With the 16th of December marking Reconciliation Day in the country, VOC’s Breakfast show hosted Sheigh Ismail Keraan from Al Azhar masjid and Reverend Berry Behr from the Cape Town interfaith initiative – who are both part of an initative called the ‘Beyond Reconciliation Virtual Walk’.
The Day of Reconciliation has been created to mark the end of apartheid. The day, therefore, has been in existence since 1995. The purpose of this day was to foster unity and reconciliation across the country. The reason the date was selected is that it is significant to both African and Afrikaner cultures.
Sheigh Keraan reflected on the context of reconciliation in the country with the backdrop of the coronavirus internationally.
“It has brought people together because we have plunged into a space where we are forced to re-think about certain values. The pandemic has clearly highlighted the inequality that exists among people but it has allowed an amalgamation of minds. We have come together for a common cause and that truly is what reconciliation stands for,” detailed Sheigh Keraan.
“Are we as humanity prepared to learn from those lessons,” asked Sheigh Keraan in relation to the challenges that covid-19 has brought upon the world.
Reverend Behr said despite the continuous social issues citizens are bombarded with they should always try and attain reconciliation.
“One of the issues that have been highlighted by the pandemic are the unheard voices have become clearly defined for us. We need to allow more space for people who have had their voice muffled for far too long. When we begin to hear each other this will allow for compassion and in that way provide a path to reconciliation,” stated Reverend Behr.
Reverend Behr explained reconciliation takes place when people learn each other with transparency.
“I truly believe in the healing power of interfaith engagement and one of the wonders that covid has taught us is even if we physically cannot walk together but we are all walking towards a common cause to being a better creation,” explained Reverend Behr.
President Cyril Ramaphosa used his Day of Reconciliation speech to paint a grim picture of the challenging year the country has faced with the Covid-19 pandemic and the negative impact it has had on the economy.
“As long as we do not overcome poverty, reconciliation will remain out of our reach,” Ramaphosa said during a virtual event.
Speaking on the virtual walk, Sheigh Keraan expressed the desired outcome.
“What we are trying to achieve is to stop the cloning of our youth that blindly follow trends and allow them to claim their own identity and work to be better to make their own decisions bond, bridge, and build cohesiveness,” ended Sheigh Keraan.