Casual Day – when what you wear says the most about you

Deciding what to wear to work can be really stressful – but for one day of the year, the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities is going to make it easy for you. On the first of September 2017, people across South Africa will demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity and equity – just by buying a Casual Day sticker and advertising their support for human rights for all.

The theme for this year’s Casual Day – observed on the first Friday of September – is “Celebrate Diversity with Persons with Disabilities”.

The idea behind the theme is to use the joy and celebration of Casual Day to help the whole nation to focus on the need for every individual to work to create an inclusive and equitable society.

The Casual Day sticker is not just a sticker – it is an entry to becoming part of a puzzle of thousands of active South African citizens committed to the empowerment and upliftment of persons with disabilities.

The colour for 2017 is a vibrant, grassy green – the colour of new life, renewal, vitality and harmony. Fresh green is also associated with Springtime which is when the big event happens.

So, if it’s gorgeous or if it’s growing or even if it’s glowing –  as long as it’s green and makes the world know who you are, what you wear on Casual Day affirms your commitment to celebrating our diverse nation in all its facets!

You don’t have to wait until September to start making a difference and showing you care.

You can begin in May which is designated as Diversity Month by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and is also Worker’s Month. This is a perfect time to begin wearing your Casual Day golf shirt to work every Friday in the build up to the big day in September.

Therina Wentzel, National Director of the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), who have run Casual Day for 22 years, said the theme was chosen because while the principles enshrined in the Constitution should mean that South Africa leads the world in the protection of persons with disabilities, the principles are not a reality for many of the 4.3 million South Africans with disabilities.

“Millions of persons with disabilities in South Africa cannot find jobs, cannot get educated, cannot access the health care they need. With an inclusive approach from every citizen this picture can change to one where every South African, including persons with disabilities is able to find expression for their talents, be able to fulfill their potential and share in the success that comes with creating an equitable society.”

“Mahatma Gandhi said that you can judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable members. If that is the measure by which South Africa is judged, we are failing miserably. It is time to move from words to actions, and actions begin with the individual,” she says.

Adds Wentzel: “We urgently need to change the public view on disability rights. The rights of people with disabilities are human rights, not special rights.  That’s why the theme for Casual Day this year is ‘Celebrate Diversity with Persons with Disabilities’. It is only when we actively work to recognise persons with disabilities as a part of our broader social diversity that we will begin to create the type of society that former President Nelson Mandela envisaged and that we are striving for in South Africa.”

“Let’s prove that South Africa is the rainbow nation that two of the country’s shining lights, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, called us. On Casual Day and even before then, we urge South Africans to come together and celebrate our diversity,” says Wentzel.

About the Author

Able online

Hi, I’m Able the Casual Day mascot and ambassador for disability. I encourage you to see the ABILITY in people and not the dis-ABILITY. We’re all able, we can all live our fullest lives if the barriers are removed. Join me each year, on the first Friday of September and raise funds to support organisations that render services in the field of disability. This year Casual Day falls on Friday, 7 September. Your donation of R10 for a sticker makes a difference and improves lives all across South Africa.

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