Living heritage could help to promote a positive African identity in a globalising world, Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa said at the official National Heritage Day celebration held in Limpopo on 24 September.
"We are called upon as a nation to embrace each other's cultures, to practise each other's cultures, to learn and understand each other's languages, so that we can speedily increase the cohesion that we are trying to build," he said.
This year's Heritage Day had the theme "Our indigenous knowledge, our heritage: towards the identification, promotion and preservation of South Africa's living heritage". "We have rich diversity and culture. Let us display to the world that indeed we are a cohesive, one nation," he said.
Song and dance
Heritage Day was observed with colourful traditional clothing and performances across South Africa and by South Africans across the world.
In London, High Commissioner Obed Mlaba welcomed guests to South Africa House and in his address said “living heritage plays an important role in promoting cultural diversity social cohesion and reconciliation, peace and economic development.”
The High Commissioner said “It is important for South Africans to reclaim, restore and preserve our living heritage.”
The event included a diverse panel discussion with Roland Azor a South African Diversity consultant based in Brighton, Souleyman Garcia, who has made programmes filmed in South Africa, Njabulo Madlala, a dynamic South African baritone singer based in London who runs an annual singing competition in South Africa under his Amazwi Omzansi Africa banner, Angela Harvey, a teacher, facilitator, mentor, Film Maker, Performance Poet and Singer, Matthew Hahn, whose play, The Robben Island Bible has been performed in the UK, US and South Africa and who has recently facilitated a pilot 'Ethical Leadership' workshop in Soweto and Catherine Elliot a South African who is writing a thesis based on her ongoing research into the South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland collections at the British Museum. The dialogue was fascilitated by Makeda Coaston, a strong champion for cultural equity in the arts and heritage sectors.
The event was rounded off by a musical performance and guests mingled into the afternoon.