Picture: Chris Collingridge
JOHANNESBURG - The Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA) will be kicking off Anti-Racism Week 2019 with programmes which will be taking place nationally from 14 March onwards, the organisation said on Thursday.

The programmes, according to the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, includes workshops, discussions, protest action, lectures, sports matches and assemblies against racism taking place in Gauteng, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces.

"Anti-Racism Week this year will see the official launch of the Zimele Racism Reporting App (Zirra). The app was piloted last year, but has since been improved and now has the support of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). The SAHRC has agreed to provide the necessary assistance to victims of racism who register their complaints via Zirra," the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said.

Arnsa co-ordinator Busisiwe Nkosi said that over and above using technology to tackle racism, this year's Anti-Racism Week continues to place focus on schools.

"Several assemblies against racism have already been held with further Arnsa school visits to take place during the week itself, together with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. Our key message to schools is to challenge racism in all its forms – whether it exists in old policies that do not factor in diverse student demographics, or in day-to-day personal racism within classrooms or on the playground. We want pupils to educate, mobilise and act against racism," said Nkosi. 

She added that anti-racism within the sports sector would also be a key feature of the week, with Cricket South Africa dedicating matches, including several One Day Internationals, to promoting this year's theme which is #UnitedAgainstRacism.

"There will also be a pool tournament and a local cricket match dedicated to supporting the campaign," said Nkosi.

The week will also see a series of dialogues being held in various parts of the country.

"These discussions will focus on issues related to race, identity and transformation – ranging from community-driven dialogues, to discussions about the rise of right wing racism globally; being in inter-racial relationships; reflecting on human rights issues; and reviewing how the faith-based sector can challenge racism. 

"There will also be a focus on South Africa’s racialised past, with young people being taken on a visit to the Sharpeville massacre site, as well as a book launch on the life of anti-apartheid activist Paul Joseph," Nkosi said

"The call still goes out to all sectors of society to mark Anti-Racism Week and ensure that its message to #UniteAgainstRacism resonates loudly and clearly with the public, so that we can collectively challenge this scourge, which remains a blight on our democracy.

"We have seen how racism has divided us in the past, and how it continues to define so many aspects of our day to day lives. We’ve seen the manner in which we deal with racial tensions in schools and communities and how the processes that follow sometimes tend to reinforce division, rather than build common ground and solutions. 

"We’ve also seen how globally, right wing racists are increasingly developing a more connected and cohesive front. All of this should prompt us to realise that uniting against racism must remain a priority not only in South Africa, but on the world agenda as well. We hope that Anti-Racism Week 2019 plays a role in establishing platforms in various sectors through which we can start confronting racism."

Anti- Racism Week is from 14 - 21 March.

African News Agency (ANA)