Hon House Chairperson, as we celebrate Africa Day, let us reflect on the roots of racism, the slave trade and colonialism, which led to anti-colonial struggles, the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, OAU, and the African Union, AU, and the passage of the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance.
The slave trade and colonialism did not completely deprive the people of African descent of their identity and African national consciousness. Their Christianisation and the accompanying racism in church and state institutions during the 17th and 18th centuries catalysed the reawakening of African national consciousness. This led to the secession of the African clergy from white churches, missionary churches and the formation of African independent churches, which came to be known as Ethiopian churches. These churches were so called because they based their religious philosophy on African redemption or liberation, as contained in Psalm 68:31.
The revival or reawakening of the African national consciousness started in the United States and spread to Africa during the 18th century. This religious revival of the reawakening of the 18th century produced many African preachers, such as Richard Allen, the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, AME, and Rev Manyena Maake Mokone, the founder of the Ethiopian Church of South Africa. Rev Manyena Maake Mokone was recently honoured by President Jacob Zuma as the founder of the Ethiopian African Liberation Theology. The African clergy and traditional leaders worked together to build independent churches and schools.
The totality of the experiences of slavery, racism and colonialism produced the slogan "Africa for Africans" and the "Back to Africa" campaign within the Ethiopian movement in the United States of America and the Caribbean. Thus Ethiopianism catalysed the birth of Pan-African nationalism. The founders of the ANC were profoundly influenced by both Ethiopianism and Pan- Africanism.
The Pan-African movement formally came into being at the first Pan-African Congress held in London, in 1900. The congress was convened by the Rev Sylvester Henry Williams and Bishop Walters, who were self-confessed Ethiopian Christians.
In his keynote address to the congress, W E du Bois opined that racism would be the greatest challenge of the 20th century. The congress, which took place during the Anglo-Boer War, condemned British attempts to recolonise South Africa and the atrocities committed on the African people on both sides of the war.
After the war, some delegates to the Pan-African Congress, including the Rev Henry Sylvester Williams and Peregrino, a Ghanaian journalist, settled here in Cape Town. They joined with officials of the AME Church and Ethiopian Church clergy that had been ordained by Henry McNeal Turner, a pioneer Pan-African nationalist who popularised the slogan "Africa for Africans" within the Ethiopian movement. Thus the Ethiopian Christians and the Pan-African nationalists worked together to propagate the Pan-African identity and African national consciousness.
Sylvester Williams assisted Dr A Abdularahm and Sol Plaatje to establish the African People's Organisation, APO, in 1902. It was the first African political organisation, which was preceded by the Natal Indian Congress formed in 1892.
Meanwhile, the African youth, who were studying in Europe and in black church colleges in the USA, returned to South Africa and swelled the ranks of the native congresses, which were formed during the first decade of the 20th century. They came together in 1912 to form the ANC.
With regard to the birth of the Pan-African national vision, Rev John Langalibalele Dube, a teacher and pastor in the Congregational Church, gave a public lecture in 1892 in which, after his return from the US, he foretold the birth of a free Africa, which would be a spiritual, humane, caring and prosperous continent.
Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Dube's cousin, delivered a public lecture at Columbia University in 1905, titled The Regeneration of Africa. Seme said, and I quote:
The African already recognises his anomalous position and desires a change. The brighter day is rising upon Africa. Already I seem to see her chains dissolved, her desert plains red with harvest, her Abyssinia and her Zululand the seats of science and religion, reflecting the glory of the rising sun from the spires of their churches and universities. Her Congo and her Gambia whitened with commerce, her crowded cities sending forth the hum of business, and all her sons employed in advancing the victories of peace - greater and more abiding than the spoils of war.
Yes, the regeneration of Africa belongs to this new and powerful period! By this term, regeneration, I wish to be understood to mean the entrance into a new life, embracing the diverse phases of a higher, complex existence. The basic factor which assures their regeneration resides in the awakened African race consciousness. This gives them a clear perception of their elemental needs and of their undeveloped powers. It therefore must lead them to the attainment of that higher and advanced standard of life.
Seme recalled the great achievements of the indigenous African empires of ancient Egypt and Ethiopia to highlight the potential of Africa to create yet new civilisations. Seme was the first African leader to use the phrase "I am an African."
In his public lecture, he demonstrated that Africa would be reborn from the ashes of slavery and colonialism and create a new African civilisation.
