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Inner city residents unite for Africa Day

 

The Johannesburg inner city was on Saturday transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour and beauty as a large number of residents marched through the streets in “an inspiring celebration of African solidarity and all things African” on the eve of Africa Day.

The marchers – who were joined by several Johannesburg ward councillors, local artists, church and cultural groups and human rights advocates – were treated to song and traditional dance as they arrived in Berea, where the march was destined.

The marchers had earlier handed a memorandum to Hillbrow police urging them to take stringent action against anyone inflicting harm on fellow Africans. The event, supported by the City of Johannesburg's Region F under the slogan “My Inner City: My Pride My Hope”, was graced by several political and community leaders, as well as representatives of Zimbabwean traditional leadership and a delegation of indunas representing KwaZulu-Natal chiefs.

Ward 64 councillor Phineas Madisha said he was impressed by this year’s turnout, adding that he believed the event – now only in its second year – was destined to become even bigger going forward.

“The event is a celebration of our African heritage and of all the unique things that make us all Africans. In the wake of the recent xenophobic attacks, we this year partnered with the African Diaspora Forum and cultural groupings from Zimbabwe,” said Madisha.

“With this event, we want to showcase the rich diversity of this continent and show the entire nation that we all stand united in celebration of the beauty of Africa,” said Madisha.

The marchers were also serenaded by young children from churches in surrounding areas, who sang the national anthem Nkosi Sikele'l Afrika. Madisha said this made a big impression on the marchers. He said it made them realise just how important the holding of such events could be for the future of this country.

Delegates spoke on topics ranging from the importance of Africa Day and fostering an African identity to issues such as the African economy and skills transfer.

"I think we definitely outdid ourselves this year. The event definitely had a lot of razzmatazz," said Madisha.

"We've always said we want Johannesburg to be an example of a world-class African city. If we want to live up to this ideal, it is important for each and every one of us to take the lead in reaching out to our fellow Africans and embrace them," he said.

Local artist and chairman of the African Calling King Jahroots said he was heartened by the way people had embraced the event. He said he was already looking forward to taking part in next year's celebrations.