Good morning everyone, I trust that it is acceptable at an event such as this to dispense with the
formality of an introduction that acknowledges everyone present in a hierarchical list.
Today is about inclusivity and the need for a society that is inclusive and embracing of all who live in it.
Therefore my greeting and welcome is to everyone, recognizing our equal and universal right to be part
of this society without fear.
Welcome to the James and Ethel Gray Park and to this Zumbathon .
It is in honour of gender-based violence victims. I hope that you are all going to enjoy your time here
today and importantly, leave with a renewed sense of urgency and determination to work collectively
for a society where 16 days of activism becomes an all year round life style choice.
We need to change. Violence in all its many forms should have no place in our country.
Look around this beautiful park and enjoy the clean, open, natural environment. Enjoy the spectacular
views of the surrounding City. See the abundant birdlife in the sanctuary along the Sandspruit.
In the early days of this City this was the northern sewerage works. As the city expanded so the works
were inadequate and they moved further north. In its place the area has transformed back to its natural
What you see here now is an ever changing and improving environment. This has been achieved by the
active partnership between the James and Ethel Gray Park Foundation and City Parks. This adds to and
contributes to the strengthening social fabric of the surrounding community where we can enjoy the
serenity and safety of our natural environment.
In a similar way we need to change the society that we find ourselves in in South Africa. We are a hugely
unequal society in every way. At an economic level we easily recognize the disbalance between the
richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor.
At a social and ethical level we need to close the gap in
the many areas where one group or sector feels superior over another.
We need to transition back to a society that recognizes the rule of law. The City introduced a project
Buyu Mthethu which means bring back the rule of law. South African Police Service embraced the same
Our society has so easily slipped into a frame of mind where we accept and condone illegal behavior.
This is contagious.
It leads to behavior in some members of our community that is violent. The recent horrific stabbing of a
young university student in her room on a Saturday evening is a recent example of this barbaric
behavior that is evident more and more in our society.
It is the indisputable responsibility of each and every citizen to be active and engaged in bring about an
inclusive, safe, ordered and prosperous society for all.
Thank you and enjoy your time in our beautiful park.