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 Department of Arts and Culture in partnership with the Eastern Cape Provincial Government will host the 2013 National Heritage Day celebration under the theme, Reclaiming, Restoring and Celebrating Our Living Heritage. Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will address the National Heritage Day celebrations at Mdantsane, in the Buffalo Metropolitan Municipality, Eastern Cape.
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. This policy, once adopted, will set the tone for the South African Agenda and highlight the following roles: safeguarding living heritage as a valuable resource for future generations and
Heritage Day is a public holiday.