Anti-racism Speech Delivered at NCOP
Debate on Anti-racism and racial prejudice: Advancing our collective efforts to building a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa
All protocol observed.
Chairperson, in a time when our nation requires much social inclusion, healing and redressing, I thank you for the opportunity to participate in this significant debate.
Dis hoog tyd dat ons konstruktief gesprekke voer oor maniere waarop ons ons kollektiewe pogings om ’n verenigde nie-rassistiese, nie-seksistiese en demokratiese Suid-Afrika te bou, kan bevorder. Nog iets wat al lankal moes gebeur het, is die implementering van die konstruktiewe dialoog wat oor die afgelope 22 jaar van ons demokrasie plaasgevind het.
Die Wes-Kaapse Regering het beduidende vordering gemaak in hul bydrae tot die maatskaplike deelname van almal om ’n verenigde demokratiese provinsie en Suid-Afrika as ’n geheel te bou. Alhoewel die politieke landskap na die eerste demokratiese verkiesing in 1994 verander het, was en is daar steeds baie problematiese gemeenskapskwessies en uitdagings in ons gemeenskappe.
Chair, in the Western Cape, we embed governance and integrated service delivery on the values of reconciliation, redress, diversity and delivery. It is a responsibility of all South Africans, especially those in leadership roles, to reconcile our painful past, redress its subsequent inequalities, celebrate our diversity and deliver on a socially inclusive society.
Chair, in my experience as Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, I have gained a better insight into the diversity of the Western Cape. While many are of the opinion that our diversity, that being: differing cultural backgrounds, beliefs, traditions, mother tongues, socio-economic status and even political affiliations, is what sets us apart and divides us as a collective nation. I am of the view that our beauty lies in our diversity. There is more that we have in common than that that sets us apart and the sooner we all realise this, the better. We need to get to a point where we understand and tolerate each other regardless of our differences. We need to get to a point where we celebrate our diversity and together work towards a socially inclusive nation and there is no such a time as this.
Through my department, I am reminded time and again that sport and cultural affairs encourage repentance, reconciliation, restoration, restitution and revival. The more I engage with the department and witness its outcomes on the ground, the more I am convinced that the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport is an essential one. I say this because we are a department that functions purely to make a positive change in the lives of Western Cape residents.
Whether it be sport of cultural affairs, our department offers and delivers services which afford our province the opportunities to escape the cycles of poverty that thrive in our communities. Our department makes a significant difference in bringing about positive change to our communities. We improve the self-esteem of our youth and identify in them talents they would otherwise not explore. We enable a love for reading, history, culture, heritage and arts which improves educational outcomes, not only for the youth but our province as whole. We open channels of communication so that all in our province is able to access our services irrespective of their mother tongues because we promote linguistic democracy by elevating the status of all 3 official languages. Chair, can any other provincial department honestly attest to this as well?
Chair, as painful as our history was, it has also taught us, time and again, that sport and celebrating our diversity play a pivotal role in building a united democratic South Africa. Nelson Mandela once said, “Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination”. All present here today can vouch for the words of our late great statesman. I call to your memories the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 2010 Soccer World Cup, performing arts festivals such as the KKNK, productions at the Baxter, ArtsCape and the Fugard. All these experiences brought and continue to bring people together from across various spectrums of society to engage with each other as South Africans, regardless of any socially constructed labels, but as citizens of a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa.
Chair, all the before-mentioned is prevalent in the Western Cape, a place Honourable Mmusi Maimane described as “where we harness the full potential of South African people. Because against all odds, ordinary people are doing extra-ordinary things”. I too, like Honourable Maimane and the rest of the DA, can only imagine what they could do if they had a national government that worked for them, instead of against them.
I call on all participating in this important debate to not only render lip service here today, but to take proactive steps, as the DA-led Western Cape Government has, to legitimately advance our collective efforts to build an united non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa for al.
I thank you.