THE THINGS THAT UNITE US
- OUR PEACEFUL NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION
- OUR CONSTITUTION
- OUR NATIONAL SYMBOLS
- The National Flag
- The National Anthem
- The National Coat of Arms
- OUR ICONS
- Nelson Mandela
- Desomnd Tutu
- OUR NATIONAL SPORTS
- Our sporting achievements
- The FIFA World Cup 2010
- PRIDE IN OUR COUNTRY
- South Africa’s World Heritage Sites
- South Africa – the cradle of modern man
- South Africa’s natural beauty
- South Africa’s natural resources
- PRIDE IN OUR ACHIEVEMENTS
- Economic achievements
- Social achievements
- Business achievements
- OUR SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP
- Service organizations
- The Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards
The F W de Klerk Foundation decided to dedicate its second 2 February conference to the theme of the things that unite us as South Africans. In doing so, it is not our intention to pretend that there are not many issues that still divide us – or that South Africa is not faced with enormous challenges and problems. None of us can escape the reality of continuing inequality; massive unemployment; dismal educational performance; service delivery problems, crime and corruption. We cannot avoid these realities because they confront us every time we open a newspaper or watch the evening news or sit down to dinner with our friends.
However, in the process we are sometimes inclined to forget the enormous progress that we have made in the past twenty years; we do not remember the seemingly hopeless situation of the mid-80s from which all escaped; and we lose sight of the many things that unite us as South Africans.
Our objective is accordingly to draw attention to the unifying forces in our society and to the enormous progress that we have made since 1994. We have identified the following unifying forces: firstly, our remarkable achievement in succeeding to solve our intractable historic conflict through peaceful negotiations; secondly, the excellent Constitution that emerged from the negotiations; thirdly, the national symbols that we have adopted since 1994; fourthly, the unifying role played by national icons like Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu; fifthly, the role that sport – and particularly the 2010 FIFA World Cup – has played in promoting national unity; sixthly and seventhly the pride that we share in our country and in our achievements; eighthly, the role or religion in uniting us; ninthly, the reality that whether we like it or not we are all mutually dependent; and lastly, the fact that South Africans really do practise Ubuntu through the daily caring, sharing and contributions of millions of our people.
F W de Klerk
THE ROOTS OF OUR DISUNITY
Some countries are born nations; some achieve nationhood and some have nationhood thrust upon them.
Traditionally, the nation state was a geographic unit that included a single homogenous population with common cultural, linguistic, religious and historical roots. Such nations generally had little trouble in establishing firm foundations for national unity. Their peoples spoke the same languages; revered the same heroes; commemorated the same historic events; and participated in the same cultural festivities and traditions.
Some peoples have achieved nationhood on the basis of shared conventions. A prime example is the United States where the original indigenous population was swamped by tens of millions of immigrants from Europe, Africa, Latin America and – more recently – Asia. They came together on the basis of the political freedom that was guaranteed in the Constitution and the economic freedom that was isorgani in free markets. Everyone accepted English as the common language, even though Germans comprise the largest ancestral group. On this basis Americans have developed an overarching identity; a strong sense of national unity; and genuine patriotism – regardless of their original countries of origin.
Other peoples had nationhood thrust upon them. Among these are most of the countries of Africa whose borders were drawn by European imperialists in Berlin in 1885 with scant or no consideration of the populations involved. Some ethnic groups were artificially divided by the new borders; others were arbitrarily lumped together with traditional enemies. The border between Kenya and Tanzania still has a kink around Mt Kilimanjaro, because Queen Victoria reportedly wanted to give her nephew, the Kaiser, the continent’s highest mountain, as an imperial birthday present. Many of Africa’s recent and continuing conflicts have had their roots in these artificial borders.
The Old South Africa had nationhood thrust upon it in 1910 when the Union of South Africa was created. During the preceding century Britain – in what the historian Sir John Seeley described as a fit of absent-mindedness – gained dominion over most of southern Africa. Indeed, the central theme during this period was the relentless conquest by Britain of the three dominant independent peoples of the region – first the Xhosa, then the Zulus and finally, the Afrikaners.
At the beginning of the twentieth century Britain found itself in possession of an untidy – and often vexatious – ragbag of territories and colonies in the sub-continent. What to do with them? It concluded that the best solution would be to apply the prescription that had recently worked so well in Canada and Australia, where separate colonies had been consolidated into tidy federations. Why not try the same approach in South Africa?
Unfortunately, the situations were entirely different: in Canada and Australia the indigenous populations were small and isorganized and the settlers – with various admixtures of English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh – shared the same broad British culture and values. In South Africa the indigenous population was a large majority that comprised coherent and formidable nations (the Zulus had, after all, inflicted a crushing defeat on the British army at Ishlandwana in 1878). The white population was fractious and had only just emerged from a devastating war that had laid waste much of the country and killed a sizable portion of the Afrikaner population. There was no common language; no common history; and few common aspirations. Worse still – without any consultation and without their consent – sovereignty over the black national groups was transferred to white South Africans whose main interests lay in warding off any political and economic threat that their new subjects might pose.
