Unity lessons

Despite the different colour of our skins and various religions, we are human beings first.

This was the strong message delivered to the youth of Khayelitsha when Ahmadiya Muslim Community and the Baptist Pentecostal Church held an informative and motivational session on Tuesday July 18, to mark the International Mandela Day celebration.

Various organisations and South Africans across the country devoted 67 minutes to improving the lives of those less fortunate and uplifting their communities.

However, these two churches opted to mark the day by informing the young people of Khayelitsha about the importance of unity, respecting other people’s beliefs and cultures, and working together to uplift their communities.

They told the youth that they needed to emulate the vision and steps of the late former president Nelson Mandela if they wanted to take this country forward.

They made it clear that the time to embrace each other’s differences was now because all religions were from God.

Chairperson of Ahmadiya Muslim Community, Mansoor A-Zahid, delivered a powerful and touching message, saying the spirit of Ubuntu had no boundaries and kindness should be practised throughout the year.

He said the blood they had was the same and he found it shocking that people were unable to live together in peace and harmony.

He said the values that Mandela taught the nation were that the spirit of forgiveness and tolerance should be the daily guidance of our lives.

He made an impassioned plea to the youth not to look down on anyone unless they were going to extend a helping hand.

He said the most valuable thing that young people should teach themselves was not to be selfish but to empower each other with knowledge and skills.

He highlighted that society they had a duty and responsibility to raise children whether it was your biological child or not.

He told them that they needed to start using their time to improve their communities and that not everything was about money.

“We need to love one another more than before. Language and identification come from God and who are we to separate ourselves from one another. We have the duty to uphold all the values that Mandela stood for. We need to inculcate a culture of unity and acceptance,” he said.

Mr A-Zahid said the session was important as it enabled young people to think critically about the issues they didn’t often talk about and how they envisaged the country in years to come.

He said he felt that it was essential that they used such days to equip young people with information so that they could make better informed decisions.

Reverend Sizwe Nyobole, of the Baptist Pentecostal Church, said one of the many challenges facing the country was the religious and cultural difference which often divided our communities. He said Mandela preached the spirit of cohesion and young people need to understand the significance of that.

He said knowledge was power and young people needed to be given proper guidance and mentorship.

He said the true definition of a society was revealed in how it treated young people.

Member of Ubuhle Bendalo Youth Group, Tania Nondala, said she was pleased that she attended the informative session. The 26-year-old said the day had been celebrated in a unique way. Ms Nondala said the session taught them that people needed to learn more about other cultures and religions because they had a lot in common.