He further said, and I quote:
The regeneration of Africa means that a new and unique civilisation is soon to be added to the world. The African is not a proletarian in the world of science and art. He has precious creations of his own - of ivory; of copper and of gold; of fine, plaited willow ware; and weapons of superior workmanship.
Civilisation resembles an organic being in its development - it is born, it perishes, and it can propagate itself. More particularly it resembles a plant; it takes root in the teeming earth, and when the seeds fall in other soils, new varieties sprout up. The most essential departure of this new civilisation is that it shall be thoroughly spiritual and humanistic - indeed a regeneration moral and eternal.
Here Seme embraced the values espoused by Dube and, more specifically, called for a moral regeneration movement. Seme and three other ...[Interjections.]
Hon Chief Whip, could you please just stop for a moment. I request that you people lower your voices. There has been incessant talking, and quite loudly, especially from the back and in the front.
They are like that because they do not understand English and history. [Laughter.]
Could you continue, hon Chief Whip.
Seme and three other lawyers - Richard Msimang, George Montsioa and Alfred Mangena - convened the founding conference of the ANC on 8 January 1912. In his opening address, Seme called for unity and co-operation, and unity in diversity.
Concerning the ANC centenary, on 8 January 2012 we began our celebration of the ANC centenary; 100 years of selfless struggle for freedom, equality and justice for all, both black and white. The leadership of the ANC correctly characterised this centenary as the achievement of the people of South Africa, Africa and the world. Indeed, the people of Africa and the diaspora gathered at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, to map out the collaboration of Africa and her diaspora in the development of the continent and its people.
Any African development plan that is hatched should heed Seme's call for a new and unique African civilisation, based on spiritual and human values, underpinned by a moral regeneration programme.
The ANC dedicated each of the 12 months of 2012 to one of the 12 presidents of the ANC. May is dedicated to President Pixley ka Isaka Seme, the founder of the ANC. Our icon, Nelson Mandela, taught us that the seeds of the ANC were sown in the Ethiopian movement, which espoused the values of human dignity, self-help and self-reliance. The ANC is a value-centred national liberation movement that derives its moral vision from religion and other diverse cultures and traditions.
The new and unique civilisation for Africa and Africans envisaged by Pixley ka Isaka Seme is inclusive of all South Africans, both black and white. The second president of the ANC, Sefako Makgatho, confirmed this in 1917. Chief Albert Luthuli also said, "Let us build a civilisation based on human values." Nelson Mandela also said to us that his mission was to promote reconciliation.
I must say that what happened in Johannesburg recently, where art was abused, is unacceptable, racist, vulgar, and cannot be allowed in a democratic society like South Africa. [Interjections.] That event confirms the call by President Jacob Zuma that we need a national dialogue on unity in diversity.
We would want to thank the President for having initiated the Unity in Diversity project. As this Parliament, we want to propose that we partner with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, in terms of our strategic objective of co-operative governance. This would be in order to ensure that this nation debate what values are common and acceptable to all of us, because we do not want an importation of the moral degeneration of Europe into Africa. [Applause.] Africa wants to build a spiritual, humane, caring and prosperous country in which we have respect for self and for others. We hope that we speak for the people of this country, who elected us, to say that what happened in Johannesburg has actually led to violence, which means disrespect for the rights of others. [Interjections.]
The violation of the dignity of our leadership is creating conflict and making the creation of a nation united in diversity difficult to achieve. We are happy that both white and black people who are sensible oppose that occurrence. Only the minority, who are still confused, accepted that. Thank you, hon House Chairperson. [Applause.]
Chairperson, the few Ministers here and hon members, the speakers' list in front of you says I am going to speak in Afrikaans. I was not asked what language I was going to use here, and I want to admit my Afrikaans is as good as my Chinese. So, I am going to speak English. This year, we celebrate this important day under the theme: Celebrating African Cultural Renaissance Through Dialogue.
It has been half a century since many African countries attained independence, and yet this massive continent still faces many challenges. At the heart of Africa's problems is poverty. It is said that Africa is the second poorest inhabited continent in the world after Asia. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are in the World Bank's lowest gross national income category of less than US$700. This is in spite of the fact that Africa is a resource-rich continent.
In the 1950s, we saw Africa awakening to independence prospects, with many African nationalists such as Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenneth Kaunda, Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral and many others agitating for more say in the affairs of the colonised majority. Africa in the 1960s was a continent in transition. It is during this period that at least 31 countries attained their self-rule from their European colonisers. The wind of change was indeed blowing across the continent at the time.
