Winterveldt’s Human Rights Day Marked by Community Discussion

BY: Prudence Nhavingo

Human Rights Day is a national day celebrated every year on the 21st of March to remind South Africans about the sacrifices and struggles it took to gain democracy in South Africa back in 1994.

On the 21st of March, Umvelinqangi Youth Development Centre in Winterveldt organized a Human Rights Day event and invited the community to come together and celebrate this day with them through a dialogue where they would discuss, debate, and learn about human rights.

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Human rights are a bill of rights established by the parliament that every South African citizen has to obey, respect, and live by. This day is celebrated to remind all South Africans that human rights come with responsibilities, to remind them to continue being united, and to work together to sustain the tradition of human rights.

The parliament did not just implement the human rights bill on the 21st of March, but it is also the day we remember those South Africans who fought for these rights, as a large number of South Africans died in the fire opened by the police to stop those who were fighting for their and future generations’ rights, which is why we should respect and celebrate this day.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela.

According to one of the influencers at ChildLine, Amanda Malinga it is important to attend such informative events not only to consume content but also to learn more about human rights. “We live in a world where, as individuals, anything can happen to us, so it is important for people to know more about their rights and responsibilities as South African citizens, to know which actions to take if their rights are violated” she said.

The event was a success as not everyone in the community had enough information about this day and its importance, but the community had many questions for the influencers who were educating about this day. As a result, this shows that they are willing to learn and gain more knowledge about human rights.

Keitumetse Shakwane, a community support officer at Childline Gauteng, spoke about the crucial significance of the right to freedom of expression during an event. She emphasized that this right holds immense importance, as it often happens that individuals are unable to express themselves even when they have the opportunity to do so. She stressed that it’s not just about exercising one’s rights as an individual but also about recognizing how vital freedom of expression is for mental health.

“The right to freedom of expression is one of the important rights one should consider, as many times we are unable to express ourselves when given the platform. It is important not only to express your rights as an individual but also helps with mental health.” Keitumetse Shakwane added.

The government has implemented the following bodies: the South African Human Rights Commission, Independent Police Investigative Directorate, and Public Protector to assist those whose rights are or may have been violated.

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