Essence of Africa Day commemorated in walk against injustice
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Cape Town – To commemorate the true essence of Africa Day tomorrow, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development held a walk today to promote African unity and put an end to racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.
Among those who participated were members of civil society as well as representatives from various sectors of society.
The department’s Tshilidzi Ramathikhithi said as this year marked the 25th anniversary of the Constitution, which upholds the ideals of human rights, non-racism, non-sexism, tolerance, and the supremacy of the rule of law, it was the perfect time to focus on the historical background of the Constitution.
Director of legal services in the Department of Justice Western Cape Ashika Singh said, “The department seeks to reaffirm the Constitution as the cornerstone of the country’s democracy, develop transformation to promote Constitutional rights and revive the commitments of the department with respect to the National Action Plan which aims to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related Intolerance.
“The plan calls for commitment by all South Africans to values and behaviour that will break with our hurtful and damaging past and that will keep our moral compass trained on our path of renewal and growth,” said Singh.
She emphasised using this time to reflect on the past and on the type of society we want to build our country on.
“South Africa’s peaceful and negotiated transition from apartheid to democracy was an inspiration to the world. It brought black and white South Africans together after centuries of conflict to establish a new, united nation based on principles of human dignity, freedom and equality,” said Singh.
“Yet we know that more than two decades after the advent of democracy, racism and racial discrimination continue to be felt in our society alongside other forms of discrimination and prejudice – like sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, hate crimes and hate speech.”
“The right to equality and to be protected from discrimination features prominently in our Constitution. South Africa has also enacted various pieces of legislation to rule out discrimination and ensure equality across a variety of areas.”
“The promotion of anti-racist and anti-discrimination education as well as human rights awareness is a shared responsibility between government departments and the Chapter Nine institutions,” said Singh.
Singh believes that to achieve change in our country, everyone should actively participate in maintaining peace.
“We cannot do it alone – we also need our communities, our religious institutions, the media, sporting bodies and educational institutions to help us,” said Singh.