Principal of Oval North Technical High School in Beacon Valley, Na-aim Kassiem, urged pupils to be proud of their continent and become more Afro-centric.
Africa Day, marked on May 25, was celebrated at the school last Thursday, May 26.
“We need to reclaim and to be proud of our continental history,” Mr Kassiem said.
“Let’s work together as Africans and not only think of ourselves. Our Freedom Charter says South Africa belongs to everyone who lives in it.”
He also urged pupils to familiarise themselves with South Africa’s constitution.
Mr Kassiem emphasised that one of the challenges faced by South Africans was that many adults remained contaminated by the past. “The youth don’thave problems. They socialise together. Even here at school we have pupils from other African countries and they are interacting with each other nicely.
“The Freedom Charter is important to us because it is like our constitution. And we need to go out and break down the divisions of the past,” said Mr Kassiem.
He highlighted the levels of integration at Oval North High, noting that: “The children stay together and they visit each other and even sleep over at each other’s homes.”
Event organiser Philda Keet agreed with Mr Kassiem that Africa must unite. She said their intention is to encourage pupils to love each other.
“Let’s stop fighting or discriminating against each other. Let’s unite and become one family – and it doesn’t matter where you come from. We need to stand up together and fight xenophobia. No one should have to suffer because he or she comes from other country, particularly one in Africa,” said Ms Keet.
She also quoted Black Consciousness Movement leader Stephen Bantu Biko who said“black man you are on your own” and urged pupils to be united. “No one took notice of Africa Day. And as from today we want every day to be Africa Day. Let’s unite. Killing each other will not take us anywhere,” she said.
Grade 12 pupil Ramez Jonas, 18, said to him, celebrating Africa Day meant celebrating all cultures in Africa. “We need to respect and love each other. Let’s stop fighting and respect each other to build a new nation,” he said.
Nigerian-born Wisdom Peru, 15, who is in Grade 9, said she has been in South Africa for eight years and two years at Oval North High and has never experienced any discrimination.
“Let’s love each other and stop racism and discrimination. We are all human and we are made by God,” she said, urging people to stop adopting American lifestyles. “People must stop imitating American style even though they are Africans”.
Oval North head boy Brandon Van der Merve, 17, beseeched African nations to come together as one nation and live in peace. “As South Africans let’s respect each other and stop calling other people from other African countries by names. Let’s unite and build one nation,” he said.