There was no basis for national unity. The subsequent fifty years were marked by a continuing struggle for dominance between the two white peoples – with Afrikaners intent on re-establishing their lost republics and English-speaking South Africans determined to maintain their ties with Britain.
With the independence of most of the African colonies after 1960 the political focus shifted from disunity between the white communities to the growing tensions and divisions with black South Africans. One’s politics were determined by one’s definition of who comprised the South African nation: for rightwing Afrikaners, the nation was the ‘volk’; for moderate Afrikaners and for most English-speaking South Africans, the nation comprised whites. For liberal whites and for the ANC it was everyone in South Africa. For the PAC it was the blacks.
From the 1960s onward, these different perceptions of who constituted the South African nation led to deepening division and escalating conflict. The National Party – in pursuit of its ideology of ethnic self-determination – tried to impose separate nationalities on all South Africa’s constituent peoples. However, its approach – which allocated only 13% of the country to 79% of the people and severely restricted the rights of ‘non-whites’ living in the so-called ‘white areas’ (the remaining 87% of the country) – was vehemently rejected by the majority of South Africans
During the mid-1980s South Africa experienced escalating internal conflict and tightening international isolation. By 1986 the National Party had begun to accept that its policies had failed; that attempts to ‘reform apartheid’ would not succeed – and that the country’s problems could be addressed only by accepting the principle of a united, non-racial South Africa in which all citizens would enjoy equal constitutional rights.
In 1990, representatives of all South Africa’s communities came together to try to create a new national framework in which all the people who inhabited the country would be included on a basis of equality and mutual respect. They reached agreement on common values and aspirations as well as on the rights that all South Africans should enjoy. They agreed that all our languages should enjoy parity of esteem and that everyone should have the right to practise the culture and use the language of their choice. These agreements were enshrined in the 1993 and 1996 Constitutions.
In effect, South Africans succeeded in changing their country from one onto which nationhood had been thrust, into one in which nationhood and unity would be achieved on the basis of shared values and aspirations. Like the United States, they wanted to unite peoples from widely diverging cultures and histories on the basis of the values, vision and rights that are articulated a written Constitution.
- OUR PEACEFUL NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION
The foundations of our national unity were laid in the critical years between 1989 and 1994.
During this period South Africans said ‘No!’ to the violence and escalating conflict that were tearing the country apart. After centuries of conflict and division they reached across the political and racial barriers that divided them and slowly, tentatively began to engage with one another as fellow South Africans.
They entered into a process of negotiations that included representatives of all the political parties with significant support in South Africa. Everybody was welcome to participate.
For the first time in their history all South Africans spoke to one another as equals about the future of our country. The more they talked, the more they discovered that the perceptions they had developed of one another were based on stereotypes. They found that the vast majority of South Africans wanted similar things: they wanted peace; freedom; justice, equality, a better life for their children; economic prosperity; decent jobs; proper education; and peaceful coexistence with South Africans from other communities. Naturally, they differed on how these goals should be achieved – and they continued to argue about the past: but increasingly they were united about the kind of future they wanted for themselves and for their children.
It was there – in the negotiating forums of CODESA and the NATIONAL NEGOTIATING FORUM – that South Africans began to find one another and to lay the foundation for a new, overarching national unity. The first major commitment to national unity was included in the CODESA Declaration of Intent which was adopted in December, 1991.
“….an undivided South Africa with one nation sharing a common citizenship, patriotism and loyalty, pursuing amidst our diversity, freedom, equality and security for all irrespective of race, colour, sex or creed; a country free from apartheid or any other form of discrimination or domination.”
|DECLARATION OF INTENT
We, the duly authorised representatives of political parties, political organizations, administrations and the South African Government, coming together at this first meeting of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa, mindful of the awesome responsibility that rests on us at this moment in the history of our country,
declare our solemn commitment:
· to bring about an undivided South Africa with one nation sharing a common citizenship, patriotism and loyalty, pursuing amidst our diversity, freedom, equality and security for all irrespective of race, colour, sex or creed; a country free from apartheid or any other form of discrimination or domination;
· to work to heal the divisions of the past, to secure the advancement of all, and to establish a free and open society based on democratic values where the dignity, worth and rights of every South African are protected by law;
· to strive to improve the quality of life of our people through policies that will promote economic growth and human development and ensure equal opportunities and social justice for all South Africans;
· to create a climate conducive to peaceful constitutional change by eliminating violence, intimidation and destabilization and by promoting free political participation, discussion and debate;
· to set in motion the process of drawing up and establishing a constitution that will ensure, inter alia:
We, the representatives of political parties, political organizations and administrations, further solemnly commit ourselves to be bound by the agreements of CODESA and in good faith to take all such steps as are within our power and authority to realise their implementation. We, the South African Government, declare ourselves to be bound by agreements we reach together with other participants in CODESA in accordance with the standing rules and hereby commit ourselves to the Implementation thereof within our capacity, powers and authority.
