South African Deputy Chief of Mission visits Birmingham

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – As the week progresses, more and more dignitaries are confirming their arrival in Birmingham to help commemorate the city’s 50 Years Forward campaign.

On Tuesday, a special visitor from South Africa came to Birmingham.

Deputy Chief of Mission Johnny Moloto described his trip to Birmingham as the trip of a lifetime.

Moloto, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, was in town touring the city. One of his favorite places he visited was the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

He says Birmingham’s history and that of his homeland are parallel. South Africa wasn’t freed from apartheid until 1994.

“I was just looking at the part of the museum where you had segregated utilities,” Moloto said. “Fountains for blacks and fountains for whites, and my colleague said that he lived through this in his lifetime and actually that was the scene in South Africa.”

He says his trip to Birmingham has been one that has been a long time coming, it just happened to occur during Empowerment Week.

Although he won’t be able to stay through the scheduled events for Empowerment Week, Moloto says it was simply astounding to be so close to the footprints of history that he’s only read about in books.

“It’s an absolute wonderful occasion to be here,” Moloto said.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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