Durban – President Jacob Zuma on Sunday told South Africans to pray for Ubuntu, love and respect for one another.
“Respect is the fundamental trait of any human being. Respect is the fibre that holds families, organisations and communities together.
“Once you are unable to respect the next person it means you are losing your humanity and you risk losing what distinguishes the human race from animals,” said Zuma.
He was speaking at the National Prayer Day at Kings Park Stadium in Durban.
Zuma said: “We must respect the next person whether young or old, that is the essence of Ubuntu.”
Zuma prayed for the youth not to be led astray.
“They [the youth] must respect their elders as commanded by the Bible. They must respect their parents, one another, respect authority and must respect the laws of their country.”
He said South Africans should spread the message of Ubuntu.
“Whether we disagree at school, home and work, we should do so respectfully and not lose our humanity of Ubuntu.”
Zuma told religious leaders to pray for the return of the spirit of Ubuntu
“Let us isolate those who want to introduce a new culture of thuggery and hooliganism in our country. We must make sure that they are unable to turn our unsuspecting youth into hooligans who do not know the meaning of respect and decency.”
Zuma also prayed for peace in households saying there should be no violence against children.
“Let us pray for families that are engulfed by the scourge of the abuse of alcohol. We must pray for the young people who have taken a decision to stop substance abuse.”
Zuma said May was Africa month.
“We urge all our people to appreciate all that is good about being an African. We pray for peace in our beloved continent.”
He said South Africans should reach out and try to better understand the cultures of other African countries.
“We also pray for our military, the soldiers in the South African National Defence Force who are deployed as their fight to build a peaceful Africa.”
He also prayed for police officers who put their lives in danger to protect South Africans.
“They work hard and efficiently in the face of provocation at times.”
He also prayed for a peaceful local government election.
Zuma said, “We pray for leaders of all political parties to work together to make South Africa a better place for all of us. We pray for peace and order to return to our Parliament so that the representatives of our people can be able to discharge their duties with dignity and respect for one another and be exemplary to the people of our country.”
Zuma thanked religious leaders for the role they played in the struggle and continue to play today.
“We have established the Presidential Interfaith Working group in the Presidency so that we can promote and strengthen partnership between government and faith communities in building a better life for all.”
He also prayed for the drought stricken province saying it was negatively affecting the economy.