The recognition, reflection and celebration of heritage origins is important for nation-building and social cohesion.
September is Heritage month in South Africa, a moment to appreciate shared heritage whilst embracing our diverse nationalities, languages, cultures, religions, orientation, fashion and more.
The 24th September 2019 marks Heritage Day. To celebrate Heritage Day, the Gauteng Heritage Carnival makes a return for its 14th edition. Over 30 000 people will descend the streets of Tshwane in Pretoria, for a parade showcasing their heritage in music, dance, fashion and the arts.
The carnival will further create an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the liberation heritage route in our capital city - Gauteng citizens will parade the streets of Tshwane, walking from Union Buildings via Lillian Ngoyi, Nelson Mandela drive, Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko to Francis Baard, Stanza Bopape, Nana Sita and back to Union Buildings.
This year's theme is "Celebrating South Africa's literary classics in the year of indigenous languages". The theme is in line with the 2019 UNESCO declaration: "The International Year of Indigenous Languages". This is aimed at affording the international community to develop, promote and collectively celebrate indigenous languages.
The momentous period however comes amid unfortunate incidents of lawlessness and related attacks on foreign nationals.
"Sadly, the recent incidents that occurred in past few days, calls all citizens of Gauteng, regardless of the race, colour and gender to unite and address the underlying tensions that challenge real unity among citizens from different demographic backgrounds. We will not allow such acts to derail us as a nation to continue building the united and prosperous Africa." Said MEC Mbali Hlophe.
These incidents do not define the true character of our Province and the country in general. South Africa has demonstrated before of our unity - we have had moments of unity that the country has experienced such as the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 1996 AFCON tournaments, Confederation Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
"They can only harm and never help prosper our country. Despite this sad episode though, Gauteng continues to welcome more people from diverse backgrounds indicating that Africa is destined to be one", maintains MEC Hlophe.
Twenty-five years since the dawn of democracy, Gauteng has been the centre for the infusion of different cultures. It arguably has the highest concentration of the various nations in Africa and the world.
For the entire month of September, the department has lined up a series of activities from arts in schools' festivals, active ageing games, visual arts workshops, women in sport dialogue and the Gauteng Heritage Carnival on 24 September. We will work tirelessly with other departments, African Diaspora and all affected parties to restore calm, peace and harmony in the province.
"The Department works on the premise that social cohesion is based on four key pillars, namely: diversity, inclusiveness, access and values. Social cohesion is about celebrating our diversity in an inclusive manner, working with common values, and making sure that we all have equal access to basic services, education, health care, justice, and housing", says MEC Hlophe
The Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation promotes robust dialogue and engagement with the dissatisfied communities.
Various initiatives will unfold this month aimed at working together with our communities to better their lives without letting themselves be divided by race, sex, culture and religion. These initiatives will challenge South Africans to take part in government's efforts to fight poverty, strengthen the family unit, create jobs, support democracy, fight crime, fight HIV and Aids, increase the number of skilled workers, grow the economy and respect the rule of law.
Issued by: Free State Office of the Premier