His Excellency Mr. Kanat Tumysh, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the Republic of South Africa, together with some of his diplomatic staff and other stakeholders working on the National South African School Essay competition in commemoration of the 1150th Anniversary of Abu Nasr Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Tarhan Ibn Uzlag Al-Farabi At-Turki (850AD-950AD), the renowned Medieval philosopher and scientist of Turkic origin, who was born on Kazakh soil, visited, Johannesburg Yunus Emre Enstitüsü (Institute), or shortly YEE and the Turkish Cultural Centre-South Africa. This academic institution promotes Turkey and Turkish language, as well as Turkish and common Turkic history, culture and arts to people who want to have education in these fields.

YEE carries out studies for teaching Turkish in the cultural centres, established abroad, for the purposes of promoting culture and art activities, giving support to scientific researchers, as well as to improve the friendship between Turkey and other countries, and increase the cultural exchange.

Yunus Emre Institute and Turkish Cultural Centre in Johannesburg started teaching the Turkish Language to South Africans in 2017 with the intent of improving the friendship between Turkish people and South African people in the field of art and cultural activities.


Ambassador Tumysh and his delegation had an opportunity to engage with the Director of the institution Abdülaziz Yiğit, who briefed Kazakh diplomat on the activities of the YEE in Johannesburg.

Abdülaziz Yiğit said that the institute was inaugurated in October 2017 by H.E. Mr. İsmet Yılmaz, Minister of National Education of the Republic of Turkey. Today students of the YEE range from the age 7-70 years. Institute’s courses include Turkish language, calligraphy and Ebru art (paper marbling).

The institute also promotes educational opportunities for South Africans, who want to study in Turkey under a scholarship program. YEE launched the first Turkish library in sub-Saharan Africa, which benefits both South African and Turkish researchers.

YEE named after the influential poet Yunus Emre (1238AD-1320AD), who was a Turkish folk poet and Sufi mystic, who He wrote in Old Anatolian Turkish and greatly influenced Turkish culture. It is especially important to highlight that in the entire world Yunus Emre has always been recognized as a symbol of human values, human love, and social peace. Therefore, the Institute promotes Turkey’s culture and art to the world, and work for a more peaceful world, where one understands the other with the most competent, polite, and unique language of the civilization.

Yunus Emre’s name was chosen for the Institute, which acts with a people-oriented approach. Yet, this great person not only contributed to the development of Turkish with his poems, but also gave messages that aimed at people living in peace and within common values without any discrimination for religion, language and race, with his philosophy built on universal human values. An objective, set by YEE, is to maintain this basic philosophy in all its activities.

South Africans have shown overwhelming interest in Turkish language and culture, with many enrolling in related Turkish courses, this academic year.


His Excellency Ambassador Kanat Tumysh had a guided tour of the institution and shared the similarly values and teachings of Al-Farabi. He informed his interlocutors about the Kazakhstan’s and Kazakh Embassy’s recent cultural, educational and scientific initiatives, as well as the National School Essay competition in South Africa in commemoration of the 1150th Anniversary of Al-Farabi. Yet, this year Kazakhstan and the entire international community are commemorating the 1150th anniversary of birth of Abu Nasr Al-Farabi, great medieval philosopher and scholar of the East, who is credited by global academia as the Second Teacher of the World.

The 40th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) endorsed the worldwide celebration of Al-Farabi’s jubilee by its General Resolution 68 of 25 November 2019. Subsequently, the Executive Board of UNESCO included it in its Calendars of Events for 2020, and kindly requested all the states to support it and contribute to this end.

The Embassy of Kazakhstan to South Africa will therefore continue to engage with different institutions to share the understanding of values and wisdom of Al-Farabi, said Ambassador of Kazakhstan.