Anti-Racism Week launches

Photo: Supplied BAND TOGETHER: Ahmed Kathrada with students and fellow speakers at Crawford College, where he addressed the assembly ahead of Anti-Racism Week.

Anti-Racism Week falls from 14 to 21 March and South Africans are encouraged to look past skin colour, embrace each other and unite as a Rainbow Nation.

Anti-Racism Week is the first of its kind in South Africa and coincides with the commemoration of the Sharpeville massacre and the celebration of Human Rights Day on 21 March.

South Africans are encouraged to spend this week speaking out against racist acts and hate speech, as well as taking a stand to stopping racism altogether.

The campaign is being launched by the Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA), which comprises about 80 organisations and is driven by the Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela Foundations. Even the Democratic Alliance and Congress of South Africa Trade Unions have pledged their support for the movement.

In a statement sent out by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Kathrada himself said he was recently invited to speak at a Gauteng school ahead of the launch of Anti-Racism Week.

“As I walked on stage, I could not help but marvel at what I saw: a gathering of young people of all races attending the same school, sitting next to each other on the same floor, attentively listening to talks about racism, discrimination and human rights,” Kathrada said.

“For me, this was a snapshot of what South African society is capable of practically achieving through the bridging of racial divides.”

He continued, “My wish is that every South African supports Anti-Racism Week and gets involved in, or hosts, activities aimed at addressing the issue of race. I would want to see this campaign empowering individuals, organisations and communities to learn and talk about, and speak out and act against all forms of racism – be it personal, institutional, structural or cyber­ racism,” Kathrada added.

He concluded by stating that racism squanders human potential and that combating it is not the job of one organisation or the government alone.

“It is not only about securing one’s own rights, but about entrenching the collective dignity of our people.”

While many people have jumped on board with the campaign, a few have taken to social media to voice their doubts about it and many have raised the point that every week should be anti-racism week.


Victoria Taylor

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