It is with a deep sense of humility and appreciation that I accepted the invitation from SAHRA to come here today to participate in this special ceremony in honour of our beloved mother, Mme Charlotte Maxeke. Today I am at a loss for words. It is, indeed, a memorable day but also for some of us it is a very emotional day and I would like to thank SAHRA as well as the Mannya and Maxeke families for affording us this privilege.
South Africa is honoured to have been invited to participate in the 10 th Venice Architectural Biennale. South Africa’s decision to take part in the Biennale is motivated by the desire to promote discussion and dialogue on the transformation of spaces as a means of altering and improving the quality of life o all the people of our country. In particular, we believe that this dialogue will bridge the social and cultural gap between the communities of our young democracy and shape our new national identity based on non-racialism and non-sexism, united in our diversity.
I would like to thank the University of Venda, the Traditional Leadership, the Provincial government and the Local Municipality (Vhembe?) for organising this event that involves both the indigenous communities and the academia in the collection and promotion of our living heritage.When our Department took the decision to forge partnerships with the Universities of Venda, Fort Hare and Zululand to pursue research in the area of Indigenous Music and Oral History, we did so because we began to realise, and indeed, appreciate the wealth of knowledge and skills which our people are endowed with, that remains largely untapped.
To the Honourable Chairperson of the Council of the Natal Museum, Prof. PND Nzimande, The Honourable Executive Mayor, Cllr Hlatshwayo, Members of the Natal Museum Council, the Director and staff of the Museum and all invited guests I want to especially greet you and thank you for this opportunity to give this address today.
It is, indeed, an honour and a great pleasure for me to be addressing you this morning on the eve of the national commemoration and celebration of the 50 th Anniversary of the Women’s Anti - Pass March to the Union Buildings here in Pretoria on 9 August 1956.50 years ago on 9 August 1956, 20 000 women came from all over the country to march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the extension of government regulations to African women regarding the carrying of passes. We are proud to acknowledge in our midst, some of the veterans who marched on that historic day. We have here (name veterans……………)
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the women’s march to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956. The women were protesting against the imminent introduction of the infamous unjust pass laws that were intended by the apartheid regime to further polarise and dehumanise the people of South Africa. We are told that well over 20 000 women marched on that day.
A very good evening to you all and may I also officially welcome all our guests from the Netherlands and visitors from other parts of the world to our very beautiful country, South Africa.
In his inaugural address in May 1994, former President Mandela said: “The time to build is upon us. We have at last achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination” Indeed, this has been our government’s foremost objective – to eradicate poverty completely in our country. We have, however set ourselves a target to halve poverty by 2014.
On Wednesday, 19 April 2006, South Africa woke up to the sad news of the passing away of Mme Ellen Khuzwayo at the age of 91. Better known as an activist in the struggle against apartheid rule in South Africa, Khuzwayo was a champion of women’s rights in a repressive society. Her untimely death comes at the time when we were beginning to gear ourselves for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the historic march by over 20 000 women on the Union Buildings.
South Africa is immensely honoured that the Dominican Republic has decided to declare the period from 19-21 April 2006 as South African Week. It is pleasantly fulfilling to learn that our young democracy is recognised and celebrated by progressive countries such as the Dominican Republic.