Ramaphosa: Remove Racist Statues. President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged his support to a campaign which aims to have all statues representing the apartheid era removed. During his virtual Heritage Day address he said that “monuments glorifying our divisive past should be repositioned and relocated”. “This has generated controversy, with some saying we are trying to erase our history. Building a truly non-racial society means being sensitive to the lived experiences of all this country’s people. We make no apologies for this because our objective is to build a united nation.” Ramaphosa acknowledged that South Africa has a history of prejudice and exclusion, and continued that since 1994, the country had worked to transform its heritage landscape. Renaming towns and cities was part of this transition, as well as the erection of new statues and monuments. The campaign to remove these statues is gaining momentum quickly.
Ramaphosa urged South Africans to uphold the rights of all people and to protect indigenous languages and cultures. South Africa is among the world’s top 10 worst affected countries by the pandemic, and the president urged citizens to start working towards rebuilding the economy and recovering from the global crisis. “We will recover from this crisis and rebuild our lives and our economy. We will continue to strive to eradicate poverty, inequality and underdevelopment. We will continue to uphold the rights of all our people to practice their cultures, to speak their languages and to practice their traditions.” Ramaphosa commended healers using traditional medicine in an attempt to find a cure for the virus. “In as much as we join the international community and search for diagnostics and therapeutics, we are also looking at the real and important contribution indigenous knowledge systems, particularly traditional medicine can play in improving the life outcomes of our people.”