Diwali 2020 Photo: Pixabay

President Cyril Ramaphosa has wished South Africa’s Hindu community well as they observe the religious festival of Deepavali.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Deepavali commences on the 14th of November 2020.

President Ramaphosa said the observance of Deepavali in South Africa had deep historical roots dating back to the arrival of Indian indentured labourers in 1860.

“It is testament to the resilience of the great cultures of the subcontinent that Deepavali continues to be celebrated here in the southernmost tip of Africa,” President Ramaphosa said.

“The festival traditions have long become a regular feature in many of our cities, and we continue to be inspired by the sense of community, fellowship and pride they engender,” the President said.

The President noted that many of the public events that traditionally take place such as the Durban Diwali Festival, will not take place this year because of the COVID-19 restrictions.

“I want to thank the Hindu community and all religious communities in South Africa for their support in the national effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the restrictions on public worship have been difficult, but have greatly assisted in preventing further infections,” President Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa said that the Hindu community greatly enriched South Africa’s cultural life, and that its spiritual and philosophical traditions found expression in South Africa’s own struggle for liberation.

“At a time when not just South Africa but the world is recovering from one of the worst crises in modern times, the Deepavali story of the triumph of light over darkness resonates deeply with us all,” President Ramaphosa said.

“Just as the epic tale of the victory of Lord Ram and Lady Sita has inspired peoples for millennia, equally inspiring is the history of a community who overcame the hardship and cruelty of indenture to thrive and prosper,” the President added.

“May the sight of rows of lit diyas in homes, businesses and places of worship over Deepavali remind us all that even amidst the darkness of the pandemic, there is light, and that we shall indeed overcome,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za