In the 1970s, many challenges faced the newly independent states, as many of their economies remained in limbo. Development was difficult, regional and ethnic conflicts were rampant, and the Cold War was at its worst. In the 1980s, Africa was a continent in decline. Hunger and starvation were afflicting the countries of Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia, and there were raging civil wars in Angola, Sudan, Mozambique and other countries. The last decade continued to pose difficulties for the continent, as the economies stagnated and deteriorated.
However, parts of this continent have made significant gains over the past few years. In fact, some African countries consist of the fastest growing economies in the world today. This current decade has been described as a period when democracy in Africa is indeed coming of age. It is during this period that lawlessness and impunity are slowly disappearing from the continent. The recent political disturbances in Mali and Guinea-Bissau have shown that the continent is ready to condemn and punish rogue states by imposing punitive measures to restore law and order. In Malawi, the recent transition from the late President Bingu wa Mutharika to Joyce Banda, who is the second female president on the continent after the Sierra Leonean president, exemplifies what this continent has achieved in the past half- century of independence.
The liberation struggle in Africa, and particularly here in Southern Africa, pitted evil political systems against the aspirations of the majority of the oppressed people. The fight against apartheid was a major uniting factor in relation to the total independence and liberation of the subregion. I was born in a country that played a critical role in the liberation struggle in Africa in general, and Southern Africa in particular. [Interjections.] I am going to tell you now.
I was born in Zambia. Zambia, the landlocked country, which was at the time led by Kenneth Kaunda, sacrificed much towards the total liberation of this subregion along with other frontline states. At the time, Kaunda's rallying call to all Zambians was, "Tiyende pamodzi ndimtima umodzi." In Nyanja, that means, "Let's move forward in unity." It is no exaggeration to say that Zambia was home to probably the largest number of African liberation movements in this region, including the ANC and the PAC of South Africa; the Zimbabwe African National Union, Zanu, and the Zimbabwe African People's Union, Zapu, of Zimbabwe; the Liberation Front of Mozambique, Frelimo; the South West Africa People's Organisation, Swapo, of South West Africa, which is Namibia now; the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola, MPLA, and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, Unita, to name but a few.
Many of South Africa's liberation heroes such as Tambo, Thabo Mbeki, Alfred Nzo and many others found refuge in Lusaka at a time when this country was a pariah in the eyes of the international community. Others include the late Herbert Chitepo, for example, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Samora Machel, Jonas Savimbi, Agostino Neto and Holden Roberto of Angola, and the list goes on. They found refuge in that country.
Nearly 20 years after the total liberation of Southern Africa, a new sprit is emerging. Democracy has taken root, and economic development and regional integration are the buzz words. But a lot still needs to be done, particularly in Zimbabwe and Swaziland.
There is a new scramble for Africa's resources. It is a scramble which says that Africa has to feed the huge appetite for raw materials that are needed to feed the industries in China, the Far East, America and Europe. To feed this huge appetite, Africa has become a producer of commodities that are sent out of the continent unprocessed and are only sold back to the continent as finished products. It is time for this continent to begin to develop beneficiation product industries in order to create employment opportunities for the people of this continent.
This year's theme is a call for Africans to engage in peaceful resolution of their differences. It is an appeal that requires that armed confrontation should be the last resort in resolving conflicts on the continent. The current standoff between Sudan and the newly independent South Sudan, for example, is an affront to the spirit of coexistence, tolerance and the spirit of the African Renaissance. Former President Nelson Mandela said:
I dream of the realisation of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine their efforts to solve the problems of this continent.
Africa is an enchanting continent. I have had the privilege of travelling across the continent, from north to south, east to west. I have marvelled at the beauty of the vastness of the Serengeti plains of Tanzania, where thousands of wildebeest, zebra and buffalo and other animals travel in their annual migration that takes them to the Masai Mara in Kenya. I have been to the Kaleni Hills in northwest Zambia, where the Zambezi River begins from a small spring to become one of Africa's biggest rivers that sustains millions of people and livestock as it travels through Angola and forms the borders between Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and then goes on to Mozambique, to pour its contents into the Indian Ocean. At the Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River plunges thousands of metres into the precipice that prompted the people that I belong to, the Lozi-speaking people, to call it Mosi-oa-Tunya, the "Smoke that Thunders".
