Here is my statement from today's press conference - and below it is the text of the Pledge we shall all make tomorrow.
I am delighted to lend my support to this exciting initiative to create a Human Chain on Mandela Day, linking previously divided communities of our city.
At the heart of all that Nelson Mandela has done for this country, was his dream of creating a new, united, democratic, non-racial South Africa. We must not lose sight of this vision – and there can be no better way to honour him and all he has done for us, on his birthday, than to commit ourselves afresh to making this the foundation of our lives, the touch-stone of all our policies and actions, the lens through which we speak and act.
If we do not have this as our overarching goal, as the firm foundation on which we build, then all our other acts of service risk being undermined and diminished.
Cape Town has such a divided history, so clearly demonstrated along the Klipfontein Road, running between separated communities of Rondebosch, Athlone and Gugulethu. Our Human Chain is a living demonstration that we are breaking down past divisions and building a new reality in which we all belong to one another – joined in the common life of our city, and in the shared future we create together.
At 1.30pm we will all join in declaring this commitment in the words of the Pledge that is being publicised today.
So I invite everyone who shares Madiba’s dream to join with me, and those spearheading this initiative. Here let me thank the core organising team - The Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum, The Cape Cultural Collective, the Athlone and Gugulethu Advice Offices.
Bush Radio 89.5fm – a community radio station, reaching 275,000 people – is acting as our media partner, for the human chain. They have brought other community stations such as Voice of the Cape (100.4 fm) on board the organising team. They – and we hope, many other radio stations across the city – will be broadcasting the Pledge, at 1.30pm.
So let us all be part of this. Come, tomorrow – to Gugulethu Police Station, to Athlone Stadium, to Rondebosch Common! Come, if you can, waving the South African flag, or wearing its bright colours! Come and stand up for the new South Africa for which Madiba dreamed and gave his 67 years of service.
And to those who cannot come to the Klipfontein Road, I say – make a human chain wherever you can; and make your own commitments to this pledge.
Together we can break down the barriers of the past, and build a new nation of hope.
Bishopscourt, Cape Town 17 July 2013
For further information
Imam Rashid Omar, Claremont Main Road Mosque at 021 593 8998
Ruschka Jaffer (Co-ordinator) 072 964 081; Zubeida Jaffer 076 983 1893
The Office of the Archbishop of Cape Town: Ms Wendy Kelderman 021 763 1320 (office hours)
Revd Canon Dr Sarah Rowland Jones 082 856 2082 (Archbishop’s Office, out of office hours)
PLEDGE AT THE HUMAN CHAIN ON MANDELA DAY, THURSDAY 18 JULY, 2013
I, one link in this human chain, pledge to do all I can
to build an undivided South Africa free from poverty as envisioned by Nelson Mandela.
I will observe and study his conduct and seek to emulate his actions that have helped to bring peace to our country. A simple smile, a handshake, kindness, a listening ear, encouragement, spreading hope, giving a helping hand, taking action, not tearing down another - that is the Madiba way.
I reject anything or anyone who seeks to demean or to divide us and place our focus only on the ugliness that forms part of our lives.
Instead of focusing on ugliness and hatred, I choose to focus on beauty and love.
By doing this, I will have the strength to deal with the difficult challenges that I face to make Madiba’s dream a reality.
Madiba is one of the world’s greatest leaders. We are so blessed to have enjoyed his inspirational and visionary leadership.
I am committed to being the best person I can possibly be. The stronger I am the more I can help heal my family and my neighbourhood.
I will uphold our constitution which says that our country belongs to all who live in it Madiba’s maternal side is KhoiSan, the earliest people who lived at the Cape, at least 2000 years ago. His paternal side is umXhosa, whose people intermingled with the Khoisan over many centuries.
The merging of these two strong human strands has given us a leader who has not flinched in his resolve to set us free.
I commit to encourage everyone to draw on his positive example and never forget that our fragile psyches need nurturing and tenderness to bring healing to our tortured nation.
I am proud of how far we have journeyed on the road to self-determination and will continue always to be inspired by his leadership.