25 May 2012
Mr. Mandla Madonsela and Mr. Ben Kioko, both representing the African Union
The Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Secretariat, Dr Mayaki,
Dr. Webber Ndoro, the Executive Director, African World Heritage Fund
Adv. Zwelibanzi Madasa, Clerk of Parliament from the Pan African Parliament
Prof. Muxe Nkondo, Chairperson of the National Libraries of South Africa
Our distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen:
On the 30th of November last year, on the occasion of the launch of the SADC campaign to promote the ratification of the Charter on African Cultural Renaissance by all African countries, as the South African government we committed ourselves that we will do everything possible to ensure that the Charter is ratified by the end of 2012.
Today as we sign this Charter we are taking an important step towards delivering on this commitment we made last year in November.
Equally as we sign this Charter today we do so fully appreciating that the South African Cabinet will ratify the Charter soon.
We are delighted that this signing ceremony is taking place during Africa Day; a day of immense importance to all of us as Africans.
Indeed this is a Day where as Africans we take pride in our identity, celebrate that which unite us and together craft a shared and prosperous destiny.
On this Day as Africans we proclaim loudly that what unites us far outweighs that which divides us.
We declare boldly that the unity of Africans is sacrosanct and therefore must be defended by all.
Programme Director, the signing of this Charter is part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen the rebirth of our beloved Continent at a political, social, economical and cultural level.
As South Africa we will use this Charter to promote the unity of the African Continent and the unity of the peoples of Africa.
We are confident that this Charter will assist us to illuminate the way towards progressive Pan-Africanism.
On this important occasion we wish to reiterate that the South African government remains committed to the African Agenda.
This includes strengthening of the African Union and supporting efforts to promote democracy, peace, stability and development in our Continent.
We equally remain fully supportive of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as an integral component of efforts towards the rebirth of the African Continent.
As South Africa we are of the view that the arts, culture and heritage have an important role to play in promoting the African agenda, in strengthening the African Union and in ensuring that the goals of NEPAD are realized.
We must use our common heritage, our common ancestry, our rich and diverse cultures as well as our artistic expressions to cement the bonds of friendship and solidarity that have always existed among our peoples for many years.
We must use our shared heritage to strengthen people to people contact, to promote tolerance as well as a better understanding and appreciation of each other as Africans.
It is when we have strengthened people to people contact that we can develop further avenues for cooperation among our countries.
I take this opportunity to thank all those who have made it possible for us to sign this Charter today.
We look forward to inviting all of you again when we celebrate the eventual ratification of this important Charter, which we have no doubt will be very soon.
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