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Anti-racism group unveils a reporting app to help fight racism

14th March 2019 BY: Sane Dhlamini
Creamer Media Researcher and Writer
Nelson Mandela And Ahmed Kathrada
Photo by: Reuters
Nelson Mandela And Ahmed Kathrada

The Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA) today kicked off Anti-Racism Week 2019, with the launch of the Zimele Racism Reporting App (Zirra), in an effort to fight the scourge in society.

This year’s Anti-Racism week theme is #UniteAgainstRacism.

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Anti-Racism Week, which was initiated by ARNSA, is held each year from March 14 to 21, with programmes taking place nationally.

It culminates on Human Rights Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

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Speaking about the new app, ARNSA coordinator Busisiwe Nkosi said it was piloted last year, but has since been improved and now has the support of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). 

She said the SAHRC has agreed to provide the necessary assistance to victims of racism who register their complaints via the app.

Over and above using technology to tackle racism, this year’s Anti-Racism Week continues to place focus on schools.

“Several assemblies against racism have already been held with further ARNSA school visits to take place during the week itself, together with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

“Our key message to schools is to challenge racism in all its forms – whether it exists in old policies that do not factor in diverse student demographics, or in day-to-day personal racism within classrooms or on the playground. We want pupils to educate, mobilise and act against racism,” Nkosi said.

She added that anti-racism within the sports sector would also be a key feature of the week, with Cricket South Africa dedicating matches, including several One Day Internationals, to promoting this year’s theme, #UniteAgainstRacism.

The campaign will also have workshops, discussions, protest action, lectures, sports matches and assemblies against racism taking place in Gauteng, Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

Amongst other programmes the week will also see a series of dialogues being held in various parts of the country with special attention given to issues related to race, identity and transformation – ranging from community driven dialogues to discussions about the rise of right wing racism globally, being in inter-racial relationships, reflecting on human rights issues, and reviewing how the faith-based sector can challenge racism.

“There will also be a focus on South Africa’s racialised past, with young people being taken on a visit to the Sharpeville Massacre site, as well as a book launch on the life of anti-apartheid activist Paul Joseph,” Nkosi stated.

She emphasised that the call still goes out to all sectors of society to mark this week and ensure that its message to #UniteAgainstRacism resonates loudly and clearly with the public.

“We have seen how racism has divided us in the past, and how it continues to define so many aspects of our day-to-day lives. We’ve seen the manner in which we deal with racial tensions in schools and communities and how the processes that follow sometimes tend to reinforce division, rather than build common ground and solutions. We’ve also seen how globally, right wing racists are increasingly developing a more connected and cohesive front,” Nkosi pointed out.

She mentioned that her organisation hopes that Anti-Racism Week 2019 will play a role in establishing platforms in various sectors through which society can start confronting racism.

ARNSA was established by the Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela Foundations in 2015.

Its secretariat also includes the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, and the Centre for the Advancement of Non-Racialism and Democracy and a number of other organisations in various provinces form part of the network.

For more information about Anti-Racism Week and how to get involved, visit http://www.arnsa.org.za/ and follow @AntiRacismNet on Twitter. 

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EDITED BY: Sashnee Moodley Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia
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