Celebrating Heritage and Culture in South Africa

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 What is heritage and identity?

The questions about heritage and identity are not as straightforward as they might at first appearance. South Africa is a diverse country with different identities representing different people living in the country. The cultures, languages and heritages of South Africa are multiple, diverse, and dynamic.

Whilst trying to look at heritage, culture, identity in South Africa and the attempt to provide an overview of what need to be done to promote our diversity as a country, the big challenge will be, “how do we celebrate all the cultures equally without excluding others”?

Culture on the other hand has been used to refer to the ways of life of a specific group of people, including various ways of behaving, belief systems, values, customs, dress, personal decoration, social relationships, religion, symbols and codes.

It must be acknowledged that we cannot deliberate about culture and heritage without touching on the issues of the historic background of the country which is cemented by politics. We celebrate the achievements gained by our political struggle heroes, and condemn the legacy of apartheid at all costs.

The main challenge today is, “how do you unite the country and share the platforms together without labelling each other by our colours”? Taking a political approach in order to bring people together make us appear as though we are unforgiving and still angry even after democracy. For the black fellows it is good that we teach our little ones about where we are coming from as a nation.

Whose Culture, and/or whose heritage are we speaking about here? Do we speak for all the citizens of South Africa or are we looking merely at our own cultures?  Is there such a thing as ‘White culture’ or ‘Coloured culture,’ for instance? Who must celebrate it and how it must be celebrated?

Heritage month is believed to be recognizing aspects of South African culture which are both tangible and intangible: creative expression such as music and performances, our historical inheritance, language, the food we eat as well as the popular memory.

What are the key activities that takes place during heritage month and who decide what is at the best interest of the publics? What about selecting the few artists we like and make them to perform at the strategic points to feed the media with the content!!! Where are the “Whites” and “Coloureds” people supposed to  celebrate? Is their culture and/or heritage the same as ours? “Is that all we can do to promote culture.

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