Brand South Africa is continuing with its Play Your Part / Sowetan Dialogues, with the latest in the series to be held in Mafikeng in the North West province on 26 March.
Titled ‘Celebrating Human Rights Day: Does the Bill of Rights work for you?’, the dialogue will take place at the Mmabatho Civic Centre from 6pm until 8.45pm. This public dialogue forms part of a six part dialogue series aimed at promoting the pillars of South Africa’s National Development Plan, as well as to promote civic pride.
Human Rights Day in South Africa is linked with 21 March 1960, and the events that took place in Sharpeville, when 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police fired on a peaceful crowd that had gathered to protest against the Pass laws.
According to the Parliament of South Africa, Human rights are rights that everyone should have simply because they are humans, but human rights are also a product of historical and social situations. In 1948, the United Nations defined 30 articles of human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United Nations succeeded the League of Nations, and the Universal Declaration is one of its crucial platforms.
It founds universal human rights on the basis of freedom, justice, and peace. South Africa supports the Universal Declaration, and we have included many of its precepts in our own Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
“Just as the Constitution is our supreme law, and no laws may be passed that go against it, the Bill of Rights is the cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. The Bill of Rights also comprehensively addresses South Africa’s history of colonialism, slavery and apartheid. The Bill of Rights embeds the rights of all people in our country in an enduring affirmation of the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.”
The Dialogue provides members of the audience with a chance to respond, as well as put forward their views on the topics raised in the President’s State of the Nation address, as well as put forward ideas on how ordinary South Africans can Play their Part to realise their desires and ensure that the government’s plans for their communities are carried out.
The facilitator at the event will be Botho Masigo from Mafikeng FM, and speakers include advocate Lawrence Mushwana, currently chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission and previously the Public Protector from 2002 to 2009; Tiseke Kasambala, southern Africa director of Human Rights Watch; advocate Pansy Tlakula, chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC); and Folusho Mvubu, director of Service Delivery Improvement Support at the Department of Public Service and Administration.