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Celebrate the diversity of Africa

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Africa Month, in May, provides an opportunity to celebrate all cultures across the African continent.

If people on the African continent learn to understand each other better and embrace our differences, we can live together peacefully.

May marks Africa Month, and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it is an opportunity for people across the continent to break down barriers.

The SAHRC’s spokesperson, Gushwell Brooks, says Africa Month focuses on nation building and the unity of the African continent. 

“We can use this opportunity to learn about cultures beyond our own, perhaps by reaching out to people from other African countries to learn about their cultures,” he says.

For example, South Africans can organise community days, which encourage people to dress in their cultural attire and cook traditional foods. These community gatherings will allow South Africans to enjoy conversations with migrants in their communities. He adds that if we recognise our shared African heritage and understand the economic and social difficulties we face as a continent, we can work together to defeat them.

Local businesses and employment groups should also help teach foreign nationals about the minimum wage and other labour rights, so that migrants are aware of their rights and can enforce them.

Brooks says communities need to understand that we shouldn’t discriminate unfairly against anyone.

“We cannot blame all social ills on those different to ourselves. These are problems we share and we thus need to work together to overcome them.”

He urges African citizens to learn from each other to find solutions that will benefit all of us, adding that having foreign nationals in our communities gives us an opportunity to learn new business skills.

Africa Month commemorates the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963. The OAU was succeeded by the African Union (AU) in 2002. The AU is made up of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African continent.