Pretoria: South Africa is a migrant country and Africans must embrace diversity, says African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
Speaking at the inaugural Mkhaya Migrants Awards held at the Galagher Convention Centre in Midrand last night, she said over centuries waves of migrants have been coming to South Africa.
“Migrants have been part of us,” she said.
She strongly emphasised the need for Africans to unite, adding that the awards are aimed at uniting Africans.
“We want to remind you that we all talk about African Unity. The AU is working towards transforming Africa.
“As we look into our continent, we envisage Africa where people move freely and embrace diversity,” she said.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba further explained that the awards are among other things aimed at recognising the positive contribution played by the migrants in the country.
According to Minister Gigaba, the awards also recognise the role played by South Africans in integrating migrants into their communities.
“The Department of Home Affairs recognise migrants and decided to recognise their positive contributions as well,” he said.
The Mkhaya Migrants Awards honour and recognise migrants who contribute to South Africa’s development as well as South Africans contributing to the development of Africa in their various fields of expertise.
The nominees were recognised in the categories of Arts and Culture, Business, Civil Society – NGO, Sport, OR Tambo and the Most Integrated Community.
In the category of Business, the winner was Sephaku Cement from Nigeria, in the category of Civil Society NGO, the winner was Patricia Modiyaya, her organisation is involve in protecting refugees.
In the category of Sport, William Okpara, who used to play for Orlando Pirates, won the award.
The community of Makana in Grahamstown won in the category of Most Integrated Community because of their role in integrating the migrants in their community. The community also stood up against the recent attacks on foreign nationals.
Accepting the award, he said South Africa is a beautiful country that accommodates everybody.
All the winners received R100 000.
The awards were held on the same day when South Africa joined the African continent in celebrating Africa Day.
SOURCE: South African Official News