Let us all make it work, together!

2019-03-21 06:00

South Africans commemorate Human Rights Day today.

It marks the 59th year since the slaughter of men and women in Sharpeville, Langa and elsewhere during the apartheid years.

One may ask why this even matters . . . It matters, and will remain so, for successive generations.

But why is it of interest to me? More so, what does Human Rights Day mean to each one of us?

What does it mean to the ordinary men and women on the street who have to wake up early, walk to train stations or rush to the nearest bus stop to get to work? It takes real bravery to manoeuvre through the streets under the threat of possible attack by thugs, which are human rights violations on a personal level, at any time.

Given such stark life realities, does the ordinary person still have reason to commemorate days such as Human Rights Day? One can only wonder . . .

But for me this day is one of reflection; a time to look back at the strides this country has made, and where we find ourselves today as a nation.

I believe it is quite important for our nation that this generation not forget where the country and its people found itself just over two decades ago and where we are moving towards.

It is also essential that we root out all evil that rears its ugly head – be it in the form of politicians’ corrupt practices, children’s lack of respect, crime or racist elements that seem not to have been buried with the birth of democracy in 1994.

As a country, we would have been very far in terms of development had it not been for negatives derailing the entire nation. This, however, should be fought with every strength we have, before it becomes too late or a norm in our society.

Perhaps we would not even be complaining about load shedding plunging the country into darkness, leading to the suffering of our people. The onus lies with me and you to ensure we play our small part in ensuring the country prospers and be what we once envisaged it to be.

We cannot always complain while we sit back and not lift a finger to try and rectify that which is wrong. The generation of Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and many other struggle stalwarts played their part in ensuring our nation be once where the rights of all people are considered and respected.

Now it is time for us to set one goal and make the necessary effort in ensuring we do that in unison.

The 1995 Rugby World Cup victory, the 1996 African Cup of Nations triumph by Bafana Bafana and the successful 2010 Soccer World Cup, staged on African soil for the first time, gave a glimpse of what a nation can achieve when it works together.

Yes, as individuals we have our own issues, but we owe it to the next generation of leaders to leave our mark, as the generation before us had done. It is up to us to find that common goal and work towards it. It is possible!

May you all enjoy your Human Rights Day, in whichever way you see fit.

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