SA on track in achieving a common heritage

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Orkney - South Africa is heading towards the right direction of bridging the racial gap, where all people will be bound by a common diverse heritage, says Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

This is the good story Deputy President Ramaphosa told the nation at the national Heritage Day celebrations in Orkney, North West, on Wednesday.

“Although there is still more we have to do to build bridges, we are headed in the right direction.

“We are celebrating a rich, proud and diverse heritage. Although we may speak different languages, practice different beliefs, engage in different cultural practices and tell different stories, we are bound together by a common African heritage,” he said.

Today, South Africa is celebrating Heritage Day under the theme, “Celebrating 20 Years of Democracy: Tell your story that moves South Africa Forward!”

The theme encourages South Africans to tell their stories as part of celebrating 20 years of democracy. While telling the great story of struggle and victory, Deputy President Ramaphosa said South Africans are still prone to stereotyping each other.

“We are reluctant to trust those who do not look like us or who don’t speak like us – or who do not belong to the same economic stratum.

“Traditions and value systems are still influenced by the spatial, economic, social and ideological distortions of colonialism and apartheid,” he said.

According to the Deputy President, apartheid social engineering forced the nation to reside in racial and ethnic enclaves.

“It forced us to grow up with those who were assumed to be the same as us, to eat the same food, to play and, most absurdly, to love and marry according to race.

“We were forced never to see beyond the boundaries of race. We could not see beyond the gender roles that we were assigned. We could not live in each other’s spaces and could not learn about our diverse ways of life,” he said.

Heritage Day encourages South Africans to celebrate not only their own cultural traditions, but also the diversity of cultures, beliefs and traditions that make up the nation.

It is a day for South Africans to tell the stories about who they are and where they come from. The day also creates awareness through educational programmes, dialogue and public engagements about the meaning and importance of the country’s heritage.

Heritage captures the practices and institutions developed across space and time to satisfy South Africa’s biological, social, political and economic needs. Heritage preserves the knowledge of how human beings adapt themselves to changing environments.

Deputy President Ramaphosa also reminded the nation that unity can only come from the exploration of what is common and what is different in their histories and experiences.

He said it can only come about by working together to overcome the material barriers that divide the country, adding that a common heritage requires a shared prosperity.

National Development Plan (NDP)

 After realising the depth of poverty, inequality and unemployment, government developed the NDP to guide its efforts over the next 20 years.

The NDP accelerates government efforts towards building the society that is envisaged in the Freedom Charter and it also concerned with securing a better future for young people through better educational and economic opportunities.

During September, South Africans are reminded to embrace their diversity and that everyone have a role to play in creating a united South African nation with common identity.

South Africans are now able to tell their stories about the trials and tribulations they experienced during the dark days of apartheid.

They also speak out freely about the many heroes and heroines of the liberation movement and different watershed moments in the struggle history.

“The storytelling theme of 2014 Heritage Month complements our rich narrative heritage. South Africans are also encouraged to use any means of expression such as visual arts, poetry, music, prayers and the written word to tell their stories,” he said. -