Government plans nation-building, anti-racism convention

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File: A broad national nation-building, social cohesion, and anti-racism convention is being planned for February 1 in Johannesburg. Photo: Gallo / Thuli Dlamini

PRETORIA - A broad national nation-building, social cohesion, and anti-racism convention is being planned for February 1 in Johannesburg, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Saturday.

Mthethwa met “social cohesion advocates” this week to discuss ways in which the country could strengthen nation-building and social cohesion and eradicate racism, he said in a statement.

“The social cohesion advocates are a group of eminent South Africans who play a prominent role in nation-building and social cohesion.

“This discussion served to chart a way forward for the development of sectoral and national plans to build social cohesion, combat racism, and eradicate discrimination in South Africa,” Mthethwa said.

In promoting a national discourse against racism, South Africans should take a stand against racism, he said.

Social cohesion advocate Judge Yvonne Mokgoro said to achieve a successful national plan on social cohesion and nation building, the advocates programme should specifically look at mobilising society in its entirety.

Both the victims of exclusion and the victims of their own privileges should not be left behind. Strategies by national, provincial, and local government should include social cohesion plans to fight racism.

Plans by government and the various sectors should take a multi-pronged approach to inform policy formulation and implementation of the programmes. The socio-economic empowerment agenda should remain a priority to ensure that those excluded in the past now benefited.

“South Africa is a multi-cultural society that has a racial legacy, so there is a need to have a multi-cultural and a multi-racial programme across society in schools, churches, workplaces, and social gatherings to suppress racism.

"The notion of a country united in its diversity should be evident through the promotion and preservation of all indigenous cultures and knowledge to encourage tolerance and therefore promote [the] unity in diversity ideal,” Mokgoro said.

This week’s meeting laid the foundations for a broader nation-building, social cohesion, and anti-racism convention with a wide range of stakeholders envisaged to take place on February 1 in Johannesburg, the statement said.

African News Agency

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