Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma has praised South African Hindus for their role in the struggle to free South Africa.
“Many South Africans of Indian origin and specifically Hindus, played a prominent part in our struggle for freedom and are still playing a meaningful role in the social, economic and political reconstruction of this country,” Zuma said on Saturday.
He was speaking in Durban at the centenary gala dinner of the Hindu cultural organisation SA Maha Sabha.
South Africans of Indian origin number about 1.28 million according to Statistics SA and over 60% are Hindus.
Zuma said this community was an integral part of South African society and added to the colourful rainbow nation that made us proud South Africans.
He was impressed and inspired by the strong values which guided the activities of the Hindu Maha Sabha, which include selfless service, volunteerism, accountability, respect, fairness, continuous improvement and unity.
“These are values that we all believe in, and which promote peace and good neighbourliness…that fits in well with the goals of government, of promoting social cohesion.”
The President also used the occasion to remind the nation of the need to preserve cultural organisations and respective cultures. He lamented the fact that the youth of today only wanted to speak English and were not encouraged to learn indigenous languages.
“We cannot produce a new generation that is not grounded in indigenous culture as they will be confused and be alienated from their roots. They will start doing and accepting all sorts of practices which may be alien to our culture.
“Let us encourage the Hindu youth for example to learn Indian languages so as to be in touch with their culture and traditions. That will not make them less South African. Instead, they will add to the rainbow mix and make this a more colourful country when it comes to languages as well,” said Zuma. – BuaNews