Finally, on 20 December 1993 – and despite violence, assassinations and walk-outs by leading parties – the National Negotiating Forum reached agreement on an Interim Constitution. For the first time in history all South Africans would enjoy full and equal rights in a non-racial constitutional democracy. After more than 350 years, the foundations had a last been laid for national unity and reconciliation.
The successful outcome of the constitutional negotiations and the peaceful resolution of the seemingly hopeless conflict and division that had characterized so much of South African history were widely regarded by the international community as a ‘miracle’. Apart from establishing the prospect of peace, harmony and prosperity for South Africans, our peaceful transformation was an inspiration to divided societies everywhere.
The pursuit of national unity, the well-being of all South African citizens and peace require reconciliation between the people of South Africa and the reconstruction of society.
|National Unity and Reconciliation (the closing paragraph of the 1993 Constitution)
This Constitution provides a historic bridge between the past of a deeply divided society characterised by strife, conflict, untold suffering and injustice, and a future founded on the recognition of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence and development opportunities for all South Africans, irrespective of colour, race, class, belief or sex. The pursuit of national unity, the well-being of all South African citizens and peace require reconciliation between the people of South Africa and the reconstruction of society.
The adoption of this Constitution lays the secure foundation for the people of South Africa to transcend the divisions and strife of the past, which generated gross violations of human rights, the transgression of humanitarian principles in violent conflicts and a legacy of hatred, fear, guilt and revenge.
These can now be addressed on the basis that there is a need for understanding but not for vengeance, a need for reparation but not for retaliation, a need for ubuntu but not for victimisation.
In order to advance such reconciliation and reconstruction, amnesty shall be granted in respect of acts, omissions and offences associated with political objectives and committed in the course of the conflicts of the past. To this end, Parliament under this Constitution shall adopt a law determining a firm cut-off date, which shall be a date after 8 October 1990 and before 6 December 1993, and providing for the mechanisms, criteria and procedures, including tribunals, if any, through which such amnesty shall be dealt with at any time after the law has been passed.
With this Constitution and these commitments we, the people of South Africa, open a new chapter in the history of our country.
Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika. God seën Suid-Afrika
Morena boloka sechaba sa heso. May God bless our country
Mudzimu fhatutshedza Afrika. Hosi katekisa Afrika
The Interim Constitution provided the framework for South Africa’s first fully democratic and inclusive national elections on 27 April 1994.
The National Assembly that South Africans elected in April, 1994 also sat as a Constitutional Assembly which was tasked with the responsibility of drawing up a final Constitution. As required by the 1993 Constitution, the new Constitution would have to comply with 35 immutable constitutional principles. The newly established Constitutional Court would have to certify that the new constitution complied with these principles before it could come into effect.
The 1996 Constitution is significant for the establishment of national unity because it went beyond establishment of the structures required for democratic government: it also articulated the values on which the new South Africa would be built and presented a national vision toward which all South Africans should aspire.
The 1996 Constitution, in a very real sense, is a solemn accord which creates the basis for our national unity.
In the Preamble, the Constitution spells out a vision of the kind of society that we should become:
“We, therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic, so as to:
- Heal the divisions of the past;
- Establish as society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental rights;
- Lay the foundations of a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is protected by the law;
- Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential in each person; and
- Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place in the family of nations.”
According tot he Founding Provisions of the Constitution “the Republic of South Africa is one, sovereign, democratic state founded on the following values”:
- human dignity;
- the achievement of equality;
- the advancement of human rights and freedoms.
- non-racialism and non-sexism.
- supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law.
- universal adult suffrage, a national common voters rol,and regular elections;
- a multi-party system of democratic government;
- accountability, responsiveness and openness;
- the invalidity of law or conduct inconsistent with the Constitution;
- the fulfillment of the obligations imposed by the Constitution;
- a common South African citizenship.
- equality of all citizens in respect of the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship;
- equality of all citizens in respect of the duties and responsibilities of citizenship;
- the recognition of eleven official languages all of which must enjoy parity of esteem and must be treated equitably.
THE BILL OF RIGHTS
In addition, our national unity is based on the enjoyment of the following 27 rights:
- Human dignity
- The right to life
- Freedom and security of the person
- Freedom from slavery, servitude or forced labour
- Freedom of religion, belief and opinion
- Freedom of expression
- Freedom of Assembly, demonstration, picket and petition
- Freedom of association
- Political rights
- Freedom of movement and residence
- Freedom of trade, occupation and profession
- Labour rights.
- Environmental rights.
