Know your Rights

An educative morning at the Moravian seminary in Heideveld.
Hosted by the District 2 Moravian Christian education committee we were guided through the South African Bill of Rights a brief overview of what it entails and a little history. We also got some insight into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 by the UN after they realised the harsh realities of World War I and II where many peoples human rights were infringed.

This declaration is seen as a guide to the human rights for all with 30 articles e.g:
– The Right to equality
– Freedom from Slavery
– Right to equality before the law

South Africa as part of the UN did not take part as signatory to this declaration in 1948 as we were under apartheid law but come post 1994 the Bill of Rights was drafted into the Constitution of a new democratic society free from the shackles of apartheid.

If compared to the declaration of Human Rights of 1948 you will notice many similarities only difference is that the Bill of Rights is enforcable, this is law.

We all have the right to education, housing, privacy and many more but we also have a responsibility as citizens to respect each others rights but also not abuse these rights.

During the discussion the touchy subject of education and social grants came up as their is a feeling of this being taken for granted and possibly being abused in South Africa.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” – Randy Pausch

Sitting in the workshop made me think about what is happening at UCT with the march to remove the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, yes they have their reasons for this but why now, we are 20 years in democracy shouldn’t we have done something before. I think we should use our energy on eradicating poverty, drug abuse and gangsterism in society as these are infringements on some of our human rights. What will happen once the statue is removed? How will it benefit society? – We have the right to Assembly,Demonstration, Picket and Petition so lets use this to make South Africa a better place for all.

After reading the article below it gives one more insight into the situation at UCT – We have the Right to equality, In South Africa we have a long way in addressing this issue as the Apartheid legacy still hangs like a dark cloud over many heads, if removing the statue helps in bringing about equality and transformation only time will tell.

“Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent” – Dalai Lama

As we were at a Moravian workshop things were linked to spituality and made me think of the 10 Comandments if you look at these and compare them to the Bill of rights there are many similarities – it all comes down to us as individuals to know our rights and be responsible in enforcing and implementing these rights.

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” – Eric Hoffer

With a young democracy Human Rights will remain a talking point for many years to come not only in South Africa but in the World at large – educate yourself and KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.


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