Africa Day carries message of unity

2015-06-10 06:01
SOME of the delegates who attended the sporting event proudly demonstrated their opinions agains xenophobia.
  Photo: 
Supplied

SOME of the delegates who attended the sporting event proudly demonstrated their opinions agains xenophobia. Photo: Supplied

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“WE cannot claim to be truly free when insidious and blatant racism still exist in our society. We cannot be truly free when racism still rears its head in our schools when our learners are physically and emotionally abused by fellow learners of different races X such as in the Jan Kempdorp incident X and we cannot claim to be truly free from racism when we are attacking foreign nationals in our communities as we have observed in some communities in recent weeks.”

These remarks were made by the MEC of Sport, Arts and Culture, Lebogang Motlaping, during the Africa Day celebration at the AR Abass Stadium.

As part of the provincial Africa Day celebrations, the department hosted a sports day where different countries participated in soccer, cricket and netball together.

The MEC emphasised that South Africans should refuse to be part of the unnecessary attacks on innocent people merely because they happen to be foreigners.

He also elaborated on the vision of the motto stated in the Freedom Charter that “there shall be peace and friendship”, stating that South Africans should strive for this.

“It is also something which must be inculcated into all foreigners who live and work in South Africa.

“It further states that ‘South Africa shall be a fully independent state which respects the rights and sovereignty of all nations. South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace and settlement of all international disputes by negotiations – not war’.”

According to the MEC, it is unfortunate that South Africa finds itself with the challenges of prejudice and stereotypes that have exploded into violent attacks against foreign nationals in the beginning of the third decade of democracy.

“We are thankful for the support that was provided by the continent and the world.”

Emphasising how the programme is an expression of cultural diversity and unity, Motlhaping encouraged people to use the opportunity to become a voice of hope for a better continent.

“Sport, arts, culture and heritage are great beacons of light and hope that can help humankind transcend all the barriers. It can be used to overcome inequality, prejudice and stereotypes.

“Therefore, today’s celebration of Africa Day should be a new beginning that will elevate sport, arts, culture and heritage amongst us and contribute to the continued promotion of social cohesion and nation building.”

He added that celebrating Africa Month had always represented a celebration of African unity.

“We must be reminded of what the founding fathers of the Organisation for African Unity, and later the African Union, had envisaged when it formed these bodies to promote the unity and solidarity of the African States, eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa and accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent.

“We must all work together to pursue these objectives and build a better Africa. One can therefore say without any fear of contradiction that Africa Day derives its value from the message of unity it carries,” added the MEC

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