De Klerk: Tackle cultural alienation

2012-08-30 20:43
FW de Klerk (File, Beeld)

FW de Klerk (File, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The world needs to tackle cultural and religious alienation and devise ways for divergent communities to live together, former president FW de Klerk said on Thursday.

"The days of the single ethnic group nation state are gone," he told the Mouvement des Entreprises de France, the largest union of employers in France, in Paris.

"More than 130 countries have cultural minorities comprising more than 10% of their populations. Cultural diversity is being augmented by new waves of migrants seeking economic opportunities and freedom."

De Klerk said one of the central issues in the debate on where globalisation was taking the world was the preservation of cultural diversity.

"Everywhere people are on the move, and everywhere they are confronting once homogenous societies with new challenges."

Many people believed the identity, purpose and dignity they derived from their cultural heritage was being threatened by the global wave of English language mass culture, he said.

De Klerk said humans were complex social beings with many important concentric relationships.

"We are individuals. We belong to families. We pursue our economic interests. We belong to clubs and organisations," De Klerk said.

"Many of us have religious affiliations. We often belong to distinct cultural groups. We have gender and sexual orientation. We are citizens of countries and increasingly we belong to the international community."

He said South Africans were richer because of their cultural diversity.

"I am confident that we can show that diversity does not need to be a source of tension and conflict, but can help to enrich our lives by providing differing perspectives of the world in which we live."

De Klerk said the international community needed to do much more to define and protect the rights of cultural, ethnic and religious minorities.

"The presence of people from so many different cultures is one of the most enriching aspects of our new world."

He said the international community should accept the role education could play in the preservation of religious, cultural and linguistic diversity.

- SAPA
Read more on:    fw de klerk  |  sa  |  france
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