- The Right not to be arbitrarily deprived of property
- The right to Housing
- The Right to Health care, food, water and social security
- Children’s rights
- The right to Education
- Language and cultural rights
- The rights of Cultural, religious and linguistic communities
- Access to information
- The right to Just administrative action
- Access to courts
- The Rights of arrested, detained and accused persons
- OUR NATIONAL SYMBOLS
THE NATIONAL FLAG
The National Flag was first flown on 27 April 1994. The flag includes combinations of colours that resonate with the history of all South Africa’s communities. The V form converging into a single horizontal band is indicative of the unification of South Africa’s various peoples. The flag was designed by Fred Brownell, the head of the former heraldic unit.
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
The National Anthem is also a manifestation of the unification of South Africa’s different historic traditions.
Its first two stanzas nclude, in isiXhosa, isiZulu and Sesotho the beautiful hymn, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika that was composed by Enoch Sontonga in 1897. The thirs and fourth stanzas, in Afrikaans and English, come from South Africa’s old national anthem Die Stem van Suid-Afrika (The Call of South Africa) which was written by CJ Langenhoven in 1918 with music composed by the Rev M L de Villiers in 1921.
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika
(God Bless Africa)
Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo,
(Raise high Her glory)
Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
(Hear our Prayers)
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo
(God bless us, we her children)
(isiXhosa and isiZulu)
Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso,
(God protect our nation)
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,
(End all wars and tribulations)
O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso,
(Protect us, protect our nation)
Setjhaba sa South Afrika – South Afrika.
(Our nation South Africa – South Africa)
Uit die blou van onse hemel,
(Ringing out from our blue heavens)
Uit die diepte van ons see,
(From the depth of our seas)
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
(Over our everlasting mountains)
Waar die kranse antwoord gee,
(Where the echoing crags resound)
Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom,
In South Africa our land.
THE NATIONAL COAT OF ARMS
Unity is also the central theme of the National Coat of Arms. The motto : !ke e: /xarra //ke, means “diverse people unite” in the /Xam Khoisan language. The central figures are derived from rock paintings illustrating San figures speaking to one another. The elephant tusks represent wisdom and strength and the Secreatry Bird is a symbol of majesty and protection.
The Coat of Arms also serves as the Great Seal of South Africa and is used by the President to approve official documents. The present National Coat of Arms came into effect on 27 April 2000.
- OUR ICONS
“Each of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.”
Nelson Mandela dedicated much of his presidency to reconciliation and the promotion of national unity. He earned the admiration of many white South Africans when he went to the Afrikaner settlement of Orania on 4 September 1995 to have a cup of tea with Betsie Verwoerd, the widow of Hendrik Verwoerd who had been one of the prime architects of apartheid. He also visited former President P W Botha at his retirement home in the Wilderness.
President Mandela’s most memorable gesture of reconciliation came at the final match of the 1995 Rugby World Cup when he donned the Springbok rugby jersey – despite the rejection of the springbok emblem by many of his own supporters,
It was Desmond Tutu who created the definitive image of South Africa’s unity in diversity – the image of the Rainbow People of God. The image encapsulates the beauty of diversity in the harmony and promise of the rainbow.
President Mandela endorsed the image in a speech in May, 1994, soon after assuming the Presidency
Archbishop Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, was also the Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. When he presented the TRC Report to President Mandela on 29 October 1998 he concluded with the following remarks:
“We will have looked the beast in the eye. We will have come to terms with our horrendous past and it will no longer keep us hostage. We will cast off its shackles and, holding hands together, black and white will stride into the future, the glorious future God holds out before us – we who are the Rainbow people of God – and looking at our past we will commit ourselves: Never again! Nooit weer nie! Ngeke futhi! Ga reno tlola!”
Sport has been one of the most powerful unifying factors for the emerging multicultural South African nation.
- South Africa’s fairytale victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup – and President Mandela’s historic gesture in donning the Spriingbok rugby jersey – was one of the seminal moments in the creation of our new national identity. Its dissemination throughout the world through the movie ‘Invictus’ has become an international symbol of reconciliation emerging national unity.
- All South Africans rallied around the national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, after its victory in the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996.
- South Africans have also united behind our national cricket team. In 2009 our test cricket team was ranked first in the world and is currently ranked second.
- South Africans from all our communities united once again behind the Springboks in their 2007 Rugby World Cup Victory in France.
- South Africa’s golfers have repeatedly distinguished themselves in the golf arena. Since 1994 they have won more major titles than the golfers of any other country except the United States.
- IN 2009 South Africa’s men swimmers held more five world records – more than all other countries – with the exceptions of the United States and Australia.
- However, the FIFA World Cup – which South Africa successfully hosted in 2010 – arguably did ore to promote national unity than any other event in our short history.
|THE LEGACY OF THE FIFA WORLD CUP
(Excerpt from a speech that F W de Klerk delivered in London on 8 September 2010).
Six years ago the Fairy Godmother – in the guise of Sepp Blatter – waved a magic wand, and announced that South Africa had been chosen to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. For the first time in history, Africa – the Cinderella continent – had been chosen to host the world’s premier sporting event.