In North Africa, my memories of the Great Pyramids will forever remain indelibly marked in my mind. I have been to the point where the great Nile River empties its contents into the Mediterranean Sea, the body of water that separates Africa from the land of her former colonisers in Europe.
In West Africa, the Cape Coast Castle of Ghana and its dungeons are a reminder of the pain of millions of Africans who were brought there from the hinterland en route to far-off and unknown lands to start new lives as slaves. Many perished during these perilous journeys across rough seas, consumed by fatigue, sickness and even fear.
The Namib Desert is a sight that I will always behold as I see the dry and scorched dunes as they meet the sea along the Skeleton Coast, so named because of the many ships that were wrecked here and the many lives that were lost many years ago.
God's Window in Mpumalanga is an insight into the beauty, the mystery and the secrecy of God's power of creation. This is Africa; its beauty and mystery abound. This quotation by Richard Mullin, which I borrowed from the hon Koornhof of Cope - I don't see him here - sums this up and says:
The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa - for he has so much to look forward to.
The late Trevor Huddleston once prayed:
God bless Africa, guard her people, guide her leaders, and give her peace.
I thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, as we celebrate Africa Day under the theme "Celebrating African cultural renaissance through dialogue", we remember that in 1994, former President Nelson Mandela used the theme of a single nation with many cultures for his inaugural celebrations to set us on a path of active reconciliation. Archbishop Tutu complemented former President Mandela's speech in proclaiming us as the "Rainbow Nation", where our colours and cultures contributed to the radiance of a culturally diverse but united South Africa. Dialogue, not accusations, they held, was the glue to keep us bonded. Indeed, the adoption of the motto "!ke e:/xarra//ke", translated as "diverse people unite", underlines how consciously we are resolved to create the big paradigm shift necessary for cementing the commonalities that unite us. Dialogue, only dialogue, prevents the ethnicisation of politics and promotes co-existence.
In 2005, African leaders further reinforced the need for dialogue as a condition for harmonious existence and prosperity by endorsing the Draft Charter for African Cultural Renaissance. They recognised that art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs should provide the stimulus for respective peoples to learn from one another and to evolve to higher levels of development. Indeed, we grow by being acquainted with the more efficient ways of others.
During the colonial period, the depersonalisation of Africans, the falsification of their history, the disparagement of their values and the downgrading of their languages blunted African culture. Today African languages must be promoted both for the intrinsic values they hold, as well as for being a basis for a more successful dialogue.
Cultural diversity and unity must exist in equilibrium. For too long Africa has been wounded and made to bleed from the outside as well as from within. During his term of office, President Mbeki made a seminal address on the theme "I am an African". This speech set the parameters for establishing the identity of an African. An African woman academic, Dr Bennet, encapsulated the point even more succinctly when she stated, "An African is not one who is born in Africa, but one in whom Africa is born." Mbeki and Bennet elevated the debate beyond the point of divisive and pointless contention. In so doing, they also intrinsically located the argument of who an African is inside the humanistic conception of ubuntu, namely "Umuntu umuntu ngabantu". [I am what I am because of who we all are.] Indeed, we are what we are as a result of who we all are. Our lives are interdependent, and dialogue is the lubricant of our existence without friction.
Wayne Visser echoes the same consciousness in beginning his poem with:
I am an African Not because I was born there But because my heart beats with Africa's.
Cope agrees that the cultural renaissance must emancipate people. This requires a continent-wide mobilisation to promote dialogue between people, states and civilisations. Africa is torn by needless conflicts and wars arising from an intolerance of cultural diversities and identities, religious tensions and lack of appreciation for cultural diversity. Former victims of colonisation continue to victimise others among themselves. The slaughter of over 300 000 people in Darfur and the displacement of 2 million people of its people is a cruel example of this. Without continual dialogue, we will say, "I did not see. I did not know," as was the case in Rwanda, and as was the case in South Africa during apartheid. In this context, Cope fully supports ... Thank you [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, let me invite the hon members to listen to these few lines from a poem written by an anonymous African poet and writer. The title is "Let me be me."
Let me be me I am not you! Yet you cannot let me Be me. For God's sake Let me be me!
This stanza summarises the whole tragedy of the African story, the tragedy of being denied the chance to define ourselves in our own African terms. We are today celebrating the hallowed values of the struggle, handed down from one generation to another. These values of unity and co-operation are embodied in the African philosophy of ubuntu-botho [human dignity].
