Speech by Minister Faith Muthambi at the multi-stakeholder meeting to discuss the convention towards a front for nation-building, social cohesion and reconciliation

01 February 2016

1 February 2016

Minister of Arts and Culture
Fellow Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Directors-General from represented government departments
Academics, and representatives from our universities
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen

Good afternoon,

It is indeed a privilege to propose the Vote of Thanks at this important event. On behalf of the Ministry of Arts and Culture, I wish to thank all speakers and participants at this conference for engaging honestly on confronting racism and for sharing with us your input on how you will play an active part in South Africa’s nation building programme.

Our Constitution anchors our vision of a “South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, united in diversity”.  Indeed more must be done to bring this vision to life each day, with concrete interventions aimed at popularizing the Constitution and fostering these Constitutional values among all citizens.    Mpumelelo Mkhabela from SANEF, Professor Kondo, and many others speakers who graced the podium today emphasised the need to embrace the Constitution and apply both the rights as well as the responsibilities it requires of us into our daily lives. 

Programme Director, I must say overall that there is consensus among the speakers here today that we need to revisit the fundamentals of our shared nation building obligations for us to be able to finally remove the stain of racism in our country.

Minister and Program Director, sport is indeed an important component of social cohesion, where South Africans from all walks of life proudly wave the flag and celebrate our common heritage, but this cannot be shouldered only by the Proteas, Bafana Bafana and the Springboks.  This expression of Ubuntu must find its way into all our shared social spaces – at our places of work, in our schools and universities, our mosques, churches and temples. There is a pressing need for all of us here to call for more social participation in South Africa’s social cohesion programme. If we are not united on the path of social cohesion, we risk losing the fruits of our children’s shared destiny.

I was moved by the quality of contributions made by various stakeholders from faith based organisations, the Unions, our energetic Youth and Gender Formations, Business and Media. Program Director and Ministers, the quality of submissions made are an indication that this was not just a talk shop, but represents a solid foundation for the upcoming national conference on social cohesion.               

SANEF, I am in agreement that Mass media can play a major role of being an agent of change, and primary source of socialization.  I must also agree that nation building is a permanent ongoing endeavor and not a once-off event. Minister Mthethwa, I must commend you for placing this matter squarely on the national agenda.    

Program Director, we have a duty to strengthen and nourish our democracy by respecting the human dignity of each South African. We all agree to take a stand to reject, sexism, xenophobia, and racism.  Judging by the sentiments expressed here, South Africans remain deeply opposed to racism and will not tolerate any reversal of the gains made in the last 21 years made by this country towards achieving a non-racial rainbow nation. 

Once again, I thank all the contributors to this conference and call on you to continue to foster unity; to build a nation of people who are caring and dignified, with a great sense of humility and mutual respect for one another.  Together, we must promote an enduring sense of being truly proudly South Africans.

In conclusion, I would like to end with a quote by our former President Mr Nelson Mandela who said: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”.

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On that note I THANK YOU

Issued by: Ministry of Communications

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