Anti-Racism Network South Africa opens dialogue against racism in Houghton

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development launch Anti-Racism Week at St John's College in Houghton.

Anti-Racism Network South Africa, in conjunction with Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, launched Anti-Racism Week at St John’s College in Houghton on 14 March.

The launch focused on various related forms of racism, including xenophobia and discrimination against other ethnic groups in our society.

National convener of the network, Sean Moodley, said the launch sought to create a platform for organisations and individuals to start conversations about racism and its impact on society.

According to Moodley, as a country, South Africans have not taken the issue of racism seriously post 1994, thus the need to establish a blueprint of how to deal with racism. “Our idea is to create one,” said Moodley.

Read: Anti-Racism Week: 7 things you can do to reduce racism

“After 94, we thought, as a Rainbow Nation, we [would] be able to deal with it, but it continues… in some parts of our society.”

He added that to address the issue, the Anti-Racism Network has come up with two solutions – to prevent racism in childhood and cure it among adults.

Danaline Franzman, chief director of Social Justice and Participatory Democracy at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, said the process was underway to develop a blueprint to deal with racism. “[The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development] has been tasked by Cabinet to lead the process and we have a draft national action plan to combat racism, which was sent to Cabinet in 2016,” she said.

Read: Anti-Racism Week: Hate is hate no matter what shape or form it comes in

“Once it is finalised, it will inform… the development of a comprehensive public policy against racism and all forms of related intolerance,” said Franzman.

Children at the college were engaged in various awareness-raising activities and issued with wristbands with anti-racism messages to mark the launch, as part of paving the way to the commemoration of Human Rights Day on 21 March.

Headmaster Paul Edey said, as an institution of learning, they were totally opposed to any form of bigotry. He added that it was important for the children to start conversations about racism and speak against it as a means of building a cohesive society.

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