South Africans have been urged to use this year’s Reconciliation Month to reach out to one another as the country continues to build a united and prosperous nation.

This years’ Reconciliation Day commemoration, themed ‘The Year of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu, Liberators for Reconciliation’, will take place on Sunday, 16 December in Mthatha, Eastern Cape.

“On this day, South Africans across the country are encouraged to reach out to each other, and to build unity amongst fellow compatriots, as well as with the region, continent and the international community,” the Department of Arts and Culture said in a statement.

The 2018 Reconciliation Month is aligned with the centenary celebrations of the struggle stalwarts, Tata Mandela and Mama Sisulu. These two liberators were at the heart of driving the country’s national unity and reconciliation.

“While the nation-building project has made many advances during the 24 years of our freedom, there continue to be socio-historical challenges that threaten to stymie the reconciliation agenda and most obvious among them is the persistent legacy of racism. South Africa’s past history of divisions along the contours of race, class, religion, culture, language and other social constructions, the quest to bring about a more equitable society, as envisioned in the NDP Vision 2030, also remains a key challenge,” said Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

In response to this reality, the department and other government departments and entities will host various activities to highlight the role played by Mandela and Sisulu in the national pursuit of freedom and democracy. The events will also seek to promote non-racialism, non-sexism and human solidarity as well as to encourage the healing of individuals and communities.

“We urge everyone to mark Reconciliation Month as an opportunity to strengthen human solidarity and tolerance, and to build national identity and social cohesion in our country,” said Mthethwa.