Preserve African culture, heritage- Thusi

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
By: 
Kemantha Govender

Durban - The international community can learn a lot from Africa's way of doing things said KwaZulu-Natal Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation MEC, Weziwe Thusi.

Speaking at the 12th African Renaissance Conference currently taking place in Durban, Thusi said: "The conference takes place during very challenging times when globalisation, in certain quarters, is interpreted as ditching our traditional way of existence and supporting things foreign to us."

She said not enough was being done to educate the international community about African culture and its significance.

"This event gives Africa a platform to assert itself and articulate its vision to the entire globe," she added.

On the subject of indigenous culture, the MEC said more understanding among all was needed. She was referring to a recent incident when the slaughter of a bull during Umkhosi Wokweshwama (First Fruits Ceremony) resulted in animal rights activists taking the matter to court.

"We did not educate them how important it is for us to live in harmony, if we are to be a prosperous nation. Colonialism suppressed indigenous elements of culture and heritage and alienated some of us from many of our cultural practices. It is now our time to assert ourselves to develop our culture and our heritage," she said.

The MEC reminded delegates that Africa is a multi-cultural nation with huge cultural resources and talents.

"We need to work together with the government to protect, preserve and retrieve important objects of our culture including archaeological findings which bear witness to the antiquity of our cultural expression," Thusi said.

Thusi also urged Africans to stop looking down on each other.

"The recent incidents of xenophobia are a serious blot in the history of the African continent. We must all stand up and ensure that such shameful occurrences never happen again, for they are a serious setback for the African renaissance," she said.

Thusi said it's an undisputed fact that Africa has not taken its rightful position in the global economy.

"Africans have realised that in order to be taken seriously by the world they need to take themselves seriously. They have moved on and put in place programmes such as Nepad, which emphasise good governance and partnerships to assist each other to resolve the continent's problems," Thusi said.