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  • 16 December: South Africa marks the Day of Reconciliation

    By ACTSA | December 15, 2016

    Coming into effect after the 1994 democratic elections, the Day of Reconciliation – 16 December – was inaugurated to help South Africans reconcile the horror of the events of the past and the promise of a shared future together, regardless of race, culture or creed.The date was chosen because it was significant to both Afrikaner and African cultures. 

    The 16 December was marked by the apartheid state as the Day of the Vow or Covenant to mark a victory by Afrikaners over Zulu forces. Rather than abolish the date from the South African calendar, the democratic government of South Africa chose to keep it as a public holiday but rename it, and request all South Africans mark it to help bring about reconciliation between the people of South Africa whatever their colour, to celebrate both the unity and diversity of South Africa.

    The apartheid state used the 16 December to promote and consolidate white supremacy and celebrate a victory in a battle of 1838. On 16 December 1910, black South Africans demonstrated against the discrimination and denial of rights they were suffering following the establishment of the Union of South Africa earlier that year.  On 16 December 1961, the African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party launched the first act of sabotage by Umkhonto weSizwe (Spear of the Nation) or MK in response to continuing repression and the banning of the ANC and others in 1960.

    South Africans will commemorate 2016 Reconciliation Month under the theme “Bridging The Divide Towards A Non-Racist Society”.  The theme reminds everyone that they should strengthen relations with fellow South Africans and build a future where all live together in harmony.

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