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Media Statement: The SAHRC celebrates Heritage Day 2022, urges South Africans to participate in the Social Harmony National Effort (SHiNE)

Attention: Editors and Reporters

Saturday, 24 September 2022

The South African Human Rights Commission (the SAHRC/Commission) joins the rest of the country in celebrating Heritage Day 2022.  Heritage Day in South Africa is celebrated yearly on the 24th of September to appreciate the nation’s unique wealth of cultural diversity.

Under the theme “Celebrating the Legacy of Solomon Linda and South Africa’s Indigenous Music” this year’s Heritage Day pays tribute to the 60th anniversary of the passing of singer and song writer Solomon Popoli Linda. He is best known as the composer of the song “Mbube” which later became the popular music success “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and gave its name to the Mbube style of isicathamiya acapella music.
The Commission echoes sentiments by Government for the call on all South Africans to use Heritage Month to foster greater social cohesion, nation building and a shared national identity.

Heritage Day 2022 comes at a time when the country is grappling with systemic human rights challenges and violations including gender-based violence, substance dependencies, racism and xenophobia, among others. These challenges continue to negatively impact the gains of democracy and affect the marginalised and most vulnerable groups such as women, children.

As a national human rights institution mandated by the Constitution to promote respect for and a culture of human rights; promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights; and monitor and assess the observance of human rights in South Africa, the Commission has identified September as an ideal month to launch the Social Harmony National Effort (SHiNE) to address the lack of social harmony.
The National Effort was constructed after an extensive consultation process, and is consequently a product of a broad range of South Africans, who gave freely of their advice and reflections. The Commission has determined that our fellow countrymen and women are vital agents of change and as such should be partners in cultivating more social solidarity, respect and harmony in the country.

The aim of the Social Harmony National Effort is no less than to commit every South African to reflecting on and acting in small but important ways to develop respect and harmony in our homes and among the diversities that exist in our midst. We hope to begin by encouraging the important practice of greeting in society.  In 2023, the year of the SHiNE, we hope to encourage the people of South Africa to dialogue on a range of topics of national import. This is aimed at developing a culture of dialoguing through our differences, which we hope becomes the norm and will push back on the culture of violence in our homes and in society broadly.

The Commission is urging all South Africans to heed the national call to use this year’s Heritage Day to contribute towards addressing the lack of social harmony by actively participating in the planned Social Harmony National Effort. Embracing diversity, playing an indigenous music, learning to greet in another language are some of the simple acts of UBUNTU that will go a long way in changing mindsets, fostering greater social cohesion, nation building and a shared national identity.

The launch of Social Harmony National Effort will be as follows:
Date: 27 September 2022
Venue: Freedom Park Museum and Heritage Site, Cnr Koch and 7th avenue, Salvokop, Pretoria
Time: 10H00

Media Briefing
A media briefing to articulate January – December SHiNE plan of action will held at 14:00 at the same venue.
The launch will be live-streamed on the Commission’s website (www.sahrc.org.za), Facebook (South African Human Rights Commission) and YouTube (SAHRC1) pages.
YouTube Stream Link: https://youtu.be/sHHUhUVAI-U

Wisani Baloyi – Acting Communications Coordinator Tel: 081 016 8308 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Alucia Sekgathume – External Communications Tel: 082 689 2364 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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