Reconciliation Month, which kicks off on 1 December, is a reminder to continue to work together to build a united, non–racial, non-sexist society where people live together in harmony. This is according to the Department of Arts and Culture which will lead 2016 Reconciliation Month commemorations under the theme: “Bridging the Divide towards a Non-Racist Society”.

Reconciliation Day, commemorated annually on 16 December, to embrace the common ties that bind us rather than focus on what divides us as a nation. This year’s Reconciliation Day event will take place at the Gopane Black Aces Ground, in Zeerust in North West.

“On this day, South Africans across the country are encouraged to reach out to each other, to unite as a nation, strengthen relations with fellow South Africans and those who reside in the country. “This day also speaks to human rights and equality together with redress and transformation,” said the department.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said like many African countries, South Africa emerged from an oppressive, divisive and colonial system which created a fragmented society.

Given South Africa’s past history of divisions along the contours of race, class, religion, culture, language and other social constructions, the quest to bring about a more equitable society, as envisioned in the National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030, remains a key challenge.

The NDP presupposes a kind of society with a firm commitment to righting the wrongs of the past, with perpetrators of human atrocities willing to take the first step towards reconciliation.

The Department of Arts and Culture and other sister government departments will therefore host Public Dialogue Series and other programmes focusing on the notion of reconciliation, constitution and the inculcation of positive values.

“We urge everyone to mark Reconciliation Month as an opportunity to strengthen human solidarity and tolerance and to build national identity and social cohesion in our country,” said the Minister. –