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With music, dance and poetry, the diverse community of Yeoville celebrated its differences and underlined its unity at an early Africa Day event.
MUSIC, poetry and dance from the continent filled the Yeoville Recreation Centre on Saturday, at an event held to mark Africa Day.

 

MazolaMazola spices up the concert with some reggae flavourThere was a feeling of warmth, joy and celebration in the air as children and their parents danced gleefully to the music of South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, on 21 May.
 

Heading the musical line-up was the much acclaimed musical group Sigauque Foundation, which treated the crowds to some of their best-known songs. Blue Boy Pantsula dancers from Ekurhuleni enthralled the audience with their breath-taking dance moves.

There was clapping and cheering for Marco Don K1st from Democratic Republic of Congo. Other performances came from Mazola and Blancho du Pouvior.

The celebration was organised by the African Diaspora Forum and Community Media for Development Productions, with the support of Foundation for Human rights.

Speaking on the day, the forum chairperson, Marc Gbaffou, urged the government to put in place laws and policies that would protect migrants. “These laws and policies must also be clearly communicated to the public to ensure that there are no doubts on migrant rights.”

Gbaffou noted that migrants did not have access to information and knowledge about their rights or where to get help. “Migrants simply do not think that the judicial or legal system can work for them. This fear paralyses our community from taking action,” he explained.

Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organisation of Africa Unity, the forerunner of the African Union, on 25 May 1963. On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

 

Remembering victims of xenophobiaRemembering victims of the 2008 xenophobic attacksThe day is observed across the continent on 25 May each year; in some African states it is a public holiday.
 

In Yeoville on Saturday, Bishop Owen McGregor of Mount Calvary Pentecostal church said Africa Day was a time to come together and celebrate each other’s differences. “We need to let go of our selfishness and share with others,” he added.

McGregor also spoke about Joseph, who was used by God to steer Egypt through a seven-year drought, to emphasise his point. “Joseph, a foreigner, stepped up to the plate and with divine wisdom provided food security on very table.”

John Mugisa of Foundation for Human Rights Forum said the objective of Africa Day was to build a positive image of Africa. “It is a time to be more positive and not dwell in the past,” said Mugisa.

Siyabonga Lerumo, a Yeoville resident who attended the concert, said celebrating Africa Day would help to acknowledge the progress made by Africans. “I am proud that we have managed to come together and put aside our differences,” said Lerumo. “I hope it does not end here.”

In the midst of the celebration, candles were lit to honour 62 people who died during xenophobic attacks in 2008.

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