Message by President Jacob Zuma on Reconciliation Day
16 Dec 2012
Fellow South Africans,
It gives me great pleasure today to address the nation on this significant day in our national calendar; the National Day of Reconciliation. Our theme for the Day of Reconciliation this year is entitled, “Towards Building a Cohesive Nation at Peace with Itself and its Neighbours”.
Our society has witnessed and endured centuries and decades of conflict, oppression, deprivation and destitution. This was as a result of colonial and apartheid rule that sought to denigrate and dehumanise people because of the colour of their skin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, creed, ethnic origin and political affiliation.
Because of the deep divisions in the past, 16 December before 1994 meant different things to different people, depending on their racial or ethnic background or even their ideological orientation.
For some it was the symbol of triumph, for others, the symbol of defeat or alternatively a potent symbol of resistance.
Phenomenal strides have been made by this nation in the past 18 years in promoting national unity and reconciliation. We have this year dedicated time to build monuments and memorials and to rename significant geographical features to pay tribute to men and women who paid the supreme sacrifice for our freedom.
But we know that we should do more than that to achieve true reconciliation. We need to bridge the inequalities, intensify the fight against poverty, combat crime and drug abuse; champion the interest of women, children and people with disability and combat all forms of racist, tribal and xenophobic tendencies.
We must use our national days to embark upon programmes that demonstrate that we are indeed united in our diversity. We should also embrace the values of Ubuntu which include human solidarity, generosity, hospitability, friendliness, caring, compassion, harmony, forgiveness and neighbourliness. This is a responsibility of all South Africans, not just government.
Happy National Reconciliation Day to you all.
I thank you!
Cell: 079 879 3203
Issued by: The Presidency
16 Dec 2012
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