Reconciliation Day: Honour this day by creating a culture of respect
Media Statement by Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport
The Western Cape Government wishes to commemorate the Day of Reconciliation as the country celebrates its 20 Years of Democracy.
This day is of great historical significance in South Africa as we aim to symbolically acknowledge our efforts of promoting national unity.
As we celebrate our two decades of democracy, the country must begin to introspect.
Democratic South Africa will now enter its third decade of democracy. While there is much to be proud of, much still needs to be done. Structural inequality is one of our biggest challenges as it manifests itself in many ways. Millions of South Africans remain unemployed and locked out of the formal economy, our crime statistics paint a grim picture and corruption severely hampers service delivery.
As South Africans grow impatient with the slow progress we are making, we have seen a recent spike in racial tension over the past couple of weeks. The Western Cape Government condemns - in the strongest terms - discrimination on the basis of race and violence emanating from racial attacks.
South Africa is no place for intolerant citizens who live in a vacuum absent of our country’s historical context.
It is the responsibility of all South Africans to take a strong stance against this behaviour and make a difference in every way they can with the people around them.
The Western Cape Government has recently launched the Respect Campaign over the 16 days of Activism period.
This campaign was conceptualised to teach the people of the Western Cape about how we can all begin to create a culture of respect.
We believe where there is mutual respect, violence against women and children will not be tolerated. Equally, where there is mutual respect, racism of any form will not be accepted. We will continue to drive this campaign in every corner of the province in an effort to achieve real social inclusion.
A year ago, we bid farewell to one of the world’s greatest icons, our former President Nelson Mandela. He was the epitome of the kind of reconciliation our country needs. At moments like this, we ought to reflect as a nation and chart a way forward.
As we celebrate this historical landmark in South Africa, let us be mindful that our freedom came at a great cost.
Our responsibility is to commit to ensuring that everyone lives in a country where they are equal and where their rights are respected.