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MMC tells Africa Day: Jozi is a city of migrants Print E-mail
29 May 2017



The City of Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, Cllr Mpho Phalatse, on Saturday May 27 called for more tolerance among communities, saying the majority of people living in Johannesburg were migrants.

“The vast majority of us were not born here. While there are some who feel more entitled than others, all of us have African ties. As South Africans, we are Africans first,” MMC Phalatse said.

She was speaking at the City’s official Africa Day celebrations at Cosmo City in Region C.

The day, the culmination of month-long Africa Month celebrations, was punctuated by sport, poetry, song and dance.

More than 500 people descended on Cosmo City to mark the 54th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), which has since been renamed African Union (AU).

MMC Phalatse was accompanied by Social Development Executive Director Wandile Zwane, Ward 100 Councillor Mapula Mosito, Regional Manager Dorah Mashita and other top City officials.

The event was co-ordinated by the City of Johannesburg’s Migrant Help Desk.

In her address, MMC Phalatse emphasised the importance of unity and social cohesion among Johannesburg’s diverse communities, which included migrants from many African countries as reflected in the various performances on Saturday.

“Many of us are migrants in Johannesburg," she said, emphasising that ubuntu would help unite all Africans. She said although other African countries contributed to South Africa’s struggle for freedom, foreign nationals had to abide by the country’s laws and to join forces in the fight against crime.

“Other Africans were one with us during the struggle. They were there for us when we needed them. But every country has laws. For the sake of harmony, please abide by the law. My message to you is that we’re one, but let’s respect one another. We must unite against what is wrong,” she said, adding that proper immigration controls were necessary to keep tabs on who was in the country and for cities such as Johannesburg to plan for services offered to communities.

Cllr Phalatse said plans were under way to establish a centre in Yeoville to promote social cohesion, skills transfer and provide facilitators “who will help us experience Africans in a different way”. The centre will be ready for use by the time the 2018 Africa Day celebrations are held.

The MMC presented trophies to the overall winners of a citywide soccer tournament and a poetry contest. Hundreds of learners from across Johannesburg took part in both month-long competitions.

Mashita said the schoolchildren were very enthusiastic.

Apart from poetry and soccer, the City also ran a poster competition. Each region adopted an African country as a project, which helped the students learn more about the continent.

“We are promoting African unity. Every year we have very enthusiastic responses from schools, NGOs and communities,” Mashita said.

The City's libraries, under its Library and Information Services, are hosting several events across all seven regions aimed at educating Johannesburg residents about Africa Day through books, storytelling, cultural performances, food and African games.

The programme will be wrapped up on Wednesday May 31.


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