Tuesday, March 1, 2016


By Subry Govender CULTURAL PROGRAMME AT THE OTTAWA HALL AND A FLOAT PROCESSION THROUGH THE VILLAGE The residents of the historical village of Ottawa, near Verulam, on the North Coast have organised a major function to celebrate the festival of Holi on Human Rights Day, March 21. A spokesperson for the Ottawa Holi Committee, Ms Andisha Maharaj, said the celebration was aimed at fostering respect for the principle of "unity in diversity" and protection of the environment. "The celebration serves a purpose in our lives that fosters unity in diversity, social cohesion, respect for culture and religion, social development, involvement of the youth in culture and heritage, develops leadership skills and instils community awareness in all," said Ms Maharaj. "The celebration also aims at highlighting environmental and climatic challenges facing present and future generations. "The celebration coincides with Human Rights Day. It aims to connect people across the community - irrespective of their status and social standing. It also aims to remove vestiges of inequality based on gender, religion, race, caste or creed." Ms Maharaj added: "It is hoped that this year's celebrations will motivate the youth to re-group and recreate such events that will foster community pride and loyalty, create a strong sense of solidarity and affiliation and promote cultural diversity and religious tolerance." The residents of Ottawa were particularly concerned about the destruction of the historical Ohlanga River by truckers and others who had dumped their waste into the river. The river had served as a lifeblood for residents in the area for generations. But now it has been totally destroyed by people who seemed to have no regard for the environment. The residents were also concerned about the litter and filth that had engulfed the village over the past decade. It's a sad state of affairs that the village has degenerated over the years with litter, filth and illegal scrap yards and trucks. It's hoped the Holi festival would re-invigorate residents to take steps to stop the degeneration of their village. The festivities would include a cultural programme at the Ottawa Civic Hall and a float procession through the streets of the village. ends - Subry Govender March 1 2016

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