COGTA celebrates our rich culture and heritage: My tradition, my pride
Today (16 September 2016), the Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) held a successful event to celebrate our rich culture and Heritage. CoGTA provided a unique platform to various stakeholders who by the end of the event had learned more about the different cultures, traditions and the importance of preserving the indigenous knowledge.
This diversity flows from our constitution and the bill of rights which enjoins us to be united in our diversity.
The celebrations of COGTA are part of the nationwide ongoing September events undertaken by the whole government to celebrate Heritage Month. This events are part of the continuous process to socialise the country, especially the young and the youth into understanding and taking pride in their cultures and traditions.
Heritage month encourages South Africans to do more to identify and rediscover their national heritage. Some cultures and traditions have for many years been suppressed by the brutal systems of colonization and apartheid. Many heritage sites that were to be the pride of communities, were also destroyed by the oppressive systems of the past.
To this effect, communities were encouraged to join hands with government and Amakhosi to ensure that this sites become an important part of their history and traditions. Amakhosi as the custodian of Traditional sites have to do more to protect this key sites in our areas and encourage communities to know them.
Since 1994, the dawn of democracy brought along the new resolve by the democratic government to restore the dignity of the people by recognizing different cultures and traditions of the people. To this effect heritage month is a call to all South Africans especially the previously oppressed to be proud of their traditions and cultures.
There was no better place to host this event than at the Lesedi Cultural Village in the Madibeng Local Municipality of the Bokone Bophirima Province. This venue boast different cultural villages representing various tribes in our country. The wealth of history from this venue became an integral part of the celebrations as various attendees were taken on a guided tour that included information and history of this beautiful country and its people.
This event attended by amongst others Honourable Minister Des van Rooyen and Deputy Minister Obed Bapela, the Deputy Chair of the National House of Traditional Leaders and a number of Amakhosi representing a wide range of tribal councils, and learners from the nearest schools, was indeed a success and was able to attain its objectives.
All speakers emphasised that Heritage Month is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate different cultures and traditions, in the wider context of a country that belongs to all who live in it. This view was also expressed by all speakers at the event encouraging South Africans to pride themselves with their cultures and traditions. “Let’s decolonise our minds and be proud of who we are and our heritage”, said Deputy Minister Bapela.
The Deputy Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders, Nkosi Mahlangu urged the youth to take advantage of indigenous knowledge that many senior citizens have about our cultures and traditions. This wisdom of the elders should be passed from one generation to another.
Our elders are like libraries containing valuable information that should documented for posterity, hence an African proverb says – “the passing of an elderly person is like a burning library”.
This opportunity to share information with the youth and young children will go a long way in ensuring that we inculcate the knowledge about our rich traditions that makes us who we are. The attendance of this event by learners was meant to achieve the goal of beginning to raise consciousness and educating them about the importance of knowing various cultures and traditions.
South Africans were urged to take pride in their cultures, languages, food, art, music – instead of adopting what other people do. This is a serious concern and the African child must take pride in being who they are – motivated by our theme in the Department of Traditional Affairs – “My tradition, My Pride”.
South Africa has 10 indigenous groups, but the Constitution also to bind us to recognise other groupings and cultures in the country. All this groups have an important role to play in building a South Africa united in its diversity as per our constitution, which also enjoins us to celebrate this cultures.
South Africans were urged to practice their cultures within the context of the spirit of Ubuntu. Ubuntu will assist to build caring communities, restoring key values in our society. Adopting the Ubuntu philosophy will ensure that people live together in harmony and respecting each other, ending abuse, ending violence, ending the looting and the destruction of property. In this regard, government including Municipalities should assist to profile and protect this important traditions that have been part of our people for life.
“Amakhosi are also important as they are custodians of cultures and traditions across our country and their inherent role in nation building and social cohesion is important and should be encouraged to ensure that communities are able to live in peace”, said Minister van Rooyen.
Communities should have an on-going dialogue about different aspects of culture because it is not static as it changes with time. Communities were urged to do away with harmful practices in the name of culture.
The harmonization of relations between municipalities and traditional leadership who operate within the same space is important for a thriving democracy. The Minister urged a harmonious relations and coexistence for improved service delivery. This good relations will assist to fast-track service delivery within jurisdictional areas of traditional leadership and complement implementation of the Back to Basics approach.
The Minister also stressed the importance of supporting various traditional councils in the country ensuring that we preserve cultures and traditions by involving the youth.
Together we can reach out to all in our country, united in our diversity.
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