'The next months are going to be hard': Constitution Hill cancels festival amid coronavirus fears
Constitution Hill, home of the Constitutional Court, on Friday cancelled the annual Human Rights Festival indefinitely as a result of growing concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.
The festival was to be held in Johannesburg on March 27 with the theme highlighting the role of young people in social movements, their commitment to global human rights and their determination to bring change in the world.
“It is with regret, therefore, that we have decided to postpone this year’s festival. It’s not a decision that was made easily. After much consideration we felt that protecting our community is a priority. We must apply universal and aggressive public measures to slow the spread,” Constitution Hill said.
The festival would have showcased the work of social justice organisations and explored human rights issues through exhibitions, film, poetry, performing arts, music dialogues and debates.
It attracts hundreds of local and global guests every year.
The organisers said life had changed in SA and the virus had become a threat to celebrations of human rights. They called for the same unity which was shown by South Africans in 1994.
“We must unify against the coronavirus threat like we unified after 1994. The next few months are going to be hard. For many of us, harder than anything we've faced in our lifetimes. And indeed, this virus threatens to kill more people every day.”
The organisers said they would have to find new ways to create public awareness and advocate for change that do not involve large crowds.
“The pandemic requires that we step up our fight for social justice. We, the people, must own the fight for human rights for all,” they added.