Heritage Day celebration to honour Adam Kok

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The 2018 National Heritage Day celebration will be hosted in Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal in honour of Adam Kok and the Griqua community for their courage, determination and fortitude in resisting colonial occupation.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa made the announcement on Saturday during the launch of Heritage Month at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal.

Mthethwa said the choice of celebrating Heritage Day in Kokstad is significant in many ways, these include reaffirming government’s commitment and reassuring the Griqua community and other communities which may have some ambivalence about their sense of belonging, that they too matter and they are part of the broader South African society, and have not been forgotten.

“In that regard, it may also be opportune and apt that we pay tribute to Adam Kok, his reigning dynasty and the Griqua community at large for their courage, determination and fortitude in resisting colonial occupation and the prize that many have had to pay – including death,” Mthethwa said.

The Minister noted that it was quite clear that by the turn of the 20th century when the African National Congress burst onto the political scene, the founding fathers and mothers were undoubtedly inspired by the fearlessness and intrepidity of their forebears, such as the Griquas of Adam Kok.

“We have gathered here to honour those who came before us left their mark so that we, this generation can live a better life. In the life of every nation, there arise men and women who leave an indelible and eternal stamp on the history of their peoples; human beings who are both products and makers of history. And when they pass they leave a vision of a new and better life and the tools with which to win and build it,” the Minister said.

He added that Adam Kok and his generation were people that needed to be immortalised.

National Book Week

At the event, the Minister also launched National Book Week, a national awareness campaign to promote the importance of reading and the book.

The campaign aims to engage the public and create awareness around the critical role books play in the development of a society.

Mthethwa said that books and literary production plays a significant role in promoting national, social cohesion, and are foundational in telling the society’s story.

“If we do not tell our story who will tell the story and whose story will be narrated,” the Minister asked.

The theme for this year’s National Book Week is #OURSTORIES, which is intended to highlight not only the fact that storytelling is deeply ingrained in African culture, but that South Africans can, and should be the authors of their own stories.

The primary aims of the National Book Week include:

  • Promote and entrench a culture of reading in South Africa particularly in schools;
  • Raise awareness of the critical role reading has to play in fostering socio-economic development;
  • Celebrate books as a means of facilitating and supporting education, culture and heritage;
  • Showcase and increase indigenous language publishing;
  • Showcase South African and African writers, publishers, booksellers and related businesses;
  • Form partnerships with other African countries that celebrate National Book Week; and
  • Create awareness of both National Book Week and the South African Book Fair through various media channels.

The Minister said that a number of activities will take place during Heritage Month and National Book Week. Various provinces have developed programmes that are province specific. – SAnews.gov.za