Mashatile encourages unity through cultural diversity at Heritage Day celebrations
Deputy president Paul Mashatile has called on South Africans to use their cultural differences as a uniting factor to “safeguard” the future.
Mashatile was addressing scores of people who braved Sunday’s rain to attend the national Heritage Day celebrations at Princess Magogo stadium in KwaMashu, north of Durban.
He said Heritage Day should challenge citizens to reflect on the journey the country has taken since the dawn of democracy and also accept the challenges of building one nation out of a country with a history of division.
“We all know that many tribulations underscore our history because of both colonialism and apartheid, but also the triumph of the people against these oppressive regimes is noteworthy. Ours is a unique history that has inspired many nations towards embracing unity and diversity, and showing that difference can be a platform for development and not destruction and divisions.”
He reminded the crowd that the country had come from a past that ensured that some cultures were not freely practised or appreciated, especially those of people indigenous to South Africa.
He emphasised it was the unity of the previous generations that had defeated that system, giving birth to democracy.
“We must acknowledge and appreciate what our forebears have done. Still, most importantly, we must reflect on the kind of future that we want to leave for generations to come.
“Our young democracy has many gains, and we are equally aware that we have much to do to achieve a fully democratic, nonracial and non-sexist society, a future that we all dream of and are responsible for making a reality.”
He also paid tribute to the late Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu and her son and IFP founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who also died earlier this month.
Mashatile said the government had invested a lot towards developing and promoting arts and culture in the country, as Princess Magogo had done in her lifetime.
He called for greater unity in KwaZulu-Natal, a plea that he said had also been made by Buthelezi.
“Working for peace and unity is the only way to acknowledge the contribution of Mtwana kaPhindangene.”
He highlighted the achievements of the democratic government in different sectors and urged South Africans to embrace the different cultures throughout September, heritage month.
“Heritage month holds immense cultural significance in South Africa, as it provides a platform for communities to celebrate and display their unique traditions, customs, and languages.
“This celebration of cultural diversity not only strengthens the identities of various communities but also helps preserve and promote their heritage for future generations. It provides an opportunity for our people to reconnect with their roots, honour their ancestors, and pass on important cultural practices and values.”
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