Practicing the Africa we dream of
The ACTION Support Centre and partners commemorated the 2015 Africa Day in Alexandra township, one of the locations in which recent outbreaks of violence directed at foreigners occurred. The day started with the Africa Day Solidarity walk from the Pan Africa Mall to Alexandra stadium. The Bambanani Brass band and Solly Moholo provided music through the walk, and marchers held high various banners with all 54 African flags on them, and placards with solidarity messages of the spirit of Ubuntu.
The event shared different Pan African cultures as a cultural festival followed the march instilling a spirit of a celebration of cultural heritage. A series of cultural performances, dance, poetry and music from various groups who wore traditional garments marked the Africa day celebrations. Solidarity messages from leadership and organizations enhanced advocacy on discouraging xenophobic attacks, encouraging dialogue around issues of diversity within communities, instilling a spirit of celebration of cultural heritage and promotion of proactive actions against violence towards fellow global citizens and acts of criminality.
Local peace committee representatives highlighted that the Africa Day Celebrations gave an opportunity to celebrate successes and reflect on the challenges and explore opportunities for transformation and deepening a culture of Pan-African people-people solidarity. The SRC president for WITS Mcebo Dhlamini condemned the black on black violence, he urged Alexandra residents to desist from blaming immigrants for their plight and engaging in criminal activities, but hold their leaders accountable. The occasion was a platform to galvanize all progressive forces behind a solid unifying agenda towards an Africa that takes its rightful place on the global arena.
The celebrations ended with signings of petitions calling for the release of Itai Dzamara, the Zimbabwean journalists who disappeared in March 2015, the release of Swazi Political Detainees and Free Movement of African People across the continent. The event celebrated African solidarity, friendship, a common humanity and destiny, and a vision to tear down divisions amongst Africans.
The event was organized by the ACTION Support Centre in partnership with COSATU, the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA), City of Johannesburg, Migration Unity, Department of Community Safety, and Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, and many other progressive Alexandra community residents.