South Africa: say ‘No’ to racism

20 March 2008

“As we reflect on what Human Rights Day means to this country, all South Africans must say ‘No’ to racism in whatever form,” South African filmmaker Anant Singh said this week.

Singh, who is also a board member of the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC), said that a number of events over the past few weeks had “focused the attention of South Africans on the fact that racism did not disappear with liberation.”

Earlier this year, Singh presented a human rights video depicting human rights abuses worldwide at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The video, he said in a statement released by the IMC this week, “shows that human rights abuses are not just a South African phenomenon.

“However, the recent events at the University of the Free State, the controversy around the Forum of Black Journalists, and the shootings at Skielik underline the need for all of us to once again commit ourselves to non-racism,” Singh said.

“Our Constitution expects us to build a society based on equality, non-racialism and non-sexism. We have certainly laid a firm foundation – however, these last weeks have shown that we dare not relax.”

‘Change begins with you

Supporting Singh’s call, IMC chief executive Yvonne Johnston said there were threats to social cohesion in the country.

“In the 14 years of democracy, many gains have been made, and a firm foundation has been laid,” Johnton said in the statement. “Let us protect it. Let us continue building a South Africa that we can all be proud of. Let us embrace human rights once again.

“Consider your individual role – change begins with you,” Johnston said.

“The racist incidents of our recent past are an indication of what I’m saying. We must indeed say no to racism, to violence against women and children, to crime and corruption.

“We have come a long way, and remarkable progress has been made. We as South Africans must reach out across all divides to build national reconciliation, shared pride and a new patriotism based on respect for human rights.

“We have done it before – let us do it again.”

SAinfo reporter

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