Various celebrations for Heritage Day

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pretoria - South Africans across the country are celebrating their rich and diverse culture on National Heritage Day, with various celebrations held countrywide.

The main event was held at the Ntwampe Sports Ground in Sekhukhune, Limpopo, where Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, addressed the community.

He called on South African to use this day to foster social cohesion and instil a shared identity.

"Our indigenous cultures are tools we can use to heal our broken spirit as a nation and bring back social stability that is threatened by crime, violence against women and children and xenophobic tendencies."

In Gauteng celebrations began with a healing ceremony organised by the South African Council of Churches and traditional healers, at Freedom Park in Tshwane.

The cleansing and healing ceremony is employed as a vehicle that allows these communities to revisit traumatic events of the past and to intercede with their ancestors and God to cleanse the pain and hurt caused by these events. In this way, the communities are launched on a route of closure, and ultimately, healing.

"With this cleansing and healing ceremony we are acknowledging this individualism, which undeniably forms part of a larger community, but has its own specific experiences," said Freedom Park Chief Executive Officer, Wally Serote.

He said they were also acknowledging "the pain that they have experienced in the past and honoring the contributions that they have made to the democracy of South Africa."

Sowetans will enjoy one of the biggest celebrations of the weekend with the Soweto Festival. The festival, organised by the City of Johannesburg, will feature Soweto Traditional Dancers, Zulu Boy, marimba dance, gospel music and motivational speakers.

Entrance fees for the celebrations, which will run until Sunday, are R20 for adults and R10 for children and pensioners.

In the Eastern Cape, the province hosted a 5km Fun Run which started at the Bhisho High School. The idea was to attract youngsters from the ages of seven to 18 to not only participate in the events, which may include boxing and soccer, but to gauge if they were keen to embrace sports as part of their heritage.

The Free State celebrated Heritage Day at the Ficksburg showgrounds, where Premier Ace Magashule, representatives from Lesotho and the House of Traditional Leaders from KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape were among the dignitaries.

According to the Premier's office, the programme will showcase the province's cultural groups through music, food and traditional attire.

North West Premier, Maureen Modiselle, delivered her keynote address at the Moruleng stadium in the Moses Kotane Municipality.

Residents in Durban will celebrate Heritage Day at the International Convention Centre with a music festival that will feature Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ray Phiri, Johnny Clegg and Oliver Mtukudzi, among others.

The Department of Arts and Culture has themed this year's celebrations, "Celebrating South African Craft: Our Heritage".

The theme presents an opportunity to pay tribute to the craft people who have contributed immensely to the development of South Africa's rich heritage.