By Charndré Emma Kippie
Commemorating SA’s Cultural Abundance
The Government has called upon South Africans to use Heritage Month to foster greater social cohesion, nation building and a shared national identity. It is a most opportune time for citizens to zoom in on the country’s strong cultural identity and common heritage, and build upon our shared values.
As we celebrate Heritage Month this year, it is important for us to remain mindful of the collective goal that is to ensure South African society becomes as socially integrated and inclusive as possible. We must continue to demonstrate our commitment to this goal by honouring the diversity and richness of our heritage – recognising this as a sign of the nation’s resilience and strength.
We’ll be taking a look at the vast array of activities that South Africans can partake in this year in celebration of our heritage.
Tips For Practicing Better Social Cohesion:
- Organisations in all sectors must continue the fight against discrimination, social exclusion and inequalities.
- We must focus on building social capital by forming strong networks of relationships, trust and identity within, and between, different communities.
- Remain committed to enabling upward social mobility.
- Spatial Transformation in all regions of the nation must be addressed to eliminate structural exclusion and displacement.
- Always encourage dedicated citizenship and positive, healthy participation in decision-making processes.
Putting Our Children First
Nathi Mthethwa, who is our Minister for Sport, Arts and Culture, has encouraged all South Africans to make sure to pass on their unique cultural heritage to the children of our nation.
“Our call to action is in our cultural endeavours to promote conversations and illustrations of South Africans sharing with each other in food, music, rights and created knowledge on indigenous practice systems”, said Minister Mthethwa earlier this month.
Upon the launch of Heritage Month, he drew attention to the significance of celebrating diversity as a way of preserving our heritage treasures and elevating the collective sense of self as one ‘diversified unit’ rather than highlighting our differences in terms of exclusive racial, gender, ethnic, religious and linguistic features.
“The Constitution enjoins all of us to employ the diversity of our heritage as a source of strength and unity. In keeping with the ideals of utata Nelson Mandela, we look to national reminders like Heritage Day as levers to bring about cohesion and national unity,” the Minister said.
Encouraging More Reading
The Government has also asked that citizens place more of an emphasis on supporting the culture of reading and incorporating it into their daily lifestyles. Thus we need to encourage South African children to visit their local library and foster a passion for reading. This in turn will assist in developing a broader vocabulary and increasing general knowledge.
With literacy levels currently being a huge concern in both South African children and adults, it is critical that we nurture a culture of reading. Having better literacy levels will work wonders in empowering the education sector for a better future, and bolstering the job market and larger economy, in the long run.
South African Literary Classics To Look Out For:
- Mafeking Road and Other Stories – Herman Charles Bosman
- The Story of An African Farm – Olive Schreiner
- A Long Walk To Freedom – Nelson Mandela
- Fiela Se Kind – Dalene Matthee
- Cry, The Beloved Country – Alan Paton
- My Mother’s Laughter: Selected Poems – Chris Van Wyk
- Buckingham Palace – District Six – Richard Rive
Revitalising The Tourism Sector
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on our Tourism Sector. In line with the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan (TSRP) – guiding the recovery of the sector in terms of preserving jobs and livelihoods and strengthening transformation – Heritage Month is a golden opportunity to support organisations and rediscover heritage sites.
It is imperative that we use this period to recognise the value of our tangible heritage; our museums, commemorative sites and interpretation centers, in building an inclusive society.
Some awesome sites dedicated to heritage and struggle icons are:
- The Sol Plaatjie Municipality in the Northern Cape
- The Nelson Mandela Museum in the Eastern Cape
- Luthuli House in Gauteng
- Shaka Zulu Airport in KwaZulu-Natal
- Tshwane Municipality in Gauteng
- Steve Biko Memorial in the Eastern Cape
In addition to these remarkable sites, South Africa is also home to eight of the 981 World Heritage Sites which are recognised by the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation as places of outstanding cultural and historical importance.
Each of these sites offer a diversity and abundance of cultural and natural values that encapsulate the value systems of the country. There are as follows:
- Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape in Limpopo
- Robben Island in the Western Cape
- Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng
- the Cape Floral Region in both the Western and Eastern Cape
- Vredefort Dome in the Free State
- uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
- Isimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu- Natal
- Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape in the Northern Cape
(See the article on World Heritage Sites for more information)
Other Ways To Celebrate Heritage Day
Acts of Kindness: Reinforcing the spirit of uBuntu is a must.
Have A Covid-Friendly Braai: With Braai Day taking place this month, it is a great time to put a spotlight on traditional dishes and a good old proudly South African boerewors!
Support Local Artisans: Play your part in contributing to a better society and stimulating the South African economy.
*Check out the latest edition of the Public Sector Leaders publication here.
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