Heritage Month to unite South Africans

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pretoria - Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana has urged South Africans to use Heritage Month to deepen the country's humanity and unity like they displayed during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Launching Heritage Month in Pretoria on Monday, Xingwana said the focus of the event will be "Celebrating 2010 FIFA World Cup Successes: Our Heritage".

"Let us work together to sustain the spirit of Ubuntu and patriotism that prevailed during the global event. This is a call to South Africans to celebrate our collective achievements during the FIFA World Cup.

"We will use the event to acknowledge and recognise the hard work and sacrifices of the various sectors of our society during the World Cup," she said.

In South Africa, September marks the annual Heritage Month and it recognises different aspects of South African culture which include creative expression such as music and performances, historical inheritance and language.

"We believe that it is important to sustain the positive memory and mobilise all the sectors of our society in the celebration of this distinctive period in the history of our country.

"It is also important that we continue with this momentum and commit ourselves as a nation to intensify our efforts towards social cohesion," she said.

Xingwana said this year's national Heritage Month celebrations will be held in Durban on 24 September, where President Jacob Zuma is expected to make a keynote address.

The programme will include a two-hour prayer meeting to give thanks for the successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"We will have a street carnival, display our national symbols, and a parade by all our national teams from various sporting codes including Bafana Bafana and Springbok players and artistic performances.

"There will also be messages of support from different political parties represented in Parliament and after the official programme, we will have a musical event featuring South African artists," she said.

According to Xingwana, her department will also have a month-long programme which includes the National Symbols exhibition at Benoni Museum on September 10.

The exhibition is aimed at sustaining the national symbols campaign. It includes a wall panel, national order models, banners, animal models and video footage on two big screens.

As part of popularising the national flag, the department will continue to distribute and install flags at schools throughout the country.

On 16 September, Xingwana will open the Social History Centre at the IZIKO Museum in Cape Town.

Three days after the national Heritage celebrations, the country's flag that was flown when the first democratic elected President, Nelson Mandela was inaugurated at the Union Buildings in 1994 will be handed over to government.

The flag was auctioned by Bonham's in London, Britain and was purchased by a patriotic South African who will hand it over to government.

There will also be the Soccer Traveling Exhibition at the Natal Museum in Pietermaritzburg which will then spread to other parts of the country.

The exhibition aims to share South Africa's sporting heritage with the local communities in the form of a traveling exhibition.

This year, Heritage Month celebrations will take place under the theme: "Celebrating South Africa's Living Human Treasures-the custodians of our intangible Cultural Heritage". The theme will be used over a period of two years.