Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 23-09-2019
As the country prepares to celebrate Heritage Day, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation says South Africa never really had a ‘rainbow nation’.
While celebrating our various cultures and diversities as a nation, it may be time for self-reflection as on the face of it, we are more divided today than we were in 1994.
Heritage month supposed to honour the various cultures and diversities in our country, from the 11 official languages to cuisine, music and creative expressions of our historical inheritance.
However more needs to be done to build our nation to ensure social cohesion.
Head of Department for Sustained Dialogue at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation Felicity Harrison says although the country has made some progress to come together, it remains fragmented.
“I would argue that we never really had the rainbow nation. That since apartheid colonialism, those times we’ve been very divided and that it was a very conscious way in which the colonial and apartheid governments kept us divided.”
Harrison says intolerance and ignorance is among the major factors adding to the racial tension in the country.
“Some of the research shows that people are interacting less and less with others on different groups and this is leading us to create stereo types and to act on those stereotypes rather than actually getting to know people and understanding people and the difference we have.”
Harrison says Heritage day is an opportunity to bridge the divide starting in work places which are diverse and multicultural.
Listen to the interview with Felicity Harrison