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President Jacob Zuma urged South Africans on Tuesday to celebrate the country’s uniqueness by working towards social cohesion.
“South Africa is a very unique place. You’ll have to travel the world to begin to appreciate South Africa. At times we don’t recognise our own successes,” he said at the handover of a social cohesion summit report in Pretoria.
“We are proud of the achievements we have scored in burying apartheid and colonialism, as well as building a new society.”
The summit was held in Kliptown, Soweto, in July, with the aim of promoting social cohesion among South Africans.
“The summit was correctly not based on romantic notions of unity, while not glossing over problems,” Zuma said.
The report and its declaration would serve as a guide to help attain the ideals outlined in the Constitution.
Zuma said while South Africa had its successes there was still poverty, unemployment, and divisions around race, class, and gender.
Recommendations outlined in the report would be used to underpin government strategies. He committed the government to introducing the recommendations of the National Development Plan.
Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, who attended the occasion, said: “We are hoping that by 2014 we will go back to the summit. But it will be a different summit, because it will be about how far we’ve come.”
He said the initiative on social cohesion had 28 ambassadors who would be part of campaigns to take place in all nine provinces. One of these, Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, said its success would depend on how everyone worked together.
“I love this country. I don’t worry too much about what we say when we are angry,” she said. - Sapa