The Italian Union of Sport for All and the Benny Nato Foundation opened an exhibition at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg on Tuesday to commemorate Italy's support to South Africa's anti apartheid struggle.
The Benny Nato Foundation vice-president Dr Raffaello Chiode said that the exhibition was launched not only to show Italy's support during South Africa's struggle years, but also as a reminder that it was necessary to continue to draw lessons from past events.
She was particularly concerned about recent "evil" xenophobic attacks in European countries, owing to large number of migrants seeking refuge on the continent.
"These people are looking for a safe haven and to make a decent existence and it is important that we do not forget that all people's basic human rights should be respected.
"The Benny Nato foundation is against all forms of discrimination and will fight this struggle, as should all, otherwise we become like animals."
Italy's ambassador to South Africa Elio Menzione agreed with Chiode's statements and said that even though the fight had been won against apartheid in South Africa, the struggle against racism across the world had to continue.
He said that, with the first FIFA World Cup hosted on African soil, it was important to acknowledge that sport could be used as a powerful tool in the battle against racism.
The international community, including Italy, barred South Africa from competing in international sporting events on request of the anti apartheid movement during the country's struggle years - in that way using sport as a weapon against racism.
Similarly, Menzione argued that sport could also be used to unify people across racial divides. "This Soccer World Cup can be used to uproot racial attitudes and to build a legacy of racial harmony. Nowhere is this clearer than in the history of South Africa."
The Italian Football Federation president Giancarlo Abete underlined this sentiment, saying that, "on the football field, there is only one race, and that's the human race."
During the event, journalist Maria De Lourdes Jesus and the world's oldest football club, Sheffield FC, were also honoured for their efforts in "fighting the good fight against racism".