But it is this very same African philosophy that was vehemently attacked by Western usurpers who argued that Africans had no philosophy at all and, by definition, that Africans did not have a way of their own to live life itself. This represented the first step of this tragedy, because this was followed by Africans rejecting their own. We rejected our own languages, because we were told that our languages resembled that of a bat who, in any way, would have liked to be a bat.
We rejected our customs, because missionaries had argued that it was "better to be a slave in a white Christian society than to be free in African savagery". There you are. The whole process of dehumanisation followed. We have been dehumanised. We have been turned into the status of a victim, because a victim will always whine and whinge. A victim will always imitate the master inside him. In other words, our minds have been colonised.
What must be done? First, some aspects of our culture may have become archaic. Some thought patterns may have become old-fashioned and must be discarded, but the whole of the society cannot be discarded. It must be transformed instead. Let us open a dialogue amongst ourselves because, I argue, playing pseudo-intellectual games amongst ourselves won't help our cause at all.
Therefore, our first responsibility is to reclaim what we lost. We must rehabilitate our languages; even our eating habits, as many health professionals have observed that many Africans have acquired certain chronic diseases like diabetes due to dietary practices.
Hon member, your time has expired.
Chair, this reminds me of what happened to us in Kampala, Uganda.
Hon member, your time has expired.
Just a second to tell this story. [Laughter.] A young lady was serving us mushroom soup. When she came round to us, I said, "This soup is not nice." She turned to me and said, "You know what your problem is, you South Africans?" I said, "No." She said, "Whenever you cook, you cook for two colours." [Laughter.] [Applause.]
Hon member, you cook overtime. [Laughter.]
Hon Chairperson, let me state from the outset that I love this continent and I am extremely proud to call myself an African. My love for this continent was reinforced when, in 1997, I undertook a year and a half-long expedition through Africa, where I was exposed to the wonderful diversity that exists throughout this continent.
During this expedition I was shown the resilience of the African people and how many of them are rising above intolerable situations by drawing on their own ingenuity. It is this ingenuity that must be harnessed if we are to overcome the myriad problems that still beset our continent. It is because of this experience, though, that I knew that a cover of The Economist in 2000, where they called Africa "the hopeless continent", was devoid of truth and that they would be forced one day to eat their words. And eat their words they have, as many countries on this continent have progressively embraced democracy and some have experienced spectacular economic growth over the past decade.
Steve Biko once said that the great gift still had to come from Africa: giving the world a more human face. In order for us to achieve this, though, we have to replace bullets with words, tyrants with democracy, and oppression with a resolute commitment to human rights.
If we remain steadfast to this ideal, I am convinced that this will truly be Africa's century, and its glorious diversity will be celebrated by all. I thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, hon members, the annual commemoration of Africa Day reminds us of the impressive strides the mother continent of Africa has made since the dark days of brutal colonial rule. It has not only been due to self-determination and excellent political leadership that Africa has been able to free herself from the yoke of oppression, but also largely due to a cultural value system that put the welfare of society above that of an individual.
While diverse and varied in nature, African cultures share one commonality. They are all built fundamentally on the principle of collective solidarity around survival issues. This defining feature of African cultures served as a propeller for the liberation agenda. If culture refers to the behaviours and beliefs characteristic of a particular social or ethnic group, or if it refers to how we do things, then we should therefore ask ourselves whether enough is being done to preserve the elements of our cultures that give us a distinctive identity. This is because our cultural values and practices are critical in understanding the dynamics behind any thriving nation, community, business or organisation. They define the daily realities of our people, their attitudes and reactions to controversial artwork and hold the key to the success of many nations around the world.
Thus, as we prepare ourselves to celebrate the African cultural renaissance through dialogue, we must question the extent to which we, the peoples of Africa, have neglected African culture, while accepting Western culture in toto. We should remain cognisant of the fact that any cultural renewal strategy that strives for excellence in Africa is likely to fail unless it is meaningfully linked to the continent's unique cultures. I thank you, hon Chairperson.
Modulasetulo, ke a leboha. Ke dumedisa maloko a hlomphehileng a Ntlo ena e kgabane ya Ketsamolao ya Afrika Borwa. Thapameng ena ya kajeno re tlo buisana hanyenyane feela ka mekete e tla tshwarwa hosasa ka letsatsi la Afrika. (Translation of Sesotho paragraph follows.)
[Ms K R MAGAU: Thank you, Chairperson. I greet all the hon members of the National Assembly. We will be discussing briefly this afternoon the celebrations that are to be held tomorrow, on Africa Day.]
