Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs awards Commendation to Mr. Hans Schröder of Stark-Condé Wines
On Friday 28th October Mr. Hans Schröder of Stark-Condé Wines in Stellenbosch was presented with the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation by the Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Mr. Shigeyuki Hiroki.
Every year, the Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries. Mr. Hans Schröder is among this year’s foreign recipients. He received the Commendation in recognition of his contributions to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and South Africa. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the recipients of the Foreign Minister’s Commendations for 2016 in July 2016 and the presentation of the award took place at a celebratory event at Stark-Condé Wines on 28th October 2016.
Mr. Hans Schröder is owner of Stark-Condé Wines. Through his long-standing relationship with Japan, Mr. Schröder has cultivated public understanding of Japan through a variety of activities and social interactions between Japan and South Africa.
Mr. Schröder first travelled to Japan in 1959 as a member of the merchant marines. Captivated with the exotic country, he soon returned and enrolled at the ICU University in Japan where he studied international business and the Japanese language. At university he met Midori Maruyama, whom he later married in 1966.
They have three daughters. For the next 25 years, Mr. Schröder lived in Japan and worked for corporations seeking to establish operations in Japan. His comprehension of the language and appreciation of the local customs allowed him unique access to business during Japan’s early days of internationalisation.
As the end of apartheid became imminent in the 1980’s, Mr. Schröder made the decision to return to his home town of Stellenbosch, where he purchased Oude Nektar Farm in Jonkershoek Valley (home of Stark-Condé Wines). Together with his wife Midori, he continues to host visitors from Japan on a regular basis. They travel to Japan several times a year to promote South African wines.
Today, it is my great pleasure and honour, as the Ambassador of Japan to South Africa, to present Mr Hans Peter Schröder with the Certificate of Commendation, on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
The Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries of the world.
Mr Schröder is the only recipient of the Foreign Minister’s Commendation in South Africa for 2016 and it is most extraordinary that he is the first person ever to receive the Commendation in the Cape Town area.
Mr Hans Peter Schröder, the owner of Starke-Condè Winery in Stellenbosch is being acknowledged for his role in the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and the Republic of South Africa. Over the years, he has been fostering friendship through interactions and exchanges between the people of the two countries.
Mr Schröder is a South African national of German descent whose hometown is Stellenbosch and he has a long standing relationship with Japan. His relationship with Japan started when he went to study at the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. It was at the University where he met his wife Midori, and married while they were both university students. However, Hans and Midori were not able to come back to South Africa because at that time, South Africa was under Apartheid dispensation with infamous “Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act”, resulting in Mr and Mrs Schröder together with their 3 children living in Japan for the next 25 years. Whilst living in Japan, Hans and Midori strongly expressed their disagreement with and the inhumanness of Apartheid laws and policies. After the release of Mr. Nelson Mandela in 1990 and start of the change in the South African political climate, the Schröder family decided to move to South Africa and settled in Stellenbosch in 1991.
Over a period of some 10 years, Hans made an effort for wine production. After overcoming many difficulties through trial and error, he started to successfully produce excellent wine at this picturesque Jonkershoek valley of Stellenbosch. His award winning wines became famous in South Africa and abroad, and also became popular in Japan. During 2010, Hans and Midori Schröder together with their family were featured on a Japanese TV Programme,”100 Japanese who are changing the world”. With their outstanding hospitality and warm receptiveness, Hans and Midori became famous figures in Japan. The beauty and magnificence of South Africa was communicated and made known to thousands of people in Japan through their excellent wines. Over the years, Hans and Midori and their family members warmly welcomed many Japanese visitors to Starke-Condè.
The contributions of Hans and Midori is also invaluable to the local Japanese community in the Cape. They are of the founders of the Cape Town Japan Club established in 2007 and with their guidance, the Japan Club become the home, not only for the 200 Japanese residents living in and around Cape Town, but also for their South African spouses and families as well as friends of Japan. Thanks to Hans and Midori, today, Cape Town Japan Club is an active association of friendship and cultural exchanges.
Now I would like to officially thank, Mr Hans Peter Schröder for his. continued support and commitment in promoting mutual understanding and cultural exchange between South Africa and Japan.
Mr. Shigeyuki Hiroki | Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of South Africa