“The celebrations of the Chinese year of the sheep in the Chinese community in South Africa and across the world commence on 19 February this year,” the president said in a statement.
The year of the sheep was a symbol of peace, harmonious coexistence and tranquillity, and a period of prosperity.
“In so very many ways this symbol is important to all South Africans as we contemplate the year ahead and look forward to the promise of harmony, healing and compromise,” Zuma said.
These were all attributes of truly great nations.
“This Chinese New Year heralds yet another important attribute — a time to nurture, heal and grow,” the president said.
“The attribute of nurturing embodied in the year of the sheep further calls on all of us to take time to nurture, to tend and care for our young democracy and, of course, for each other.”
In 2014, the year of South Africa in China was celebrated, and 2015 would be the year of China in South Africa.
“The relations between South Africa and China are indeed a cause to celebrate,” Zuma said.
“We are confident that the year of prosperity contemplated in the year of the sheep will outstrip our most optimistic expectations.”
The enhanced economy, arising from the relations between South Africa and China, was also a cause for optimism.
“I would like to extend our warmest greetings and wishes to our Chinese compatriots and the people of China in South Africa and beyond our shores,” Zuma said.