Chairperson, firstly, I would like to welcome all the delegates who have arrived in South Africa to attend the Global African Diaspora Summit currently under way. This is an important and significant event for us as Africans, as Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said in her address to the ministerial meeting of the Global African Diaspora Summit on 23 May 2012, in that it symbolises a victory over colonialism and in our quest for Pan- African unity.
An important value within South African foreign policy is the concept of ubuntu, which is about humanity and the commitment to the establishment of mutually beneficial international partnerships. Premised on this principle of ubuntu, South Africa recognises itself as an integral part of the African continent and therefore understands its national interests as being intrinsically linked to Africa's stability, unity and prosperity. It is as a result of these values that South Africa focuses its resources on the continent's relations and missions in order to achieve peace and security on the continent through dialogue.
The strategic focus of South Africa's engagement on the African continent is to promote development, contribute to the resolution of conflicts and build an environment in which socioeconomic development can take place. In other words, the political circumstances of the continent should favour and be attractive to investment and development. It is for this reason, amongst other reasons, that we reject colonialism and other forms of oppression.
In this regard, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, commonly known as Nepad, has proven itself as a crucial African Union development tool for Africa's advancement. The New Partnership for Africa's Development is a pledge by African leaders, based on a common vision and a firm and shared conviction, that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and to place their countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development, as well as to participate effectively in the world economy and body politic.
This initiative is premised on African states making commitments to good governance, democracy and respect for human rights, while endeavouring to prevent and resolve situations of conflict and instability on the continent.
South Africa has always been at the forefront of this move to take on the developmental challenges of the continent from the conceptualisation of Nepad to its launch and, even now, at its revitalisation.
In spite of the fact that Africa ... Chairperson, the people on my left are conversing too loudly and they are disturbing me.
Hon members, please!
Especially the hon Waters. [Laughter.]
Hon members, please! This is a serious debate.
Okay, thank you, Chairperson. In spite of the fact that Africa is endowed with ample natural resources, the continent continues to rely on other developed states for economic support. Hence, we believe that it is the shared responsibility of Africans to ensure a shift in power relations in global governance and, most importantly, in economic relations. We are of the opinion that a change in the global economy can be altered by a change in existing trading paradigms by restructuring economies to support industrialisation and intra-African trade.
In this regard, we commend the leadership of our President, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, which he has demonstrated through his chairpersonship of the African Union Nepad Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative, in terms of which he is championing the North-South Road and Rail Corridor project. Such a project will open up trade relations between African states.
This is an illustration of the commitment that Mr President made this year in the state of the nation address. He committed that South Africa will contribute to participating in the revitalisation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development, with a specific focus on the implementation of its infrastructure programme.
As we celebrate Africa Day, we should strengthen our resolve to make the organisation of Africans, the African Union, stronger. The African Union is central to the realisation of the goals of the African Agenda. It is through its tools such as the African Peer Review Mechanism that the establishment of African solutions to African problems can be utilised. The African Peer Review Mechanism is a mutually agreed-to programme, voluntarily adopted by the member states of the African Union to promote and reinforce high standards of governance.
South Africa is committed to ensuring the full implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism. To further these ideals we have resolved to strategically position ourselves in the structures of the world in order to influence international policies through what we are best known for, and that is dialogue. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Hon members, we have a few more speakers to come and I sense the attention span is leaving us. It wouldn't be a bad thing if some of you who want to converse go outside. I'm talking about not disturbing the other speakers, please! I know that we have an attention span as adults, but that we sometimes lose it.
Chair, the ACDP joins people across Africa in celebrating Africa Day tomorrow. We have participated in the steering committee for Parliament's Africa Day celebration at Gallagher Estate and we will also attend the Global African Diaspora Summit hosted by the African Union. The Diaspora Summit will be attended by 64 heads of state. The ACDP hopes that these events will provide the envisaged strategic platform for heads of state to share in discussions which will help build relationships and contribute to a revival of our global African family.
Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity, currently recognised as the African Union. The AU has honoured South Africa by bringing the continent of Africa together on South African soil to celebrate and to share the collective and unique challenges we face in Africa, with armed conflict, climate change and poverty never being too far from our consciousness. Africa Day is a celebration of African unity and its diverse culture.
The ACDP welcomes this opportunity for South Africans not only to welcome African heads of state and guests from other continents, but also to reach out to the many foreign nationals residing in South Africa, developing meaningful conversations, which can bring us closer together in appreciation of our oneness and our unique differences.
