Transforming the country’s heritage landscape is part of government’s efforts to restore human rights, says Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa.
“The transformation of the heritage landscape is part of the process of restoring the human rights to our people. The renaming of the East London Airport to King Phalo Airport is part of those efforts,” Mthethwa said on Friday.
He was addressing the launch of Human Rights Month at the Moses Tswede Community hall in Dimbaza, East London in the Eastern Cape.
The Minister launched Human Rights Month with Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola under the theme: “The year of Charlotte Maxeke: Promoting Human Rights in the Age of COVID-19”.
This years’ theme pays tribute to the 150th anniversary of the liberation struggle heroin and human rights campaigner, Charlotte Maxeke.
“She witnessed in her lifetime events that had an impact on her live, the lives of others and Africans across the globe. It is these events which made Maxeke a heroic we celebrate today,” the Minister said.
She witnessed the 1878-1879 last Frontier war, the battle of Isandlwana in 1879, the battle of Adwa in Ethiopia, 1896, the Pan African Congress and the Bhambatha Rebellion of 1906.
“These battles and many others left us with a heritage whose spirit of no surrender, of sacrifice and discipline, inspires and guides the African determination in the battles to come, a heritage which is a challenge to all of us.
“The struggles of Maxeke has left us a legacy of never allow your circumstances to determine your destiny. Throughout her life, she has fought for the restoration of human rights to Africans both at home and across the globe. She understood the nexus of race, class and gender in our struggles both at home and elsewhere in the world,” the Minister said.
He said when there was no government for the people, Maxeke and others were able to fight for human rights.
“She is an important historical figure in that she seemed well ahead of her generation. She is the first woman of African descent to be conferred with the degree for science from the United States.
“Celebrating Maxeke is also part of our liberation heritage, transformation agenda, noting that the narrative remains patriarchal and male dominated. Therefore, this honour is in sync with our transformation agenda, thereby ensuring that the liberation heritage narrative is all inclusive and that women who have earned their titles become front and centre of this narrative,” Mthethwa said.
Minister Lamola said the nation needs to work together to fight any form of racism, tribalism and xenophobia.
“It is within our collective responsibility to do so that we can build a better future for our children, for one nation united in our diversity.
“In our democracy, there are still rogue elements hell-bent on undermining the struggles of Maxeke and her heroic generations. These acts are done through acts of domestic violence and femicide…of violating the rights of women and children,” Lamola said.
Minister Lamola also spoke of the need to defeat domestic violence and femicide.
“As we launch the Human Rights Month 2021, let every citizen be concerned about entrenching human rights in the country. Let each of us say as long there are still those rights are violated and undermined the struggle continues,” Lamola said.