Mind you, had it not been for a little legerdemain and the mysterious voting of the FIFA representative from Oceana, South Africa – and not Germany – would have hosted the preceding World Cup in 2006. President Nelson Mandela who had attended the announcement in 1999 with great expectations, remarked laconically “Ah well… there evidently were some aspects of the end game that we South Africans did not fully understand.” So, in 2004, it was Africa’s turn. Sepp Blatter had all but promised that no more ugly first-world stepsisters would be permitted to jump the queue.
From that moment the countdown started. Would South Africa be able to make the grade? Would an African country actually be able to deliver a top class world event? Would we be able to turn our third world pumpkins and mice into of the glittering stadiums, airports and infrastructure that the event would require? The world was sceptical. We heard again the old familiar choruses that precede all major global sporting events, wherever they are held: The stadiums would not be ready; security was inadequate; the infra-structure of airports, railways and roads would simply not be able to cope.
Despite all this, Danny Jordaan, the Chairman of the local organizing committee, and his team made steady progress. Magnificent new stadiums were built – and old ones were renovated and refurbished. New highways and rapid transit systems were constructed. South Africa’s major airports were vastly expanded and modernized. After years of being cocooned in hoardings and scaffolds, Cape Town’s new international airport emerged just before the World Cup like a gigantic crystal butterfly. In our major cities large clocks counted down the days to the opening match on 11 June.
Our leading companies jumped onto the bandwagon and helped to sweep up national support. Government, opposition, religious and civil society leaders embraced one another and exhorted the nation to make a success of the event. Unprecedented security arrangements were made and special courts were established to dispense swift justice to law-breakers.
In the process, South Africans also learned that the FIFA fairy godmother was not motivated solely by altruism. She made it clear that she – and she alone – would choose Cinderella’s ball gown and accessories. Apparently unconcerned about any practical implications, Sepp Blatter insisted that the Cape Town Stadium should be built in Green Point – because he thought it would look pretty with Table Mountain as its backdrop. The City would rather have upgraded the existing Newlands Stadium – or built a new stadium at Culembourg, close to existing rail and road routes. However, FIFA was adamant that it would either be Green Point – or there would be no games in Cape Town at all.
Nevertheless, it worked.
For a glorious month South Africans laid down the burden of our divided history and joined one another in a magnificent national festival.
Once we had been knocked out, South Africans switched their allegiance whole-heartedly and without reservation to Africa’s best remaining hope, Ghana. Black South Africans were surprised that nearly all whites identified with Africa – with Baghana, Baghana – rather than with England or some other European country
But as with all fairy tales the clock struck twelve. Cinderella had to scurry down the palace steps, and confront again the harsh realities of our national life. The party was over. The bunting was removed. Our national attention shifted from the empty stadiums to the continuing poverty and inequality in which too many South Africans continue to live. The vuvuzelas were silent. Strident voices again began to dominate the national discourse.
Nevertheless, during those four weeks we had successfully changed international perceptions of our country.
Unfortunately, since then we South Africans have been attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. On the soccer field of international opinion we have been resolutely scoring one own goal after another. The situation is back to normal. Cinderella is back in the kitchen, sitting on the ash-heap. The FIFA fairy godmother has flown off to her next assignment in Brazil – weighed down by almost two hundred million dollars in profits. The Afro-pessimists have returned in strength, confident that South Africa’s World Cup success was just a flash in the pan.
However, we South Africans have always been much more realistic than that.
We did not expect that the World Cup would change the underlying realities of South Africa – and it did not. Anyone who expected such outcomes would really have to believe in fairy tales.
However, by the same token, all these developments have not seriously undermined the strengths that made the World Cup success possible. I am confident that we will once again prove the pessimists wrong.
The glorious weeks of the FIFA World Cup are receding further and further into our collective memory – but some things will remain,
- Including our ability to compete with the best in the world;
- Including the world-class infrastructure that was created for the event; and
- Including the natural beauty and the warmth and hospitality of our people that the World Cup has introduced to hundreds of millions of potential tourists.
As we all know, Cinderella, in her headlong flight down the palace steps, left something of her magic behind in the form of the crystal slipper that was retrieved by Prince Charming. The FIFA World Cup left us with a similar magic legacy: it is the shining vision of the brilliant, multifaceted nation we can and will become.
Almost 80% of South Africans are Christians; 1.5% are Moslems and there is a strong Jewish community. Many South Africans also continue to follow traditional beliefs.
The fact that so many South Africans share a common faith is also a source of unity that transcends ethnic differences. All the world’s major religions attach central importance to charity and to obligations to assist the poor and the needy.
- In many Christian denominations adherents are expected to pay a ‘tithe’, or a tenth of their income, to the Church. Assistance to the poor is also a central element in the teaching of Jesus.
- In Judaism there is a similar requirement – tzedakah to provide charity to the Jewish – and non-Jewish – poor.
- Zakaat – or charitable giving to the poor – is one of the five central commandments of Islam.
