LINKING PAST AND PRESENT: A joint prayer will be held on Reconciliation Road, which links the Voortrekker Monument with democratic SA’s first monument. Picture: Gallo Images
December is Reconciliation Month in South Africa and events to mark the month are under way at Freedom Park culminating in a “joint moment of prayer” on Sunday – the Day of Reconciliation.
It will take place on the aptly named Reconciliation Road, linking democratic South Africa’s first monument with the nearby Voortrekker Monument. The link was taken into service by President Zuma on December 16 a year ago and is a symbol of reconciliation between the two heritage institutions Freedom Park chief executive Fana Jiyane said.
“The two institutions showcase different aspects of the history of our nation. Today they exist as good neighbours implementing joint programmes and working together to foster reconciliation and nation building,” he said.
The Park’s Reconciliation Month commemoration started on Monday with a series of workshops. More than 800 Gauteng scholars went on Park tours and attended customised educational programmes focussing on nation building and reconciliation.
“The workshops were aimed at instilling the heritage of freedom in our young people by educating them about sacrifices made by past generations. We also made use of the opportunity to stress the importance of reconciliation for the sustainability of our democracy,” Jiyane said.
Yesterday Freedom Park hosted a reconciliation seminar led by Father Michael Lapsley.
The Anglican priest was nearly killed by a letter bomb in 1990 and his record of this event, along with the journey that led him to becoming increasingly involved in the liberation struggle, is documented in his book Redeeming the Past: My Journey from freedom fighter to healer.
On Friday night Freedom Park hosts a prayer night. Facilitated by local churches it is in response to growing calls for focused national prayers and fasting. The calls follow events such as Marikana, agricultural unrest in Western Cape, the “corrosive effects of corruption” and other ills afflicting South Africa, including poverty Jiyane said. The prayer theme will be carried on to December 16 when leaders of various faith communities and the public will pray for peace and reconciliation. Faiths including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Rastafarian, Baha’ism as well as traditional African religions have been invited to send representatives.
“This prayer day in uniquely South Africa as it allows for and encourages individuals from a diverse nation, regardless of religion, culture or race, to unit. It is in stark contrast to the religious intolerance currently being experienced in North and West Africa as well as the Middle East.” – 701176