South Africa: Celebrate Heritage Through Indigenous Languages

11 September 2019

As South Africa marks Heritage Month this September, government will host a number of activities to give citizens an opportunity to embrace their cultures and those of others.

The theme for this year's Heritage Month is: '25 Years of Democracy: Celebrating South Africa's literary classics in the year of Indigenous languages'.

"During this Heritage Month, we celebrate, honour and pay special tribute to the authors of South Africa literary classics and our indigenous languages. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, based on a resolution of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

"All South Africans should join forces to celebrate, preserve and promote our languages. This month should remind us as South Africans to celebrate our languages, our national identity and our unity in diversity.

"It is through multilingualism that we can truly aspire to achieve social cohesion. Let's showcase the richness of our African languages. Our languages are our heritage, our present and our future. This culture should be one that goes on beyond the Month of Heritage," government said in a statement.

The National Heritage Month 2019 kicked off with an activation on 02 September 2019 at the National Library of South Africa.

An exhibition was held to showcase different literary classics books. This was done towards the activation and support of this year's theme.

During this month, Government will host build up activities, engaging with communities and track programmes that have been underway ahead of the celebration of National Heritage Day on 24 September 2019 in Upington at Northern Cape.

National, provincial and local libraries are hosting exhibitions where readers can be drawn to the wealth of literature in indigenous languages.

All learners and members of communities must join their local libraries, celebrate South African writing, and form book clubs to encourage a culture of reading and sharing of ideas.

The Department of Arts and Culture encourages artists and authors to take part in readings during this month and beyond. All South Africans are encouraged to buy a book and read a book during this month and beyond, celebrate literature and the wisdom contained in languages.

Build up to 24 September

The month kicked off with an activation on 2 September at the National Library of South Africa. An exhibition was held to showcase different literary classic books.

From 22 to 27 September, an indigenous games festival will take place in Polokwane.

A Heritage Month dialogue will precede the national commemoration on 23 September at 18h00 in Upington in the Northern Cape.

The 24th of September (Heritage Day Commemoration) will begin with a legacy project handover in Upington.

An official handover of a newly built library will take place prior to the formal programme. The programme will be led by the Deputy President.

The community will be entertained by a diverse cultural performance showcasing heritage as South Africans. Government services will also be provided on site prior and post the formal event at Mxolisi D. Jacobs Stadium in Upington.

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