80% of cash charitable donations and 60% of donations of food and goods are channeled through churches – and Moslem and Jewish religious organizations. Cash donations to religious organizations amount to almost R750 million per month. Donations of money, goods and time through religious organizations represent the main channel through which South Africans of all races help their less fortunate compatriots. Most of the donations go the poor, to children and to people with AIDS. The following are some examples:
- Ma Afrika Tikkun is an NGO that embraces the Jewish value of Tzedakah and the African value of Ubuntu. Its goal is to uplift, build and ultimately transform peviously disadvantaged communities of South Africa. Among its other projects, it feeds 15 000 children every day.
- The Moslem organisation, the Gift of the Givers Foundation, is the largest disaster relief organisation of African origin on the African continent. It has delivered over R420 million in aid to 29 countries around the world, including South Africa
- The Salvation Army operates 375 centres throughout South Africa which each year provide 4 million meals and 600 000 bed nights to the poor and indigent.
- PRIDE IN SOUTH AFRICA
SOUTH AFRICA’S EIGHT WORLD HERITAGE SITES
- Cradle of Humankind (Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and Environs – 1999,2005) 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossil remains – dating back over the past four million years – have been found in this area. They comprise some of the most important australopethicine finds ever made – including 2.5 million-year-old ‘Mrs Ples’ – discovered by Dr Robert Broom in 1947; and 4-million-year-old ‘Little Foot’ found by Ronald Clarke and Philip Tobias in 1995.
- Robben Island (1999): the place of exile and imprisonment for political prisoners and leaders – including most notably Nelson Mandela – since the seventeenth century.
- Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape (2003) – the archeological site in Limpopo Province of one of South Africa’s early advanced cultures.
- uKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park (2000) – which includes hundreds of San rock art paintings.
- Cape Floral Region (2004) – which is one of only six floral kingdoms in the world, and the only one occurring entirely within one country. It includes 9 000 species of fynbos – more than all the species in tropical rainforests.
- iSimangaliso / Greater St Lucia Wetland National Park (1999) – which includes the largest protected wetland in southern Africa and a wide range of natural systems encompassing coastal forests, mangroves, dunes and coral reefs.
- Vredefort Dome (2005) – the site of the largest and most ancient visible meteorite impact – which contains a great variety of mineral deposits and structures.
- Richtersveld Cultural & Botanical Landscape (2007) – which includes mountainous semi-dessert terrain and unique botanical species.
SOUTH AFRICA – ONE OF THE EARLIEST SITES OF MODERN MAN
Some of the earliest remains of modern man (homo sapiens) dating from 120 00 BC. They include
- the earliest evidence of abstract thinking and art, dating from 70 000 BC, in the form of cross hatching decoration engraved on pieces of ochre;
- he earliest known jewelry in the form of a shell necklace, dating back 75 000 year;, and
- the earliest known tallying device, dating from 35 000 BC, which comprises a shoulder bone engraved with 29 notches.
It is now generally accepted that the Khoisan people of southern Africa have the oldest mitochondrial DNA of all humans that can be traced back 120 000 years. This suggests that modern humans came origionally from southern Africa.
SOUTH AFRICA’S TREASURE HOUSE OF MINERALS AND NATURAL RESOURCES
- South Africa is the world’s largest producer of chromium, ferrochrome, ferromanganese, platinum and vermiculite;
- It is the second largest producer of manganese, palladium, vanadium and zirconium minerals; the fourth largest producer of gold and the sixth largest producer of diamonds.
SOUTH AFRICA’S NATURAL BEAUTY
South Africa has some of the most beautiful beaches, mountains and natural spectacles in the world.
- Its game reserves and its enormous variety of wild life and birds are legendary.
- The cultural diversity of its people and its vibrant cities make South Africa an increasingly popular tourist destination.
- In 2008 tourism contributed 8.3% to South Africa’s gross domestic product – considerably more than mining.
- PRIDE IN OUR ACHIEVEMENTS
- Between 1994 and 2008 South Africa experienced fifteen years of uninterrupted economic growth – which reached 5.6% in 2007. In 2009 economic growth declined by 1.7% in the wake of the global economic crisis – but is expected to recover to approximately 3 % in 2010.
- South Africa’s GDP of US $ 547 billion on a PPP (purchasing power parity basis) makes it by far the largest economy in Africa – producing 37% of all Sub Saharan Africa’s GDP with only 7% of the region’s population.
- Government debt as a percentage of GDP has declined from 43.5% in 1994 to 22.2% in 2009. In 2004/05 and 2005/06 South Africa had a budget surplus.
- Real interest rates have fallen from 14.7% in 1998 to 4.6% in 2009.
- In 2008 South Africa produced almost 600 000 cars and trucks – of which 171 000 were exported. Few people realize that the automobile industry is now about the same size as the mining industry.
- Since 1994 the Government has built – or is the process of completing – more than 3 million housing units – enough to house a quarter of the population.
