Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has called on South Africans to unite in confronting racism, gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and other intolerances such as tribalism and anti-foreigner sentiments.

“Reconciliation is not about being cosy with each other, having a good feeling and ticking the boxes. It is about the fundamental issue of confronting racism and ensuring that we do not teach our young ones to normalise racism,” Mthethwa said.

The Minister made these remarks on Wednesday at the launch of Reconciliation Month in Cape Town, which is being celebrated under the theme, “United against racism and Gender Based Violence and other intolerances”.

Given the real risk of dislocation and the human need for healing, the Department Sport, Arts and Culture launched the month through the national dialogue on Racism, Reconciliation, and GBVF.

“We are not going to heal the divisions of the past by peppering over the cracks; we will have to have these very difficult conversations.

“There is no culture which allows or condones the killing of women in this country. It cannot be culture because we need to go where the problem is… the gender roles that we give our kids,” the Minister said.

He encouraged men to have conversations with their sons as women are being raped and killed.

“Women are crying out, women are marching, what are we saying as men? What are we doing as men? Let us ease the burden on the shoulders of women, let’s take responsibility as men.

“Let us have a mass movement of revolutionaries who are going to revolutionise the way we think about how we relate to other people and other understand that GBVF and racism is painful,” Mthethwa said.

As part of efforts to heal the divisions of the past, government has focused on transforming the country’s heritage landscape.

“We cannot have the majority of the people in this country who are the formerly oppressed majority to be a cultural minority in public spaces, that in itself is part of the healing process,” the Minister said.

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