KwaZulu-Natal Premier urges Africans to unite

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has urged South Africa and the rest of the continent to unite as Africans.

"Even though we have different languages and cultures, we are still one people. Let us all unite as Africans," said Dr Mkhize at the Africa Day Concert.

He said in order for development to take place on the continent, people must come together as Africans and not discriminate against one another.

"People must put aside their differences. South Africans must learn to accept people from other African countries. It is up to all of us to make sure that we treat foreigners like they are our brothers and sisters," said Dr Mkhize.

Last year, violence against people from other countries broke out in many informal settlements, leading to many displaced foreign nationals. Numerous people decided to return to their home countries because they no longer felt safe in South Africa.

"What happened last year when foreign nationals were attacked must not happen again."

Hassani Faraji, a representative from Tanzania, who also attended the Africa Day celebrations, said there was much that still needed to be done in order to ensure there was no discrimination in Africa.

"We are all African and we must treat each other with respect" said Mr Faraji.

Singer, songwriter and best selling artist in his home country of Zimbabwe, Oliver Mtukudzi or "Tuku" mesmerized the crowds who had gathered for the Africa Day concert. Everbody sang along as he played his well-known "Neria".

Thandiswa Mazwai, former member of Bongo Maffin, also performed. She also sang traditional songs and did a Xhosa dance to the enjoyment of the audience. She also honoured Miriam Makeba by singing her song "Wela Wela".

The legendary Ray Phiri and Stimela also attended the event.

The concert forms part of the African Renaissance Festival which is taking place in different venues in Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Richards Bay from 25 to 30 May 2009.

This 11th annual festival will celebrate, debate and examine broader issues related to re-defining and rebuilding the African continent through accessing and developing its own rich social, economic and political resources.

The theme adopted for this year's African Renaissance is "Uniting the African World", and will focus on the global economic crisis and its impact on Africa's business, tourism and arts and culture sectors.

The weeklong festival sees delegates from around the globe including head of states, leaders in government and business, representatives from NGOs, civic structures, emerging entrepreneurs and local communities.