South Africa is a country of incredible diversity. Since 1994, we have celebrated it and, 20 years on, it is still one of our most prized possessions. That said, the concept has become a little jaded, and it is time we reminded ourselves what diversity truly means.
21 May is UNESCO’s World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. To mark it, the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities SA (NCPPDSA) is launching a campaign in celebration of our individual uniqueness.
Conceptualised by Grid Worldwide, and communication strategy by A Better World Network, I See You is a celebration of the rich and inspiring diversity that makes up South Africa and our world.
Casual Day participants will be celebrating Diversity Day today. Casual Day is South Africa’s most successful fundraising campaign for persons with disabilities and has millions of adherents that will be dressing up or down for Casual Day on 5 September. But the campaign also raises awareness for persons with disabilities and their inclusion in South Africa. “Persons living with disabilities are part of communities all over the country and we cannot just dedicate one day to them. We are celebrating Diversity Day today because persons with disabilities are our friends, our colleagues, our parents, our children and the stranger we meet in passing,” says Casual Day project leader Celeste Vinassa.
I See You is a movement against stereotyping and intolerance and in favour of the individual spirit that we all have. It is founded on the belief that when you take the time to see the human being behind the facade, you stop judging people’s differences and start noticing their uniqueness with no pressure for sameness.
As Brian Sweetlove of the NCPPDSA points out “Some people have a tendency to bundle others into easily definable and understandable groups. It makes it easier to form an opinion about people without really getting to know them. We like our boxes. But, the truth is, no one fits comfortably into a box. We’re all individuals with something valuable to offer. Our mission is to get South Africa working together to make our country and our world a more tolerant and beautiful place. And to celebrate the magic that every human being, including yourself, brings to the world.”
As the slogan for the campaign says, I See You is a “celebration of us”. It is launching with a social media strategy and a powerful TV commercial that reminds us that only when we see ourselves in others will we truly see.
How can South Africans participate today?
Playing off the trend of selfies, the social media campaign encourages people from all walks of life to take groupies of themselves with friends or work colleagues to show the incredible diversity of our world and post it with #iseeyousa. For more about I See You, visit www.iseeyousa.org.
— Catherine Grenfell (@cathgrenfell) May 21, 2014
— ujfm 95.4 (@ujfm) May 21, 2014
— Hulisani Ravele (@HulisaniRavele) May 21, 2014
— Angelo Coppola (@angelo2711) May 21, 2014
— Daniel Gussenhoven (@GussyboyD) May 21, 2014
— Autism Inspired (@AutismInspired) May 20, 2014
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