On the human side, Reconciliation Day is a time to look at how we treat one another
The past weekend saw Reconciliation Day, one of the public holidays inserted into the South African calendar in 1994.
It has an interesting history of being the day previously celebrated by descendants of the Voortrekkers as the Day of the Vow or Covenant – a religious holiday commemorating the Voortrekkers’ promise to honour God for their victory against King Dingane’s Zulu warriors at the Battle of Blood River 180 years ago. But December 16 also marks the day in 1961 that the ANC agreed to embark on its armed struggle against the apartheid regime and, in 1995, its new status as Reconciliation Day was marked by the start of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The big question 24 years into democracy is if South Africans have faced the truth or been reconciled in a meaningful way from the tyranny of our past oppression?
President Cyril Ramaphosa used the occasion to laud Madiba and Ma Sisulu for their role in reconciliation, and said much still needed to be done in a country where the majority continue to suffer the injustices of the past.
Among what needs to be done is improved education, the eradication of poverty, land restitution and redistribution, the building of houses, and economic transformation.
On the human side, Reconciliation Day is a time to look at how we treat one another.
Also, what contribution we can make to advance transformation of our society into one in which our diversity is our strength, and not what tears us apart.
On our Coat of Arms is the motto “Unity in Diversity” – let reconciliation and nation building be our motto too.
As we head into 2019, let us make a pact with one another to be united in our desire to create a society in which equality and dignity, pride and respect become the hallmarks of our interactions.