Thousands expected to celebrate Human Rights Day in KZN

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Durban - Perfect weather conditions is smiling on Durban today, as thousands of South Africans are expected to converge at the Absa Stadium to commemorate the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, today known as Human Rights Day.

From the early hours of the morning, officials were busy making sure if everything was running according to the plan.

The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government is hosting the mass celebration to commemorate the gains of peace and democracy as well as the inculcation of a culture of human rights in the province.

Themed "KwaZulu-Natal advancing peace, democracy and human rights", the event will also mark the official launch of 11 district human rights forums in the province.

The core function of the human rights forums is to carry out human rights education and provide a platform where human rights violations can be reported.

On Saturday, one of the residents attending the event, Sazi Zuma from Mgababa told BuaNews that South Africa has come a far way and much has been done to ensure that everybody has rights which are being respected.

"This day means a lot to me because it reminds me of how far our parents and grandparents have come. We can now enjoy our rights, thanks to them who fought for our democracy," said Mr Zuma.

However, Thokozile Ngubeni said after 15 years of democracy in the country some people still don't understand the meaning of Human Rights Day. "Most of the people consider this day as public holiday for them to go out and drink. They don't know the meaning of this day."

"I think government needs to educate people about this day, especially at schools because most learners don't know what it means to them as a South African," said Ms Ngubeni.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Human Rights Day in South Africa represents a rallying cry around the world, in defence of people's right to protest against unfair laws, and to demand their human rights.

Since 2004, the provincial government has worked tirelessly towards advancing peace, democracy and human rights in the province.

In 2004 a dedicated component for children's rights and the rights of people with disabilities were established in the province. In 2006, the office on the rights of older persons was established.

"Over the past five years, the office on the status of women has strengthened the co-ordination of the provincial gender machinery, advancing the rights of women and gender equality," said the office of the premier.

Local artists are expected to entertain the crowds of people with their music and traditional dancing throughout the day.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sibusiso Ndebele will be delivering his note address later today.