DURBAN - Deputy President David Mabuza has on Monday, encouraged South Africans to embrace diversity instead of retreating into “narrow nationalist, racial and ethnic enclaves”.
Speaking at the State’s official Heritage Day commemoration ceremony in Kokstad, southern KwaZulu-Natal, near the Eastern Cape border, Mabuza said the country was “meeting at a time in our history when the divisions of our past, when our heightened sense of retreating to the past threatens national unity”.
Mabuza had earlier unveiled a statue of the historic Griqua leader Adam Kok III and renamed a municipal hall, which is now called the Adam Kok Municipal Building.
“Even though there is no need for divisions, for if we hold our hands together in addressing the imbalances of the past, we are guaranteeing future generations a prosperous South Africa worthy of inheritance,” said Mabuza.
He was making reference to the land debate and the possibility of a Constitutional amendment that will allow the state to expropriate land without compensation.
“It is understandable that human beings are prone, in times of national strife, in times of bitter socio-economic hardship, in times of hard debates about land reform, to retreat easily into narrow nationalist, racial and ethnic enclaves.
“However, I stand in front of you on this day to state with conviction that this path we have chosen is the correct one. It is the path that will unite our nation and one that will help us to forge a common nationhood,” said Mabuza.
READ: SA marks Heritage Day
He said it was known that “divisions fester in hopelessness” and when there was no unity “we seek safety amongst the like-minded, instead of pursuing unity even with those with whom we differ”.
“Ours is a land of abundance. It can provide for everyone. There is enough to go around, enough to share, enough to end poverty, deprivation and all forms of want. We have enough to create wealth, prosperity, opportunity and development for all.”
He said citizens must stand united and remember each other’s histories.
“We must remember and believe in the brave battles fought by our legendary Kings and Queens, King Shaka, Queen Mantatise, King Sekhukhune and many others,” he said.
“We remember too, the blood shed between the British and the Afrikaner on these very shores. We must remember that they too counted the descendants of the Dutch, the French, the British-settlers, the fortune hunters, the gold-diggers and the cane cutters who came here either to seek wealth out of the richness of our land or as indentured labourers. They are a part of us as we are part of them. We relate to their history as they should relate to the history of all the dispossessed.”