14 – 21 MARCH 2022

This week is Anti-Racism week. The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) reaffirms our commitment to dismantling racism at all levels of society. Every year, Anti-Racism week aims to create public awareness and momentum around racism and how it affects individuals and the broader society. As current events continue to show, our vehicles for social change need to disrupt and dismantle racism.

The 2019 South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB) shows that the majority of South Africans (66%) feel that racism has not been addressed. Confronting racism in all its forms remains critical for the full realisation of justice, equity and the protection of human dignity.

This year’s Anti-Racism week comes at a pivotal moment for South Africa and the rest of the globe. In South Africa, we find ourselves at a critical moment that urgently requires that we address pervasive racial injustice, anti-blackness, Afrophobia and all other related systems of oppression that seek to marginalize and dehumanize people. South Africa faces a number of critical challenges that remain linked to its violent history of racial injustice and oppression. The legacies of apartheid, colonialism and slavery persevere and are best understood through the lived experiences of black, coloured and indian working-class and rural communities. Systemic and structural exclusion, racialised poverty, inequality, economic disenfranchisement and intergenerational trauma are some of these historical legacies that remain intact.

As we recommit ourselves to the global fight against racism this anti-racism week, may we remember the urgent fight against afrophobia which has life-threatening consequences for African immigrants in South Africa. Dismantling afrophobia is connected to South Africa’s ongoing struggle against systems of violence, oppression, exclusion and discrimination.

This year also marks the 21st anniversary of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances that took place in Durban in 2001: a gathering of leaders from around the world engaging on global challenges of racism with the intention of adopting a programme of action that would address these challenges. Over 20 years later, racism persists as one of the most damaging systems of oppression that impact the lived realities of black and brown communities the world over.

We call upon civic sector partners, government departments, political leadership, private sector leaders and members of the public to take up the collective responsibility of dismantling racism for the full realisation of racial justice, racial equity and the protection of human dignity in South Africa and the world over.

For further questions and media enquiries, contact JWilliams@ijr.org.za  

Photo credit: Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels