Durban - Durbanites came from far and wide to be apart of the Human Rights Day celebrations which included a variety of spiritual and fun activities for both adults and children, which were organised by the Art of Living Foundation in conjunction with the Ethekwini municipality.
The premise behind the programme was to get Durbanites more aware of their human rights with a focus on developing a powerful life through healthy choices.
The jam packed day included yoga, meditation, martial arts demonstrations and talks about improving the quality of everyday life.
Several speakers including, Durban Deputy Minister Logie Nadioo, addressed the massive turnout.
Naidoo's message reiterated government's aspiration for poverty alleviation. He urged South Africans to get engaged in the Donate a Handful of Grain initiative.
Each household is encouraged to donate a handful of grain which will eventually be distributed to the poor communities.
Latha Ramkisson, a trustee and instructor at the Art of Living Foundation, said: "We are pleased with the diverse crowd that we received thus far. We love the fact that people from all cultures and backgrounds are taking part in all the events, like yoga and drumming".
Ramkisson is happy that Naidoo has once again called for all South Africans to unite as the 2010 FIFA World Cup approaches.
"We are one nation and here we get a chance to once again show the world how brilliant South Africa can be," she said.
Durbanites who attended the Human Rights Day event shared with BuaNews what the day meant for them.
Noxolo Mngomezulu from Umlazi said she was delighted to be celebrating Human Rights Day. "This is a great day for us. The youth have really benefited since apartheid has ended. And today we get to celebrate that," Mngomezulu said.
Although disappointed she did not get to see President Jacob Zuma, she was still impressed with the Deputy Mayor's address.
"I agreed with everything he said. He made some important requests. He wanted South Africans to be able to identify with our country by knowing our national anthem and important facts," she said.
Mngomezulu said it is nothing but great to be a South African. "I am a mother and to have my children grow up in a country that is free from apartheid is a great feeling. To be able to sit here with other race groups is just phenomenal. We are all one," she said.
Durban central resident Taryn Payne said there is no place like South Africa.
"I grew up here and apart from the weather and great people, we have so much to be grateful for".
Payne said she was quite satisfied with government's human rights policy but felt there was room for improvement.
"We have amazing human rights policies that offer us much protection. But I feel that more can be done to enforce these policies and maybe that is something government should look into," Payne said.
Azania Khumalo agreed with Payne in terms of the implementation of policies.
"I think government has done a great job with policies but implementation is imperative. And this is not just government's responsibility. I feel that society, the police, private sector should all do their bit to ensure all South Africans experience human rights," Khumalo said.
The young Durban resident takes every opportunity she gets to celebrate her South African identity.
"Apart from the obvious things like our good weather and beauty, the people of South Africa are just so diverse. We have so much to look forward to and the World Cup will give us a chance to show the world just how diverse we can be," she said.
A proudly South African Avashnee Padayachee, who was at the event to demonstrate martial arts techniques, said: "People have freedom now and they have access to basic rights".
She also applauded the fact that women in South Africa are protected by the law.