Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Joyini says Farewell to her Home Away From Home

Published:Sunday | December 13, 2015 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence
Mathu Joyini,the High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa.

The rural countryside, the beautiful view, the people of Jamaica, all reminded South African High Commissioner to Jamaica Mathu Joyini, of her homeland-South Africa.

Now she has to say good bye to what has become her 'second home'.

After serving in Jamaica for five years, Joyini, tells Outlook that she remembered it like it was yesterday, and how overwhelmingly warm her greeting was. She admitted that she was surprised by how much Jamaica felt like home.

When she looked around she saw familiar faces as the people in Jamaica looked like her and those in her homeland. Now as she gets ready to depart the island on December 19, she notes, "I will miss my drive outs, getting up and going to Portland and St Thomas or Duhaney Park. These journeys and just seeing how beautiful the country is, is something I will definitely miss," she admitted. Especially Portland, which was her favourite.

The similarities between Jamaica and South Africa were, what gave her husband Thembile (who remained in South Africa), some solace.

"When he visited for the first time, it felt so much like home to him, and he also said he felt a lot more comfortable about me staying here," Joyini told Outlook.

She also told Outlook that one of her greatest little pleasure was to go to Devon House and have some of the famous ice cream. She has gone more frequently than she is willing to admit and the people in the store now know her very well.

Though she is sad to leave, she feels happy knowing that she had done most of what she had set out to do when she made first came here. She attributes her successes to the warmth of the Jamaican people.

Through her work, she has facilitated seven South African ministries visiting Jamaica, the most recent of which was a visit by the Minister for International Relations and Co-operation of South Africa, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

They have made strides in education, having South African Universities working in collaboration with local institutions.

She believes that Jamaica has huge potential in the services sector - namely information technology and finance. There is one sector of small disappointment and that is trade between the two countries. She understands that this is due to the distance between the two countries physically, but still they have made small strides with South African beverages being distributed through Wray and Nephew.

This was Joyini's first diplomatic posting and when she returns to South Africa, she will take up her new post as head of the Diplomatic Academy and Research Unit in South Africa.