Minister Marais welcomes Social Cohesion Advocates
On Tuesday, 13 April 2021the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport hosted a meeting to introduce the Social Cohesion Advocates (SCAs) that were appointed by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.
The aim of this meeting was to create a consultative platform for the Social Cohesion Advocates, who are tasked with popularizing and creating awareness on social cohesion. It also aimed to highlight and mainstream their role in creating a caring and inclusive society.
The nine members were welcomed by Minister Anroux Marais, who emphasised that we all have an important role to play in promoting social cohesion. She mentioned that many people are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that has been caused by many issues, including the Covid -19 pandemic, and it is everybody’s responsibility to ignite the spirit of hope and trust in our communities.
The National Chief Director of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture presented on the background of the Social Cohesion Advocates Programme, the structure of SCAs and their work streams. They all specialize in different disciplines like women’s empowerment and gender equality, children’s rights and positive parenting, disabilities and the rights of the elders, economic growth and inclusion and many more.
The Chairperson of Social Cohesion Advocates, Xoliswa Bam, stated that the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on issues like Gender-Based Violence, xenophobia and other discriminatory tendencies. She concluded by saying, “We are thankful for the engagement and hope it’s going to move mountains, we cannot afford to work in silos, we have to put our hands together”. The SCAs were given the opportunity to expand on what they are doing, and all highlighted the huge work that was vested on them and stressed the willingness to work together with both departments and other role-players in building social cohesion in our communities.
The nine advocates are: Edwin Cleophas, Nomfundo Mali, Willem Esterhuyse, Eleni Ratheb, Narcisse Kimbassa, Patric Solomons, Anna-Lise Bure-Shepherd, Kenneth Mutuma and Glenda Wildschut.
The programme has great potential to advance social cohesion and nation building with the necessary support and involvement of our communities.