Pres­i­dent says abuse of women not our her­itage

Daily Dispatch - - News - KGAUGELO MASWENENG

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa on Thurs­day cel­e­brated Her­itage Day with a stern mes­sage against gen­der-based vi­o­lence and racism.

Ramaphosa said it was im­por­tant for the coun­try to ac­tively pre­serve its her­itage, start­ing with re­spect­ing women and chil­dren.

“The men, women and chil­dren of to­mor­row must be proud to have in­her­ited a democ­racy that af­firms the worth and dig­nity of all our cit­i­zens.

“So long as this coun­try’s women and chil­dren live in fear from vi­o­lence, we can­not re­gard our­selves as to­tally free.

“So long as women are be­ing ha­rassed, abused, beaten, raped and mur­dered, we can­not say we are a civilised so­ci­ety. Abus­ing women is not our tra­di­tion, nor is it our cus­tom.

“It is not, and will never be, our her­itage,” said the pres­i­dent.

Speak­ing un­der the theme “Cel­e­brat­ing SA’s Liv­ing Hu­man Trea­sures”, the pres­i­dent vir­tu­ally ded­i­cated his ad­dress to three great women:

● Dr Es­ther Mahlangu, a glob­ally ac­claimed con­tem­po­rary Nde­bele de­sign painter;

● In­dige­nous mu­si­cian, Mama Ma­dosini La­tozi Mpahleni; and

● Mama Ouma Ka­t­rina Let­sau, a cham­pion of the cul­ture of the San peo­ple, and one of the two last re­main­ing speak­ers of the N|uu lan­guage.

He em­pha­sised the role that women play in build­ing and shap­ing so­ci­eties.

“They have ruled king­doms. They have been highly re­spected and val­ued.

“We must put an end to this ter­ri­ble shame that is taint­ing the im­age of our coun­try.

“When you op­press a woman, you op­press a na­tion. When you beat a woman, you beat a na­tion.

“We must do away with prac­tices that dis­crim­i­nate against women. With the same de­ter­mi­na­tion, we must stand firm against at­tempts to dis­re­spect our coun­try’s women through crude forms of rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the me­dia, in ad­ver­tis­ing and in pop­u­lar cul­ture,” Ramaphosa added.

The pres­i­dent spoke against the re­cent con­tro­ver­sial Clicks hair ad­ver­tise­ment.

“[It] shows that we still have a long way to go. The apartheid gov­ern­ment den­i­grated our cul­tures and tried to make us ashamed of our cul­tures, our tra­di­tions, our lan­guages and our very ap­pear­ances.

“It is dis­heart­en­ing to see that in demo­cratic SA, there are still crude stereo­types of black women be­ing put on public dis­play.

“The so­cial co­he­sion we seek in this coun­try means we must be mind­ful of the legacy of our past, whether we are busi­nesses sell­ing prod­ucts, whether we are pro­duc­ers of con­tent for tele­vi­sion, or oth­er­wise,” Ramaphosa said.

He said build­ing a united na­tion means peo­ple must be aware of and check for racism and prej­u­dice con­tin­u­ously.

“We come from a his­tory of prej­u­dice and ex­clu­sion, and since democ­racy we have worked to trans­form the her­itage land­scape of our coun­try. Mon­u­ments glo­ri­fy­ing our di­vi­sive past should be repo­si­tioned and re­lo­cated.

“This has gen­er­ated con­tro­versy; with some say­ing we are try­ing to erase our his­tory. Build­ing a truly non-racial so­ci­ety means be­ing sen­si­tive to the lived ex­pe­ri­ences of all this coun­try’s peo­ple. The strug­gle against apartheid was first and fore­most aimed at en­sur­ing that all our peo­ple should re­claim their dig­nity, black and white,” he said.

As part of Her­itage month, the gov­ern­ment has launched three books that ac­knowl­edge the ef­forts of the three great women to whom Ramaphosa ded­i­cated his speech.

“Through­out this month we will be pro­mot­ing greater aware­ness of their work, es­pe­cially among young peo­ple. We will also pro­mote the work of the many oth­ers who are do­ing so much to con­serve our di­verse cus­toms and cul­tures,” Ramaphosa said.

In his ad­dress, the pres­i­dent also paid trib­ute to many that have died. —

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.