special envoys in Africa. All such critical positions must be filled in earnest. It signals US commitment to those countries and the global challenges the US shares with them," said Mvemba Phezo Dizolele - director and Senior Fellow, Africa Program, Centre for Strategic International Studies - when he appeared before the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Africa and Europe Subcommittees last week.

In Zambia, the Biden administration is expected to send Michael C Gonzales, a career diplomat in the Senior Foreign Service, who is set to leave his position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs.

For Tanzania, it will probably be Michael Anthony Battle, whose last mission on the continent at the African Union in 2009.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
6% - 272 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
81% - 3448 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
12% - 517 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.