- Between 1994 and 3009
- the percentage of households with access to sanitation increased from 50% to 83%;
- the percentage of households with electricity increased from 50% to 75%.;
- the percentage with access to potable water increased from 64% to 97%.
- The infant mortality rates has declined from 55.5 per 1000 births to 7 per thousand births in 2010.
- Child immunization coverage has increased from 63% in 1998 to 95.5% in 2009.
- Despite generally poor education performance, the National Senior Certificate pass rate has improved from 58% in 1994 to 67% in 2010.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Compteitiveness Report (2010-11)
- South African companies have the strongest auditing and reporting standards in the world;
- South Africa has the best regulated securities exchanges in the world;
- South Africa’s financial institutions are second best in the world in terms of trustworthiness and confidence;
- The efficacy of corporate boards is second best in the world;
- The overall accountability of South African companies is third best in the world;
- South Africa’s financial market development is 9th best in the world;
WORLD CLASS COMPANIES
South Africa has a track record in developing world-class companies – particularly in mining, banking, insurance, luxury goods and retail. The following companies are South African or are closely associated with South Africa:
- BHP Billiton Plc the world’s largest mining company with sales of US$ 191 billion, arose from a merger between South African and Australian companies;
- Anglo-American Plc – which has its roots in South Africa – is the world’s fourth largest mining company with sales of US$ 47 billion;
- Anglo Platinum – the world’s largest producer of platinum group metals;
- SABMiller Inc – also with roots in South Africa – is the world’s second largest beer producer. It owns prominent brands such as Castle, Millers, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni and Grolsch;
- SASOL – the world’s leading synthetic fuel producer;
- Richemont Securities AG – which is one of the world’s leading luxury goods companies. Its interests include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Panerai and Montblanc;
- Giant insurance companies – including Old Mutual South Africa; Sanlam Ltd and the Liberty Group with combined assets in South Africa of hindreds of billions of rands;
- World-class banks – including FirstRand Ltd; Standard Bank, the ABSA Group Ltd and the Nedbank Group Ltd. South African banks were rated the 6th soundest in the world by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report;
- MTN is a multinational telecommunications group which has mobile licences in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East with 116 million subscribers in December 2009;
- Telkom – which is the largest integrated telecommunications company in Africa;
- The Shoprite Group of Companies, Africa’s largest food retailer, which operates 1166 corporate and 270 franchise outlets in 16 countries across Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, with a turnover of over US$ 10 billion in 2010; and
- Pick ‘n Pay – which is one of Africa’s largest retailers of food, general merchandise and clothing – with 775 stores and annual turnover of US $ 6.76-billion.
- OUR SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP
“South Africa’s collective future depends on the ability of all our people to understand that the success of black South Africa is conditional on the success of white South Africa, and that the success of white South Africa is conditional on the success of black South Africa”. President Thabo Mbeki, February 2005
One of the main factors that led to the collapse of apartheid was the growing awareness of economic interdependence between black and white South Africans. The absurdity of the idea that blacks and whites would be able to pursue separate economic destinies became apparent during 70s with the accelerating integration of the economy brought about by economic growth. Dependence of white businesses on black workers made it essential for the Government to reform South Africa’s labour system at the end of the 70s. The extension of real trade union rights to black workers following the Wiehahn reforms was a major step in the direction of the establishment of a non-racial South Africa.
In the new South Africa the economic, political and social destinies of South Africans of all races and all sectors of the economy are inextricably intertwined. It is impossible to imagine continuing economic growth and social development without the active participation of all our communities.
The symbiotic relationship between all sectors of the economy led to the decision to estblash NEDLAC in 1995 as a forum for consulation and communication between government, labou, business and civil society.
“Government, organised labour, organised business and community-based organisations need to develop and strengthen cooperative mechanisms to address the challenges facing our new democracy.”
“It does not matter whether you shoot a zebra in a white or a black stripe: the result is the same.” Old saying.
One of the strongest forces uniting South Africans is that we actually do practise Ubuntu. We care about one another – regardless of race, religion or cultural background.
According to an old Zulu maxim umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu – “a person is a person through (other) persons”. It is only by acting with humanity toward one’s fellow man that a person can be one with the spirit of his people and be worthy of veneration after his death.
This is the essence of the African spirit of shared humanity that is known as ‘ubuntu’. According to Archbishop Tutu Ubuntu ‘speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity’.
And yet it is not simply an African version of socialism. Nelson Mandela says that one aspect of Ubuntu was that strangers visiting a village would automatically be offered food and entertainment. However, “ubuntu did not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?”
For most black South Africans Ubuntu is not a detached social theory – it is a central facet of their lives – and for many it is their primary means of subsistence. There is an automatic reflex to share one’s good fortune – and wages, however small – with others. Many people in the poorer sectors of our society survive on the generosity of their employed relatives and friends – and even on the little that the older generation can spare from their meager pensions.
