Reconciliation Day 2012 - Key messages

29 Jul 2013

All South Africans should join hands and celebrate the National Day of Reconciliation on 16 December 2012 together.

  • The heritage landscape of South Africa is rich with monuments, memorials and graves that represent our past of conflicts, struggle and war. The National of Reconciliation was impelled by the need to entrench new values and mores that sought to rebuild the society that had been ravaged by conflicts and wars.
  • Over and above these wars, race relations in South Africa had been characterised by mistrust arising from centuries of oppression and segregation. It is this that deprived the South African citizens a chance of learning to live in harmony. However, our leaders were clear in their minds that such peace and stability could only be achieved if enemies were to reconcile with each other.
  • In an attempt to consolidate this national government initiative, the then National Department of Arts Culture Science and Technology built the first phase of Ncome Museum as a site for national reconciliation. The desire to build a bridge between the Ncome Museum and Blood River Monument was to symbolise the removal of racial and social barriers between the different population groups.

    Similarly, the building of Freedom Park, adjacent to the Voortrekker Monument, was initially received with some trepidation by other section of our society because it was perceived as counter-memory and thus challenging pre-1994 heritage establishment. Reconciliation Road is the road that links Freedom Park with the Voortrekker Monument, and was opened by President Jacob Zuma on 16 December 2011 as a symbol of reconciliation between the two heritage institutions. Today, they exist united and working together to foster reconciliation and nation building.

Let’s work together to unite our nation, improve race relations and build a South Africa that truly belongs to all.      

  • All South Africans are encouraged to remember and commemorate the men and women who lost their lives in the various battles and struggles for freedom.
  • Together we can create an active and winning nation.
  • Freedom Park is a place for everyone to reflect on the past, the present and the future. The Freedom Park is planning to capture the imagination of the entire nation by offering prayer and delivering messages of hope and peace, nation building, continent and international building, and reconciliation.
  • South Africa will host the Orange Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) from 19 January to 10 February 2013. It is deemed the biggest sporting event on the African continent. South Africa will therefore receive visitors from across the country and the world. Let’s use AFCON 2013 to demonstrate our progress towards building a united Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it.
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