Arts and Culture kicks off Heritage Month

11 Sep 2019

National Heritage Month kicked off

The National Heritage Month 2019, kicked off with an activation on 2 September 2019 at the National Library of South Africa. An exhibition was held to showcase different literary classics books. This was done towards the activation and support of this year’s theme.

Government will host build up activities, engaging with communities and track programmes that have been underway, ahead of the celebration of National Heritage Day on, 24 September 2019, in Upington at Northern Cape. The theme for Heritage Month 2019 is: “25 Years of Democracy: Celebrating South Africa’s literary classics in the year of Indigenous languages”.

During this Heritage Month, we celebrate, honour, and pay special tribute to the authors of South Africa literary classics and our indigenous languages

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages based on a resolution of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. All South Africans should join forces to celebrate, preserve and promote our languages.  

This month should remind us as South Africans to celebrate our languages, our national identity and our unity in diversity. It is through multilingualism that we can truly aspire to achieve social cohesion. Let’s showcase the richness of our African languages. Our languages are our heritage, our present and our future. This culture should be one that goes on beyond the month of Heritage.

National, provincial and local libraries are hosting exhibitions where readers can be drawn to the wealth of literature in our indigenous languages. All learners and members of communities must join their local libraries, celebrate South African writing, and form book clubs to encourage a culture of reading and sharing of ideas.

The Department of Arts and Culture encourages artists and authors to take part in readings during this month and beyond. All South Africans to buy a book and to read a book during this month and beyond, celebrate literature and the wisdom contained in our languages, tell the South African story in all our languages. 

Each one should make a culture of reading, writing and the buying of local books our business. Government encourages the acknowledgement and recognition of South African living literary legends and all those authors who have written classics in indigenous languages.

This is a clarion call for South Africans to assert our languages in all spaces and in all sectors. With indigenous languages and knowledge we can assert our identity, create spaces where we can be ourselves and transform our lives.

The days preceding the Heritage Day will see a number of activities taking place in and around the country. The following are some of the activities that will be taking place.

The week beginning 22 until 27 September 2019 will experience an indigenous games festival to take place in Polokwane. A Heritage Month dialogue will precede the National commemoration on Heritage at Upington on 23 September at 18h00 in Upington.

The 24th of September 2019 (Heritage Day Commemoration) will begin with a legacy project handover in Upington. An official handover of a newly built library will be taking place prior to the formal programme. This programme will be led by the Deputy President. The community will be entertained by a diverse cultural performance show casing our heritage as South Africans. Government Services will also be provided on site prior and post the formal event at the Mxolisi D. Jacobs Stadium, Upington in the Northern Cape.

A reminder that 30 September is translation day. Each year, translators, interpreters and terminologists celebrate International Translation Day on 30 September, the feast of St. Jerome. In 2017 a historical milestone was achieved for all professional translators, interpreters and terminologists, with the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopting Resolution A/RES/71/288, recognising the role of professional translation in connecting nations, and fostering peace, understanding and development. In the same resolution, the United Nations General Assembly declared 30 September to be UN International Translation Day, celebrated across the entire UN network. In celebration of 2019, UN International Year of Indigenous Languages, this year’s theme is Translation and Indigenous Languages.

“The positive and practical measures taken by Government on indigenous languages are meant to close socio-historical gap wherein African languages were not seen as repositories of scholarship, research and thought”, said Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Zimasa Velaphi
Communications, National Department of Arts and Culture
Cell: 072 172 8925