'SA must find way to ease its pain'

LEADING THE WAY: President Kgalema Motlanthe and former president Thabo Mbeki at Reconciliation Day celebrations in Pretoria yesterday. 16/12/2008. © GCIS. Pic. Elmond Jiyane
LEADING THE WAY: President Kgalema Motlanthe and former president Thabo Mbeki at Reconciliation Day celebrations in Pretoria yesterday. 16/12/2008. © GCIS. Pic. Elmond Jiyane

Sipho Masombuka

Sipho Masombuka

President Kgalema Motlanthe said yesterday that South Africa's past and its diversity still generated contradictions - resulting in imbalances.

Motlanthe was delivering a keynote address at the commemoration of the Day of Reconciliation at Freedom Park in Pretoria.

He was accompanied by former president Thabo Mbeki and Minister of Arts and Culture Pallo Jordan.

The president called on all South Africans to recommit themselves to the vision of a nonracial society - conscious of the injustices of the past.

Reconciliation demanded reflection on the issues that still caused pain and division and the development of individual and communal responses to address them, he said.

"These contradictions sharply express themselves in the manner in which our past continues to pain us in many vital areas of our life as a country," Motlanthe said.

"This pain is caused by, among other things, lingering racial and ethnic divisions, gender inequalities, poverty and language disparities."

Quoting from a speech by former president Nelson Mandela, Motlanthe said: "There are few countries which dedicate a national public holiday to reconciliation.

"But then there are few nations with our history of enforced division, oppression and sustained conflict.

"And fewer still that have undergone such a remarkable transition to reclaim their humanity. This Day of Reconciliation celebrates the progress we have made."

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