President Zuma: Reconciliation a process to unity

DECEMBER 17, 2014

 President Jacob Zuma says reconciliation is not an event but a process, and that building a nation takes time.

“Reconciliation also does not mean forgetting or trying to bury the painful history of conflict. It means that while we remember the pain of the past, we will not allow it to stop us from building a better tomorrow,” President Zuma said on Tuesday.

He was speaking during the official opening of the bridge that joins Ncome Museum and Blood River Monument in Dundee in Kwazulu-Natal. This is the site where the Zulus and Afrikaaners fought in 1838.

Tuesday 16 December marked the National Reconciliation Day in South Africa.

President Zuma said generations to come will testify that people who lived through the period of transition from apartheid colonialism to a new non-racial, democratic society, were a truly wonderful and remarkable generation to have been able to overcome fear, hatred and pain to build a new non-racial future.

He said the official opening of the bridge was a sign of reconciliation and nation building, since the day has been commemorated differently on each side of the river, by two different races.

President Zuma said today the country has reached another crucial milestone adding to the achievement of South African people.

“It is a huge significance as both the Zulus and Afrikaaner people have come together today to mark this important historical day together,” said President Zuma.

Instead of commemorating the day on the opposite side of the river, both groups have crossed the river through the bridge, physically and figuratively.

“This illustrate that reconciliation is possible if both sides make effort,” he said.

President Zuma pointed out that the country began the journey to build a new nation in 1994, and it began to work towards peace and harmonious co-existence among the people of the country.

“That step of establishing a government of national unity was very important… people who were fighting had to govern the country together.”

This was the most difficult thing that had to happen, to bring peace, stability and a common future.

The official opening of the bridge was organised by the Department of Arts and Culture in partnership with KwaZulu Natal Provincial Department and UMzinyathi District Municipality.

It is envisaged that the bridge will symbolise the removal of racial and social barriers between the different population groups. -