Building our society is a task for all - Duarte

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IOL pic jan30 jessie duarte

Independent Newspapers

Jessie Duarte, the deputy secretary-general of the ANC, says the establishment of a non-racial society is everyone's responsibility. File photo: Antoine de Ras

Johannesburg - South Africans must change their language on issues of racism in order to create a non-racial society, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said on Tuesday.

She told a discussion session in Johannesburg that the ANC should reject the use of language which marginalises people.

“I'm sorry but I am not a minority. I am a South African black woman. And I am a South African citizen and very proud to be that,” Duarte told the discussion held by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

Duarte said the ANC was committed to a non-racial society, but creating this society was still a challenge.

“People like the idea of non-racialism, but find it hard to live it,” she said.

She was making her comments after the foundation presented its report titled: “The ANC: Still a home for all? Non-racialism and the African National Congress.”

The report was based on research conducted by the foundation on four branches of the ANC around non-racialism in the party. These branches were in Protea South, Eldorado Park, Lenasia and Sandton.

Duarte said the nation needed practical solutions to address racial divisions in society.

The new study by the foundation reinforced some of the findings of the previous survey conducted by the ANC in a sample of 410 branches across the country, she said.

The impact of apartheid spatial development still impacted on people's attitudes towards racial issues, Duarte said.

However, there were communities which were joined by class.

“In Sandton, Houghton people live together because they can afford to do so, whether they are black or white.

“They don't have to be so concerned that if they are allocated a house in an area which is predominantly an African community, they might be issues of how they exist,” said Duarte.

Language was an issue within the ruling party and the society.

“People feel that non-African South Africans make no effort to learn another South African language.”

Duarte said in the earlier study non-African ANC members said they still felt marginalised within the party.

She said building a non-racial society could not come from the ANC alone, but from all sectors of society.

Black empowerment was also a big racial issue in society.

“It is a correct policy to empower black South Africans who were disadvantaged for centuries. But it is entirely incorrect for a small group of people to be the recipients of that black empowerment.” - Sapa


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