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25 years post-apartheid, South Africans call for progress on jobs, LGBTQ2 issues – National

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25 years post apartheid South Africans call for progress on jobs LGBTQ2 issues National

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KWA-THEMA, South Africa  — Calls for more jobs for South Africa’s black majority and respect for the rights of the LGBTQ2 community marked Freedom Day celebrations on Saturday commemorating the 25th anniversary of the end of apartheid.

Singing and dancing punctuated one gathering of about 3,500 people on the outskirts of Johannesburg.


READ MORE:
Why anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela was once labelled a terrorist

A quarter-century ago South Africa’s blacks finally were able to vote, bringing democracy to the country. But long after the brutal apartheid system of racial discrimination, speakers said many still struggle to find a decent life.

“What is the meaning of freedom if many people in a township are unemployed?” asked David Makhura, premier of Gauteng province, which includes South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, and the capital, Pretoria.

“What is the meaning of freedom if you don’t have a job? Or if you don’t have a house or land?” Makhura said the government of the African National Congress party is working to get title deeds for black South Africans: “The land must belong to our people!”

All South Africans must respect the rights of the country’s LGBTQ2 and intersex citizens, the premier added, saying many in the community still suffer violence and discrimination in their workplaces, in church and elsewhere.

Makhura honoured Eudy Simelane, a star on South Africa’s women’s national soccer team and a gay rights activist who was gang-raped and murdered in Kwa-Thema in 2008. “Eudy did not die in vain,” he said.

READ MORE: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, South African anti-apartheid activist, dead at 81

Kwa-Thema, a black township that was prominent in the struggle against apartheid, joined the Freedom Day celebrations as the anniversary was marked in a low-key way across South Africa. Much attention was focused on the upcoming elections on May 8.

The rally was marked by the bright yellow, green and black colours of the ruling ANC party of the late Nelson Mandela, who was crucial in the decades-long fight to end apartheid.

“I was born in the struggle,” said Lucky Ntshabele, 34. “My father was an activist and as a boy I knew the smell of tear gas. From the land of suffering we have come to Canaan, the land of plenty. But plenty still needs to be done.”

WATCH: More than 50 dead in South Africa after flooding, mudslides collapse buildings






Wearing a rainbow T-shirt, Bontle Muhapi said she was celebrating Freedom Day but added that troubling issues must be addressed.

“There’s still a lot of racism, there’s still a lot of homophobia, there’s still xenophobia,” Muhapi said. “There are many social ills that we are dealing with.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa marked Freedom Day at a rally in Makhanda in Eastern Cape province.

“On this day 25 years ago, we founded a new country defined by the principles of equality, unity, non-racialism and non-sexism,” Ramaphosa said. “Despite the passage of time, it is a day we remember vividly — the exhilaration of seeing nearly 20 million South Africans of all races waiting patiently at polling stations around the country to cast their ballots.”


READ MORE:
Canadian Museum for Human Rights celebrates Mandela’s legacy 29 years after his release

Ramaphosa, who as ANC leader is running for re-election, acknowledged that South Africa has many inequalities that his government must address.

“There are great divisions between rich and poor, between urban and rural, between men and women, between those with jobs and those who are unemployed, between those who own land and those who were deprived of it,” the president said.

“As we celebrate 25 years of democracy, we need to focus all our attention and efforts on ensuring that all South Africans can equally experience the economic and social benefits of freedom.”



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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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