Often it is those who have left the land of their forefathers that cling more tenaciously to the culture they have left behind than those who remain in their homeland adapting to changing circumstances. We hear so much about the brain drain. Perhaps these very people who make up the brain drain could be converted into brain gain by acting as talent accelerators for the homeland's next generation through mentoring, internships and other training and educational possibilities.
The celebration of African cultural renaissance through dialogue is valuable in and of itself, but can be so much more than just talking. So, happy Africa Day, everybody here today, and to everyone on the African continent, and to everyone who has Africa in their heart. Thank you. [Applause.]
House Chair, it is good and well that we have these debates like the one we are having today. Over the centuries Africans have had very little to celebrate. The legacy of oppression and colonialism mean that Africa still has very little to celebrate. The spotlight is always on our conflicts, poverty, lack of resources, dying economies and diseases. It would be no surprise that elsewhere people think of Africa as a place of doom, even though all these problems are universal in nature and can be found in any region anywhere in the world.
But, today, even if it is just for today, we intend to celebrate Africa - the mother continent - where human life is said to have begun. When we celebrate Africa, we celebrate the essence of humanity, we celebrate life. We celebrate the beauty of our continent, of our being; we celebrate all that makes us African. We celebrate our landscapes - oh, our beautiful lands ... [Applause.] ... our gorgeous mountains and hills, our rivers and streams, our dark forests, the changing colours of the soil, the richness of our lands. We celebrate our languages, the beauty in our clicks, our art in choosing words, our art in dialogue which infuses values in the choice of words: if you address a child your choice of words differs from when you address an adult but you are saying the same thing with exactly the same meaning. [Applause.]
We choose different mediums to address different issues - that is our art. Our compassion and our passion are worthy of celebration. Most of what we say is infused with such passion. Our passion is what gives us the hope that, regardless of challenges we may be facing today, we shall triumph; we shall overcome, because that is the essence of humanity. It's the essence of Africans. Thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, although South Africa is an African country geographically, economically and culturally it remains a European colonial outpost. Nothing highlights economic colonialism better than the ownership of the means of production, commencing with the land question.
Currently, Azania is not owned by Azanians. It is owned by the descendants of Maria and Jan van Riebeeck and the 1820 British settlers, together with global forces. The descendants of Doman, Adam Kok, Moshoeshoe, Shaka, Makhado, Hintsa, Ngungunyana, Khama and Sekhukhune own nothing or very little in the land of their forebears.
Africa Day should be an occasion to remind ourselves that the riches of Mother Africa are not controlled by Africans. This must be corrected. Malibuye izwe lethu! [Our land must be returned to us.]
Culturally, we want to make Africa a little Europe. The shameful public insult of Msholozi is not just an attack on the Presidency, it is greater than that. It is an assault of humanity and African personality. It has all the trademarks of white supremacy, now mutating into liberalism. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Chairperson, ibuyile i-Afrika. [Africa has returned.] I would like to salute the heroes and heroines of the African liberation who met on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to form the Organisation of African Unity, the OAU. They had a vision of a united Africa and of developing an African economic community. They prophesied the African Diaspora that is happening today.
I will be speaking about the role of cultural integration and Africanism, linked to the development of an African economy. Cultural integration simply means the way of life of the members of a society, how they dress, their marriage customs, their food, and their religious ceremonies. Cultural integration is also a form of cultural interaction in which immigrants retain their culture, showing tolerance of cultural values of other nations and assimilating these. It is a relationship between the different cultures when they come together.
Globalisation has led to the intense and massive movement of people across borders, as they travel with their cultures and become integrated into host communities. This promotes tolerance and respect for others. If that is mastered, we can win the battle over Afrophobia, xenophobia and racism, and we will be on the right track to develop the economy of the African continent, strengthen the spirit of Africanism, the African Renaissance and the Nepad regional integration agenda. This also regards the Maphungubwe heritage route that connects the SADC countries.
But if you have people like Brett Murray, who are uncultured, displaying works of art at the Goodman Gallery that offend African people, particularly blacks, then this will never be achieved. Our Constitution must not be twisted so that people can infringe the rights of fellow citizens. Such disrespect is a sign of foolishness. Why didn't he paint the apartheid leaders and presidents who murdered African people? Why didn't he hang paintings of the Bothas in indoor galleries? Why didn't he paint the Verwoerds and the Vorsters, who killed our people?