However, Ubuntu is not an approach to one’s fellow man that is limited to black South Africans. According to a recent survey of high net worth individuals in countries around the world South Africans were the second most generous group after Americans. They also gave more freely of their time to charitable work than people from all but three other countries. The survey ascribed their generosity to the spirit of Ubuntu on the one hand and to the enormous inequalities that continue to exist in our society on the other.
Unfortunately, the daily manifestation of Ubuntu by tens of thousands of South Africans in thousands of NGOs goes largely unreported and therefore unnoticed.
The following are just a few indications of Ubuntu in our society:
Thousands of South Africans belong to service organisations like Rotary International; Lions CLubs; Round Table and B’nai B’rith. They raise funds for a wide variety of social and and dedicate their time freely to the service of their communities. The following statement by an ordinary South African member of Rotary epitomizes the service culture that permeates the organization:
“Where else could I Help eliminate polio, while feeding the local hungry? Where else could I Help place the disabled in wheelchairs in Mexico while painting a local library? Where else could I Help provide clean water in poor villages while giving dictionaries to all of our city’s 3rd-graders? Where else could I Help fund micro-credit loans in Guatemala while putting diaper-changing tables in our Community Center? ”
WHY I AM A ROTARIAN
THE INYATHELO PHILANTHROPY AWARDS
“The Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards recognize individuals who have shown leadership and excellence in their personal philanthropy. The core aim of the Awards is to inspire South Africans at all economic levels to take responsibility for South Africa’s social development by giving what we can, by contributing as we can and by recognising ourselves in the philanthropic role models that these Awards applaud. The Awards demonstrate how each one of us, regardless of income, can make a difference to the lives of others.” The 2010 awards included
- student Refilo Seseane who founded an NGO that empowers young women;
- Noel de Villiers, who set up ‘Open Africa’ an NPO dedicated to the improvement and development of rural communities and conservation;
- Richard Mason, a best-selling author who established the Kay Mason Foundation to identify and support our future leaders through the provision of education bursaries for motivated kids who lack funds to access excellent education;
- Anthony and Carole Record who established and funded the Light from Africa Foundation to help address the problem of child-headed households. They support two children’s homes and have started a ceramics initiative to provide employment and to help to fund the Foundation
- Francois van Niekerk, who in 1982 established the Mergon Foundation to support sustainable social development in South Africa. Over the years he has transferred 70% of his business interests to the Foundation, whose shareholding is now in excess of 1 billion rand;
- Jonathan Schrire, who helped to reconcile two opposing community groups in Vrygrond in Cape Town to establish the Vrygrond Community Development Trust. The Trust has built houses, established preschools and primary school, and developed afor the 15 000 members of the community.
- Mark Solms and his partner, Richard Astor, who transferred equity in the Solms Delta wine Wijn de Caab Trust, whose beneficiaries are the farms residents and employees. The Trust has transformed housing, education and health care for the farm workers and residents.
- Ivonne and Tommie Gentle, who founded and run Gentle Care in Britstown which cares for the poor and sick from neighbouring communities.
- George Fatseas-Mazarakis and Karolina Andropoulos, who initiated the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Trust, which has raised R 74 million from companies and individuals to support the paediatric departments of South African hospitals.
- Linda Clement Twala, who established the Phuthaditjaba Community Centre in Alexndra Township. The Cntre accommodates a clinic, libraries, a sewing room, and a crèche and offers feeding schemes and computer training.
- Inyathelo also made a special award to Archbiship Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah for their lifelong commitment to philanthropic causes.
- In March, 2010 there were 65 633 registered Non Profit Organisations on the national data base.
- The Department of Social Services received 15 920 applications for NPO registration in 2009/10.
- NPOs collectively involve hundreds of thousands of volunteers and tens of thousands of paid employees.
- 95% of NPOs are voluntary organisations, often connected with the community-based organisations in the areas where they operate.
- 3% are companies and 2% are Trusts. They are generally more sophisticated and better resourced and include most of the major non-governmental organisations.
- NPOs are dedicated to the advancement of a wide array of public casues. The primary areas of activity are social services (33%); Development and Housing (21.25%); Education and Research (12.2%) and Religion (11.28%).
- In 2004 the total income of NPOs was estimated at R 14 billion. 5% came from the South African government; 8.5% from foeign governments; private donations accounted for 25% and self-generated incomes represented 33%.
- NPOs range from tiny community based groups to large institutions – like the National Institute for the Deaf, the National Institute for the Blind and CANSA – the Cancer Association of South Africa. CANSA has 12 000 volunteers, 45 offices throughout the country and 260 staff members.
Most NGOs rely predominantly – or solely – on money that they raise from the public. They also depend heavily of volunteers who provide their services for no remuneration. In many cases, they are the main providers of services and care to the public – often working in co-operation with government departments.
Nawongo represents 847 paid-up member organisations that are active across the spectrum of social and welfare service delivery, including children’s homes and homes for the elderly. Nawongo’s members provide approximately 65% of the country’s formal social services and employ around 30 000 people.