Deputy President David Mabuza has used his Heritage Day address to appeal to South Africans to join hands in the process of addressing the imbalances of the past.
“I wish to bring you a message of unity. This is unity in diversity, unity in our families, unity in our communities, unity in our nation and unity in our politics across all lines,” Mabuza said.
This year’s Heritage Day national celebration was held in Kokstad, where Mabuza unveiled the statue of Adam Kok and the Kokstad municipal building was officially named after the 19th century Griqua leader.
Heritage Day is an opportunity to reflect on the strength and wealth of South Africa’s heritage and to chart a programme of transforming society and attaining social cohesion in modern day South Africa.
Mabuza said it is understandable that human beings are prone -- in times of national strife, socio-economic hardship and hard debates about land reform -- to retreat into narrow nationalists, racial and ethnic enclaves.
“I stand in front of you on this day to state with conviction that this path we have chosen is the correct one. It is the path that will unite our nation and one that will help us to forge a common nationhood,” Mabuza said, adding that divisions fester in hopelessness.
Mabuza called on South Africans not to doubt the power of unity as an important pillar of building an equal society.
“Despite our fears, we must remember that the land is vast, our soil is rich, the belly of our earth is pregnant with hope and possibility; our minerals are overflowing and our oceans are teeming with potential.
“We must commit to a journey of unity and struggle for a common nationhood.
Ours is a land of abundance. It can provide for everyone. There is enough to go around, enough to share, enough to end poverty, depravation and all forms of want.
“All we must do is live up to our potential under a just and equitable system,” Mabuza said.
Honouring Adam Kok
Mabuza kick-started Heritage Day celebrations by unveiling the statue of Adam Kok. The statue has been erected at the municipal building to honour the late leader of the Griqua people.
Locals attended the celebration clad in their different traditional attire.
The event was also attended by high ranking officials from the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government.
Estinah van Rooyen, a Kokstad local, said Heritage Day was an important day on the national calendar.
“I wish we could celebrate this day every day so that our children can understand better our cultures and traditions.”
Echoing the same sentiments was John Mbambo, who said it is important for children to know their traditions and cultures.
“Government must continue to host these events as they reminds us of our heritage and where come from. Our children must be taught about our cultures at school.”
During Heritage Month, South Africans are encouraged to visit museums and other institutions to contribute to their sustainability and relevance in addressing societal problems.
Citizens are also encouraged to participate in community dialogues, which are held at these heritage institutions.
The dialogues focus on the transformation of the heritage landscape and in particular, the contribution made by former President Nelson Mandela.
Mandela consciously believed arts, culture and heritage were the cornerstone of advancing social cohesion and nation building. – SAnews.gov.za