Africa’s only heritage Awards celebrate those who promote heritage
Heritage month is a month where we celebrate our culture and the diversity of our beliefs and traditions for nation building and social cohesion. On 15 September 2017, the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) together with the Northern Cape Province Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and the Sol Plaatje Municipality hosted the Golden Shield Heritage Awards at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley.
“We pride ourselves to celebrate our heritage champions in these national awards in our province. It is through the sport, arts and culture that we as the department can assist in developing and empowering our communities. Let us continue to embrace our culture for a sense of identity and belonging” said Department of Sport, Arts and Culture MEC Bongiwe Mbingo-Gigaba.
With 2017, declared the year of OR Tambo, the Awards were hosted under the theme: Celebrating Cultural and Heritage champions in the 100 years of Oliver Tambo.
MEC Mbingo-Gigaba thanked the esteemed cultural and heritage champions that as the three partners, we are committed to creating a space suitable for you to promote your wonderful work and will continue doing so.
Towards the prestigious awards, the communities of the Northern Cape province were brought together through the Heritage Imbizo in Platfontein where the Xu and Xhwe were encouraged to celebrate and embrace their rich heritage for social cohesion and nation building in South Africa. A Cultural parade awakened the spirit of Heritage month in the city with some educational snippets about the town’s sites significant to the province’s liberation heritage. Local cultural groups from the various cultures in the province including Batswana, Xu and the Xhwe captivated the public with their traditional dance and performances.
Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa, CEO of the NHC motivated the finalists by saying that even if they do not make it as winners in their categories, they must not despair and must continue doing the great work of promoting our heritage and culture. He stressed that the we need to invest in our heritage because it is our DNA.
Below are the Golden Shield Heritage Awards 2017 winners:
- Young Heritage Activist: Ms Vhutshilo Padima
Her unique products are made of natural resources such as clay and wood. Through these resources, she is able to design and craft palm flowers and wall decorations. Her products are traded even on social media to reach a wider target market. She has trained and employed a number of passionate youth in her community. Most of the houses in her community have been decorated using her hand crafted designs.
- Preferred Heritage Destination
Mphebatho Cultural Museum is a community based museum in the heart of Pilanesburg in the North West province in The Well of Heritage – Moruleng Cultural Precinct. The museum upholds the history, culture and heritage of the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela community and the Batswana people at large in unconventional ways. Exhibitions at the museum cover traditional Batswana knowledge systems, oral history, etc. It is a 21st century space that is highly conceptual and stimulates visitors’ creative and critical thinking. This museum is about exploring, discovering, learning and preserving.
- Heritage Corporate Citizen
NMFD (Naomi Mamakiri Fasion Designs) is a South African brand which has managed to touch and dress nations from various parts of the world. Under NMFD inspires clothes for special occasions like the red carpets events, weddings, graduation, etc. the purpose of NMFD is to make traditional clothes relevant to today’s lifestyle, and encourage its clients to feel proud of their culture and continue wearing their traditional clothes. Its motto is to ‘remain relevant as it continues to utilise a wide range of locally manufactured fabrics from the African Continent’.
- Heritage Education
Is there any better way of preserving one’s heritage if not by research and documentation? Ms Sibiya and her team of learners are currently researching and documenting their local heritage in order to archive it for the current and future generations. She has attended many conferences in which she presented papers on the importance of indigenous knowledge systems especially when it comes to fighting pollution. Her initiatives are prospects of expanding the heritage to a tourism angle to provide job opportunities. She is currently coordinating a programme, in which her learners are looking at their local cultural heritage and how it can be preserved.
- National Living Treasure
Known amongst her supporters as the ‘Miriam Makeba of traditional music, especially Tshivenda music, her song writing skills and sweet voice have, for more than 50 years, added a golden touch to many well-known songs and artists. She has recorded and performed with, amongst others, Mahotella Queens, Dark Sisters, Dorothy Masuka, the Sweet Sixteens, Izintombi Zomoya, Irene and the Sweet Queens. She has written songs in Zulu, Sotho, Pedi and Venda. She is currently the Chairperson of the TSHIMA group responsible for the recognition of young artists who sing traditional music.
- Persons Living with Disability
Against all odds like story. Mr Gumede approached other people living with disability to form a musical group called the Green Berets in which they sing traditional music. They have collaborated with internationally acclaimed musicians like Paul Simon and the award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Almost all their songs are composed in African languages as part of preservation and promotion.
- Academic Excellence
Dr David Mcintyre Morris is Head of Archaeology at the McGregor Museum and Extraordinary Professor in the School of Humanities at Sol Plaatje University. As part of his Doctoral research, he looked at the significance of rock art conservation. He is passionate about the archaeology and history of the Northern Cape as well as the importance of museums in society.
- Voice of Heritage
For the past 16 years, Mr Godsend Mokgope has been involved in the preservation and promotion of the Batswana cultural heritage through music shows and documentaries in which he has even written a Show called Tselane and Sankatane. He is currently researching and documenting Batswana culture through archival digitization. He is indeed one of the champions of heritage management.
- Liberation Heritage Steward
Simphiwe Msizi as the name suggests is gifted in the area of liberation heritage preservation and promotion, is the pioneer of the Steve Biko youth conversations in which the youth discuss the importance of black consciousness and be proud of their African backgrounds. He continues to work with the Nelson Mandela University in researching about those unsung heroes and heroines who played a role in the liberation of this country.
- Community Project
The Peelton Congregational church was built in 1875 by Reverend Brit from the London Missionary Society. This church also served as a school which produced some of the prominent figures in the South African community. The revered early intellectual Walter Rubusana and liberation struggle stalwart, Steve Tshwete, amongst others, are the alumni of this historic missionary school. Renovations are at an advanced stage to restore this historic building to its glorious past.
- Ubuntu Honours
The Life of Mfengu Makhalima is that which is rooted on people’s struggles and in which heroes of their own struggles emerge as people’s cause triumph. Who else embodies this mobile library and heritage of the ordinary people than Tat Mfengu? He has travelled an extraordinary journey and change a course of history for the better. The story of his upbringing can be summarised by the words of James Baldwin, who writes: ‘I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that.’
- Lifetime Achiever Awards
Mama Grace Masuku is everyone’s grandmother. Her mischievous grin, her childlike spirit, means that in her eighties, her presence has yet to dim. She radiates an undeniable energy when she speaks. That vitality is important, because Masuku represents a part of South Africa that many have forgotten. Renowned for her deep knowledge of Tswana traditional and cultural values, she is driven by a respect and reverence for her people and environment that has resulted in a remarkable life. Mama Masuku proclaims that ‘It’s so important to preserve nature, and there’s something about it; the more you preserve, the more you learn about nature, the better you become’. A barefoot Professor at its best.
Caption: Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Bongiwe Mbingo- Gigaba, Lifetime Achiever Award winner – Mama Grace Masuku and the Chairperson of the NHC – Dr Marcus Balintulo.
Caption: Chief Executive of the NHC, Recipient of Tata Matthews Mfengu – Ubuntu Honour and Mr Moshweu – Councillor at the Sol Plaatje Municipality
Notes to Editor: For media interviews with the winners, please contact Linda Shilakwe on 082 657 7064; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Danny Goulkan on 072 952 2260; email: email@example.com