Kathrada Foundation to fight racism on Human Rights Day

The foundation & Gauteng provincial government will be in Sharpeville to commemorate the day, today.

Former prison mates and struggle icons Ahmed Kathrada and Laloo Chiba were among those that visited Nelson Mandela stature at the Union Buildings in Pretoria as the country marks one year since the death of the former president on 5 December 2014. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, together with the Gauteng provincial government will celebrate today's Human Rights Day celebration by focusing on the fight against racism.

Various leaders and civil society groups will remember this day in 1960 when 69 people were killed in Sharpeville by apartheid police who opened fired on a peaceful crowd protesting against the pass laws.

The foundation has organised a rally at the Sharpeville cricket pitch after executive mayors, family members of the deceased and survivors lay wreaths at the memorial site.

The foundation's Neeshan Balton says, "The Kathrada foundation, as part of the anti-racism network, have, in partnership with Gauteng provincial government, organised a programme that commences at the Sharpeville cemetery and the memorial site as well as the stadium for the rally, in which we're organising. I think for the very first time, a significant number of white South Africans will be part of those commemorations."

At the same time, political parties have emphasised the importance of reminding the country of its history and remembering those who died for freedom.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande are expected to join Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Danny Jordaan in the Eastern Cape today.

The Nelson Mandela municipality's Mlungisi Ncame said Jordaan will be hosting Ramaphosa and Nzimande at celebrations at the Jabavu stadium.

"We want to remind the youth through annual commemorations that it's a path that we should never go down again."

The Democratic Alliance's Mmusi Maimane will visit the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre graves to lay wreaths, before heading to a memorial service in remembrance of those who were killed.

"The DA leader Mmusi Maimane as well as the Gauteng leadership will be in Sharpeville to commemorate the 1960 massacre."

Congress of the People's Mosiuoa Lekota will visit the Manamakgoteng village in Moruleng, Rustenburg, where community members are believed to lack basic services.

'COLLECTIVE EFFORT IS NEEDED TO COMBAT RACISM'

Justice Minister Michael Masutha says collective effort is needed to combat racism.

He says national dialogue is needed to ensure every South African feels part of the discussion.

The minister says citizens must take a stand against racism, especially on Human Rights Day.

Masutha says the recently launched national action plan to combat racism, xenophobia and intolerance aims to bring people together.

"A dialogue really is going to entail various sessions where different stakeholders meet and engage on different topics or themes relating to race."