South Africa unite

Saturday, December 16, 2017

President Jacob Zuma has encouraged South Africans to work together to bridge the divide created by the country’s past and to move towards a united society in commemoration of the Day of Reconciliation.

“South Africans from all walks of life have the responsibility to respect and acknowledge the past, celebrate the present and build the future together,” President Zuma said in his message for Reconciliation Day.

Every year on 16 December, South Africa celebrates National Reconciliation Day as a way to promote reconciliation, peace and social cohesion.

The theme for this year's Reconciliation Day is ‘The Year of OR Tambo: Reconciliation through Radical Socio-Economic Transformation’.

“Although we have since 1994 prioritised reconciliation, social cohesion and nation building, South African society remains divided on various cultural, racial and class lines.

“It therefore becomes important for all of us to work together even more by maximising what we have in common for the good of all who live in our country,” President Zuma said.

He said all South Africans have a role to play in healing the wounds of the past, reconciling communities and working to build a new nation.

“While we remember the sacrifices made by millions of South Africans who ensured that our country could be free, we also recommit ourselves as a nation to unity and social cohesion,” President Zuma said.

The President said South Africans should not let the past define them but instead they should build a future where everyone can prosper.

“We have the capacity to look beyond our differences towards the united society we all envisioned at the start of democracy,” he said.

Informal dialogue can mend fences

He called on South Africans to reach out to each other this month.

“Take time to learn about fellow South Africans. We would like to encourage South Africans to speak to an acquaintance or colleague about their life experience as we believe that by talking, sharing and learning, we will break down barriers,” President Zuma said.

He said the National Development Plan (NDP) describes a nation that is more conscious of their commonalities than their differences.

“(The NDP) undertakes to make it easier for South Africans to interact with each other across racial and class divides. By focusing on our shared experiences, we can build a nation that encourages dialogue, fosters social cohesion and celebrates its heritage.

“We must ensure that our daily experiences progressively cut across the divisions of race, gender, disability and class,” he said.

The NDP further calls on all in society to come together to craft and implement social compacts that will help propel South Africa onto a higher developmental trajectory. –

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