EXECUTIVE MAYOR CLLR BONGANI BALOYI HOSTS THE INAUGURAL SOCIAL COHESION DIALOGUE TO MARK THE 4TH ANNIVERSARY OF MADIBA’S PASSING
Honouring the legacy of late President Nelson Mandela is about standing united as South Africans of all colour, and holding each other accountable to being the carriers of Madiba’s hope for unity and reconciliation.
It is therefore the responsibility of government, more so local, to create platforms where South Africans can come together and start conversations that will drive the country and our communities in the direction of the late statesman’s dream of a non-racial and unified South Africa.
On the eve of the 4th anniversary of Madiba’s passing, Midvaal Local Municipality Mayor Cllr Bongani Baloyi hosted a social cohesion dialogue at the Meyerton Townhall, to commemorate Mandela’s passing and celebrate the legacy he has left behind – that of collective activism, unity and honest leadership.
The main aim of the dialogue was to have the tough conversations we so often shy away from on the issue of racialism and reconciliation in South Africa, and forging ways to move forward together.
The dialogue hosted Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang, Author and Political Analyst Prince Mashele, Former Member of Parliament and Founder of the African Democratic Change party Dr Makhosi Khoza, and was facilitated by POWER FM anchor Onkgopotse JJ Tabane. The discussion was also broadcast live simultaneously on POWER FM, Theta FM, Lekoa FM and Sedibeng FM.
The Executive Mayor opened the dialogue by highlighting that the idea of a social cohesion dialogue was birthed after witnessing the serious plight that many in the community he serves, especially black youth, are often faced with due to the deteriorating state of affairs in the country.
“Having observed my own municipality, I saw the need to bridge the gap between the diverse communities, because not doing so would be an injustice to my people,” said the Executive Mayor.
The main resolutions to come out of the dialogue included calls for South Africans to deliberately seek the barriers keeping them from associating with people outside their “normal” and breaking down those walls; being proactive about national reconciliation and finding ways to advance Madiba’s legacy in their day-to-day interactions with others; speaking out against injustices and keeping democratically elected leaders accountable for their actions and the impact of their decisions on the everyday South African.
In reiterating the sentiments shared by the other panellists, Dr Khoza said “unity is a conscious act, it is not spontaneous. South Africa works when South Africa unites.” She explained that the greatest tool those opposed to reconciliation have right now are the blatant divisions sown in societies, and the refusal by ordinary South Africans to do something about it.
Safeguarding Madiba’s legacy is about refusing to be silent in the midst of injustices, consistently holding those in power to account and learning to embrace the diversity of South Africa and our communities.
The Executive Mayor would like to thank everyone who attended and participated in the dialogue and looks forward to hosting similar engagements in the coming year.
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