President Cyril Ramaphosa says gender-based violence (GBV) is not part of South Africa’s traditions, customs or heritage during his 2020 Heritage Day virtual keynote address.
He also called on society to continue fighting against gender-based violence (GBV), amid public outrage over a recent string of crimes against women and children.
“So long as this country’s women and children live in fear of violence, we cannot regard ourselves as totally free. So long as women are being harassed, abused, beaten, raped and murdered, we cannot say we are a civilised society. Abusing women is not our tradition, nor is it our custom, it is not and will never be our heritage. Throughout the history of our continent women have built and shaped our society. We must put an end to this terrible shame that is tainting the image of our country,” says Ramaphosa
He also commended those seeking traditional medicinal techniques to help find a cure to the coronavirus (COVID-19), this as the world races to find a vaccine against the virus.
South Africa remains among the top ten countries with the most COVID-19 cases – having recorded over 665 000 infections.
Heritage Day amid COVID-19 pandemic
Ramaphosa says, “This year’s Heritage Day is taking place in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has taken a toll on human life, communities and our economy and in this time of the pandemic, we have seen the knowledge of the medicinal plants increase. As much as we join the international community in the search for diagnostics and therapeutics and a vaccine, we are also looking at the real and important contribution of indigenous knowledge systems – particularly traditional medicine – can play in improving the health outcomes of our people.”
“In the wake of COVID-19, and well into the future, it will remain our singular concern to recover from this crisis and rebuild our lives and economy. We will continue to strive to eradicate poverty, inequality and under-development. We will continue to uphold the rights of all our people, to practise their cultures, speak their languages and practise their traditions. We will continue to support every effort to preserve our common heritage as well as those of individual communities,” added Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa virtually addresses 2020 Heritage Day
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