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Simon Atkinson

Deputy Head of Mission, Cape Town

Part of UK in South Africa

22nd October 2012 Cape Town, South Africa

View from a local staffer

Guestblog by Tatenda Goredema, Communications and Political Officer.

I am standing in this month for Simon who has graciously granted me the opportunity to make a one-time guest appearance.  I work at the Consulate as Communications and Political officer.

The High Commissioner, Nicola Brewer, Dr Cable and Minister Rob Davies at a Press Conference following their meeting

Cape Town is the seat of South Africa’s Parliament and no amount of verbose writing could aptly capture how glad I am that it is. There are few more beautiful cities in the world that offer one the opportunity to observe such as important democracy in action. In addition to being the seat of the national legislature, the city also plays host to a wide and diverse mix of civil society organisations. Needless to say, this post is a very interesting place work, with a focus on policy and legislation in the political section.

October has already been quite a busy month with the Secretary of State for BIS, Dr Cable having paid a visit to South Africa earlier this month and met his SA counterpart in Cape Town.

The SA parliament has recently returned to start its last term for the calendar year and the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement will be delivered this week by the Finance Minister. Earlier this month the Consulate co-sponsored the match-day kit for the South African Homeless Street Soccer team going to the Homeless World Cup.

Deputy Consul General, Simon Atkinson hands over match kit to the SA Homeless World Cup Team

The tournament, in Mexico, featured 62 teams and ran from the 6th to 14th of October. Simon was on hand to hand over the new kit. You might also want to know that a new Honorary Consul was appointed this month in Durban to cover the KwaZulu Natal region.

The range of diverse activities undertaken at this post can sometimes leave one feeling quite dizzy, but there is no doubt that there are few places better than this to work.

About Simon Atkinson

Simon Atkinson was born and spent the first 9 years of his life in New Zealand, before his family moved to the less leafy suburbs of Wallington, South London. After…

Simon Atkinson was born and spent the first 9 years of his life in New Zealand, before his family moved to the less leafy suburbs of Wallington, South London. After university at Leeds and 4 years teaching English and working for NGOs in Europe and South America, Simon joined the UK Foreign Office. His first overseas posting was in India, where he was a political officer covering issues like counter-proliferation and the relationship between India and its neighbours. He was also the Commonwealth Games Attaché during Delhi’s 2010 Games.

Cape Town is his second and current posting. His role here is dual hatted – as Deputy Consul General, he supports the Consul General manage the office, and as the Head of the Political Team, he covers the whole gambit of South African policy (though being based in Cape Town means this is heavily focused on domestic policies and Parliament).

Simon is married to Gina, who also works for the Foreign Office. They enjoy being in South Africa, as both a fascinating country to cover politically and wonderful place to live, allowing them to pursue their passion for the outdoors and perfect their ability to ‘braai’ (not that they’re under any illusion about how often they’ll get to demonstrate this skill once they return to the UK)!