AfriForum and Royal Leaders of South Africa forge ties

The royal leader’s organisation Royal Leaders of South Africa (ROLESA) and AfriForum signed a recognition and cooperation agreement in Centurion today. The organisations agreed to focus their collaboration on community self-management and self-reliance to protect rural cultural communities and promote their participation in decision-making and benefitting from the development of their land. One specific area of collaboration will be to ensure that land currently held by the state in custodianship on behalf of royal communities is transferred to the communities in title.

“We are delighted that we formalised our relationship with AfriForum today. We are convinced that good relations and cooperation between different cultural communities are a key part of the solution to shared challenges and creating the future we want for the children of the cultural communities in the country. We believe that this partnership will play an important role in creating a better way to develop royal communities economically and socially,” says Prince Manene Tabane, National Organiser of ROLESA.

“It is encouraging to be part of a growing network of cultural communities and organisations that are committed to collaborate based on mutual recognition and respect to ensure that the future generations of cultural communities live in harmony and prosperity. The beautifully complex society at the southern tip of Africa with all its peoples, cultures and languages requires an approach that fits this reality. The community network that is taking shape on grassroots level that is based on community federalism is a good match for our complex reality that will enable cultural communities to cocreate lasting solutions to our shared challenges and serve our shared interests,” says Barend Uys, Head of Intercultural Relations and Cooperation at AfriForum.

The aim of the agreement is to establish and maintain a lasting relationship with a view to ensure peace and friendship between the cultural communities represented by the organisations, and to promote their development that may include the following:

  • Preservation and safeguarding of cultural identity and heritage.
  • Promotion of community self-sufficiency and self-management.
  • Promotion of intercultural reconciliation and dialogue.
  • Promotion of mother language education.

The following principles (amongst others) form the basis of the agreement:

  • Mutual recognition and respect.
  • Peaceful co-existence.
  • Acceptance of each other’s identity, permanency and existence as autonomous cultural communities.
  • The prerogative of cultural communities to govern their own affairs and establish and maintain their own institutions without interference from the state or any other entity.
  • Respect for the diversity of governing institutions, customs and practices, including those relating to land use and landownership.
  • Freedom of religion and religious and cultural practices.

ROLESA was established in November 2022 with the intention to play a meaningful role in the development of the country focussing on the challenges faced by royal leaders and the rural areas where they serve as leaders.

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