As Africans, we reassert and embrace firmly our African-ness. We as Africans take pride in our common identity, celebrate that which unites us – our common heritage, our common ancestry – and recommit ourselves to a shared a prosperous future.
We draw pride from being the children of this Continent of Africa, which has made a significant contribution in the origins of humankind, in human civilisation and, up to this day, in the development of humankind.
We are Africans; we are one Africa; we are one humanity; we are the keepers of our African brothers and sisters from wherever they come from on Continent. Africa is a home for all Africans. Africa is the cradle of humankind. None of our African brothers and sisters will be made to suffer in our name. We are making a solemn pledge that we will continue to condemn acts of xenophobia and related intolerances. We will isolate those in our communities who perpetrate these acts. We will teach them the African ways of Ubuntu; that I am because you are.
Africa Day celebrations offer us an opportunity to forge closer ties with one another, as Africans, to build new and strengthen existing bonds of friends and solidarity.
The regeneration of Africa is still our dream, it is still part of our agenda and we are working towards its realisation. We must pay a special tribute to that generation of Pan Africanists and founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union, who in their own wisdom laid a solid foundation for the unity and solidarity of Africans. They left us a proud legacy we must continue to defend and deepen. We will always remember and draw courage from their sacrifices. We will endeavour to walk in their footsteps.
I had the privilege, earlier this month to meet with more than hundred delegates representing African migrants from different countries in our continent to discuss the challenges they face as residents of Gauteng. The meeting acknowledged the many challenges faced by migrants in our province. It reiterated that Gauteng remains the most welcoming and friendliest of all provinces with regard to making the stay of immigrants in South Africa more pleasant and productive. The meeting appreciated that many immigrants are highly skilled and documented, they are not criminals and that they have chosen to come to Gauteng cities to contribute to our success and enjoy a decent standard of living.
We emerged from the meeting clear in our minds that racism and xenophobia must be condemned and acted against firmly because they undermine both our common African identity and our common humanity. Racism, xenophobia and all forms of intolerance have no place in our society. We say no to racism! We say no to xenophobia!
We will continue to work with the African Diaspora Forum to fight in particular, the scourge of xenophobia. This will be in addition to the work already done by our social cohesion advocates to engage different sectors of society on the twin problem of racism and xenophobia. This we will do as part of promoting social cohesion in our province, which for many years has been the melting pot of various cultures.
We, in Gauteng continue to view the diversity of cultures in our province as a source of strength rather than a source of weakness and division – it adds vibrancy to our province; it adds to the unique energy that Gauteng is renowned for; it adds to the resilience and strength that is so synonymous with Gauteng. Part of what we must do in this regard is that we must promote the true integration of our continent, to facilitate trade, commerce, as well as the movement of people, goods and services across our cities and our countries.
We must build good infrastructure for economic development; we must invest in human capital and capabilities of our people; we must have quality leadership that cares about the wellbeing of their people.
We must encourage partnerships and intra-Africa trade and strong collaboration among businesses and governments at local, provincial and national level. The mayors and governors need to work together to promote and strengthen our economies and learn from one another.
Let our geographic borders not be a stumbling block to greater trade among ourselves, economic integration as well as to greater people to people contact between the peoples of our continent. At all times we must act together, clear in the understanding that our future lies in our hands; that none but ourselves can build a better Africa and through that a Better World.
By David Makhura,
Premier of Gauteng, RSA.