South African President Jacob Zuma has said although reconciliation, social cohesion and nation building have been prioritised since 1994, the country remains divided on various cultural, racial and class lines. “It, therefore, becomes important for all of us to work together even more by maximizing what we have in common for the good of all who live in our country,” Zuma on Friday said in a message to the nation, marking the National Reconciliation Day which falls on December 16, Xinhua news agency reported.
Zuma took the opportunity to urge South Africans to work together as a nation to promote reconciliation, peace and social cohesion. “We believe that each one of us has a role to play in healing the wounds of the past, reconciling our communities and working to build a new nation,” Zuma said.
South Africa has also celebrated the entire month of December as Reconciliation Month since the dawn of freedom in 1994 after the country’s first democratic elections.
On the National Reconciliation Day, South Africans should multiply their efforts to foster reconciliation and unity amongst themselves and to embrace the common ties that bind them together rather than focus on what divides them as a nation. “We encourage all our people on this day to work together to bridge the divide created by our ugly past and to move towards a united society,” Zuma said. He urged South Africans to reach out to their fellow countrymen during this Reconciliation Month.
“Take time to learn about fellow South Africans. We would like to encourage South Africans to speak to an acquaintance or colleague about their life experience as we believe that by talking, sharing and learning, we will break down barriers,” said Zuma.