24 September 2020
Heritage Day on 24 September recognises and celebrates the cultural wealth of our nation. South Africans celebrate the day by remembering the cultural heritage of the many cultures that make up the population of South Africa. Various events are staged throughout the country to commemorate this day.
The 2020 theme for Heritage Month is “Celebrating South Africa’s living human treasures”. The question of living human treasures is very relevant since it is acknowledged that most of what still needs to be excavated, coded and stored is available from the many living archives. The pandemic has exposed many realities in our country such as poverty, inequality, unemployment and gender-based violence (GBV). During Heritage Month we will work to create awareness around GBV, and how we can fight it by inculcating positive societal values.
Living heritage is the foundation of all communities and an essential source of identity and continuity. Aspects of living heritage include: cultural tradition, oral history, performance, ritual, popular memory, skills and techniques, indigenous knowledge system and the holistic approach to nature, society and social relationships. In South Africa the term “intangible cultural heritage” is used interchangeably with the term “living heritage”.
Living heritage plays an important role in promoting cultural diversity, social cohesion, reconciliation, peace and economic development. In every community there are living human treasures who possess a high degree of knowledge, skills and history pertaining to different aspects of diverse living heritage. It is therefore important for South Africans to reclaim, restore and preserve these various aspects of living heritage to accelerate the use of living heritage to address challenges communities are facing today.
The Department of Arts and Culture developed a draft policy on the South African living heritage.
Heritage Day is a public holiday in South Africa.
Join the coversation on #heritageday2020