Local newsNews

Anti-Racism Week – recommitting to non-racialism

JOBURG - Former Robben Island prisoner, Ahmed Kathrada shared his reflections on why South Africans should support Anti-Racism Week.

A few days ago, he was invited to speak at a school ahead of Anti-Racism Week. “As I walked on stage, I could not help but marvel at what I saw – a gathering of young people of all races, attending the same school, sitting next to each other on the same floor, attentively listening to talks about racism, discrimination and human rights,” said Kathrada.

He added that, for him, this was a snapshot of what South African society was capable of achieving through the bridging of racial divides. He remarked that these young people could teach their parents a thing or two about non-racialism.

The visit to the school formed part of activities for national Anti-Racism Week, which officially runs from14 to 21 March. The campaign is being launched by the Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA), which comprises some 80 organisations and is driven by the Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela foundations.

Anti-Racism Week is something new for South Africa and comes at a time of heightened racial tension in the country. It calls on all sectors of society – sport, arts and culture, business, schools and universities, government, civil society, professionals, faith-based institutes and media – to unite to challenge this scourge.

Very much like the United Democratic Front of the 80s, ARNSA aims to mobilise the broadest section of society to address a common cause. Back then, it was about crippling the apartheid state. Now, it is about tackling the racism that hasn’t really disappeared after 1994.

Kathrada explained that combating racism was not the job of one organisation, a few people or government alone. “It is incumbent upon all individuals and institutions,” he said. “It is not only about securing one’s own rights but about entrenching the collective dignity of our people. Racism squanders human potential. For us to prosper, we all have to deal with this problem, now.

“I believe that the formation of ARNSA and the Anti-Racism Week initiative is a step in the right direction. It may not be international as yet. However, it has the hallmarks of a campaign that can be rooted locally, but can also take on global significance.

“For me, this initiative is a vehicle that drives us ever closer to the horizon of a truly non-racial future – a future where all children, of all races, have the same access to opportunities, and where the colour of their skin is not a defining or dividing factor in their lives.”

Details: www.arnsa.org.za


Related Articles

Back to top button