President Zuma is a President, a father, a husband and a citizen of South Africa. He fought for freedom alongside African leaders that we are honouring this month. The ANC taught us not to hate perpetrators, but to forgive them. Such actions have the potential to throw this country back again into racial hatred and anarchy.
Regarding developing an African economy, Africans were skilled and civilised before those who came here with boats and ships claimed that they bought civilisation to Africa. The African nation had its own talents. This is proved by the pyramids, the Sphinx, the Bushmen and the Khoi paintings, and by the crafts, beadwork and artefacts.
You needed science to build the pyramids - it was African science. You needed science to make beads, and you do braids with mathematics. That is African mathematics. We were healed by African traditional doctors, not medical doctors from universities, as they claim. Now they proclaim that the black culture is inferior. Africans are masters in arts and painting, and in carving wood and stone.
We made different clothing for our own different cultural groups without anyone coming along with civilised clothing. We wove baskets, and whatever we do we use it as a message for health and to support the gifted. They say that our herbs are wrong, but they are currently using them in modern medicine. Our music has been our heritage and when we were in slavery it united us. Let us promote it by purchasing it and supporting our African talent - few of the younger generation can play the concertina, which was part of the music played.
Let us promote our own unique talents and have our own unique civilisation for Africans. The African heritage and the indigenous knowledge systems must be promoted. Now, we can't even go to our own places where the Khoisan lived, because it is now claimed that they belong to people from Europe. Let us fight to get them back for Africa. Let us promote and speak our own African languages and encourage books to be written. Let us have African publishing companies as the current ones don't want to publish in African languages, even though they are in Africa.
In order for us to uplift the economy, we need to embrace Africanism and start by wearing our clothes. I am wearing European clothing, and that's wrong. We must wear what is made in Africa. We must be cross-cultural and be identified by our brands.
Kufanele sinxibe imibhaco, sinxibe ixibelani, sinxibe izacholo. [We must wear isiXhosa traditional skirts, Shangaan traditional skirts and traditional bangles.]
When we have our weddings, we must - culturally - make them more than the important white dress. If there is a bigger demand, there will be more supply and job creation opportunities.
In India, even after independence, Indian women continued to wear saris as they are made of their own national cloth. The cloth is money. Let us drink umqombothi [traditional beer] and do braiding, dreadlocks and plaiting like me. Let us go back to the basics, and stop wearing imported weaves that we don't even know which country they come from. It is made from somebody's hair somewhere. [Interjections.] [Laughter.] Our houses must be decorated with African paintings and crafts. Let us identify ourselves before we lose our identity.
Africa is not about colour, but about what is in your heart. To develop our economy, trade amongst African countries must be strengthened, crass materialism must be eliminated and our own unique talents must be promoted. We tend to protect the tangible heritage and leave aside our intangible heritage, which is very important to the development of our economy.
Regarding the concept of co-operatives in communities, we must go back to farming. There was no pollution when Africans farmed. Let the indigenous knowledge systems be passed on from generation to generation. There is a lot of wealth, skills and knowledge which must be culturally integrated. Let us embrace the transfer of skills. There are some foreign nationals that come here with rich and scarce artistic skills from all African regions. If cultural integration can be handled well across the African continent, people can learn from one another. The transfer of skills will lead to improvement in terms of arts and culture products. This will lead to economic development and job creation. Let us embrace what is in the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance.
As we celebrate Africa Day, we call on all Africans to stand up, defend and preserve their cultural heritage. Africans must not be exploited. Let us sing, dance and honour our heroes. I call on young Africans, black and white. As I said, being African is not about colour. Let us move away from the past. These old people are still trapped in the past. Let us take this generation of Africa forward.
Now, I would like to honour our heroes of Africa: Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Thomas Sankara, Winnie Mandela, Samora Machel, Kenneth Kaunda, Jomo Kenyatta and many more who stood in this arena. [Interjections.] I will not be told whom to mention; he was not there in 1963. We honour every African that played a role.
Siyabonga, asihlanganeni e-Midrand kusasa sibe bahle. Singama-Afrika ngeke sijike. Bab'uMphahlele sizoyinqoba le ndaba uma nje sihlangene. Ngiyabonga. Amandla! [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Thank you. Let us meet well dressed in Midrand. We are Africans and we will remain that way. Mr Mphahlele, we will only overcome this if we are united. Thank you. Amandla! [Applause.]]