DSD MARKS 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE FAMILY IN SOWETO

Zulu highlighted the creation of family-conducive ecosystems as part of ongoing efforts. These ecosystems empower individuals to mobilize their capabilities, enjoy human dignity, and contribute to South Africa’s prosperity.
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  • The vibrant community of Orlando East in Soweto celebrated the International Day of Families, highlighting the township’s role in fostering unity and diversity. This event underscores the Department of Social Development’s commitment to strengthening family bonds and promoting social cohesion in South African family life.
  • Held under the theme “Families in Building Social Cohesion through Social and Behaviour Change Programmes,” the event coincided with the intensified Child Protection Week campaign. Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu emphasised the vital role of families in safeguarding children and addressing the root causes of violence and trauma stemming from historical injustices. 
  • Attendees, including key government officials and representatives from non-profit organisations, gathered to recognise the crucial role families play in nurturing and caring for all members. The event reinforced the importance of creating supportive ecosystems that empower individuals, uphold human dignity, and contribute to South Africa’s prosperity and democratic ethos.

By Precious Mupenzi

The streets of Orlando East came alive as the community joined to commemorate the International Day of Families in Orlando East Community Hall, Soweto. This vibrant township in the western part of Johannesburg is home to many South Africans from different provinces who migrated to come seeking better job opportunities.

The Department of Social Development chose this symbolic location to observe the International Day of Families, highlighting the township’s role in fostering unity and diversity. This day give emphasis to the department’s commitment to strengthening family bonds and promoting social cohesion in a community that embodies the essence of South African family life.

The International Day of Families, observed on 15 May May each year, is a global observance established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 (resolution A/RES/47/237). This day is dedicated to promoting awareness of issues relating to families and enhancing knowledge of the social, economic, and demographic factors that affect them.

Held under the theme “Families in Building Social Cohesion through Social and Behaviour Change Programmes,” the commemoration was particularly significant as it coincided with the department’s intensified Child Protection Week campaign. This campaign’s foundation rests on the vital role of families in safeguarding children. The day underlined the essential connection between strong family units and effective child protection, emphasising that nurturing and cohesive families are pivotal to ensuring the safety and well-being of children.

Attended by the Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) CEO Busisiwe Khambula-Memela, and National Development Agency (NDA) Provincial Manager Mapule Phora, the day celebrated the critical role families play in nurturing and caring for all members, from children to the elderly and people with disabilities. In attendance were also a number of exhibitors from government departments, non-profit organizations like Marriage and Family Life Renewal (MARFAM) and the Family and Marriage Society of South Africa (FAMSA).

Speaking during the IDF Commemoration, Minister Zulu spoke about the significant challenges facing South African families. She emphasized the social, health, economic, demographic, and climate change-related obstacles, along with the lingering effects of historical injustices.

“In consultation with all South Africans, the government have introduced necessary legislation, policies, and programs aimed at undoing the structural violence sowed by apartheid, dispossession, sexism, and patriarchy, adding that these efforts are crucial in addressing the root causes of persistent violence that have targeted and traumatised families,” said Zulu.

Zulu highlighted the creation of family-conducive ecosystems as part of ongoing efforts. These ecosystems empower individuals to mobilize their capabilities, enjoy human dignity, and contribute to South Africa’s prosperity.

“Because families are the people, it is in the best interests of families to support and defend South Africa’s democratic ethos,” she asserted.

Reflecting on the vital role of families, Zulu noted that the majority of South Africans, the family is the epitome of inter-generational solidarity and the driver of social cohesion.

“Families provide direction for enhanced future prospects and socialize younger generations while offering material and non-material care to their members,” she said.

As South Africa moves into the next 30 years, the Minister emphasised the need to support resilient families through increased government investment in people. “Naturally, families are where South Africans—the people—are found,” she remarked.

In conclusion, Zulu expressed gratitude to all the families participating in the programme, the government leaders and officials for their support, and social partners, including non-profit and inter-faith organizations, and traditional leaders, for their invaluable insights and expertise in improving the lived experiences of families and their members.

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