Long way to go before we can celebrate humanity

The quest for nationhood where we share common values continues in South Africa.

The quest for nationhood where we share common values continues in South Africa.

The values that we all desire are obviously enshrined in our Bill of Rights and underpinned by our constitution. As a society we are also conscious of the even greater efforts we have got to make to extend some of the basic rights to so many of our fellow citizens.

Some of these rights that embody our commonly shared values derive from the state, such as the provision of basic services that include safety, health and education.

Others are between citizens, like the respect for each others dignity, culture, language, religion etc. In other words, it is not necessarily up to the state to guarantee that a young woman wearing a short skirt would not be abused and attacked by taxi drivers, but up to the taxi drivers and whoever is inclined to behave that way, to learn and to know that they have no right to abuse a fellow citizen they presume as inferior that way. Otherwise society has to intervene in various ways to correct the situation. Where laws have been broken the state also has to intervene.

The same applies to commentators and journalists who sometimes may hide behind the cover of freedom of speech while using public platforms to spew hateful abuse at a people they may regard as inferior.

They too should be made aware that they are undermining the spirit of this quest for a nationhood based on commonly shared values. This quest, this consciousness, is borne out of our painful history and our progressive and ambitious aspirations.

Thus it is understandable and correct that South Africans should speak out against the gross violations of the fundamental rights of citizens of Zimbabwe who fully discharged their democratic duty accordingly, but were completely undermined by their public institutions tasked with protecting the very fundamental rights.

In our country and many other parts of the world, millions of people are going hungry and are angry due to increasing food prices and shortages. As South Africans, nay, as Africans, we pride ourselves on being caring and empathetic people and therefore our sisters' pain we regard as our pain, our brothers' hunger we experience as our hunger. Simply put, our conscience should always be on the side of the vulnerable and undermined.

It is for these and many other reasons that the South African version of the World Cup in 2010 is firstly regarded as the African World Cup, and secondly that it places a lot of emphasis on the legacy.

The conscience of the 2010 World Cup is that its effect should not only be confined to the fun and business aspects of the game, but leave a lasting impact in the development of public infrastructure, the social development of people and responsible use of the environment.

Thus we have the legacy, environmental and volunteer programmes. The legacy programme focuses on the provision of football pitches with artificial turf, the development of community centres on the continent and the development of football and administrative skills.

The environmental programme focuses on raising awareness about one of the biggest threats facing our planet today - climate change. The volunteer programme is geared towards recruiting individuals who want to assist the Organising Committee, in various supplementary roles, to host a successful event in 2010.

It is some of these programmes and the colleagues running them, that help the Committee live up to its promise and make a humble contribution to our quest for a nation based on commonly shared values.

It is this quest and the attendant consciousness that will give meaning to our call: "Ke nako. Celebrate Africa's Humanity".

To celebrate this humanity, you have first to promote it and advance it.