In the midst of 20 years of democracy, the NHC officially celebrated its 10th anniversary on 08 April. The long-awaited Heritage Transformation Charter was handed over to the Arts and Culture Ministry at the Ditsong Cultural History Museum as part of the anniversary milestones.
Heritage activists witnessed the acceptance of the Heritage Transformation Charter by Minister Paul Mashatile. The Council’s first Chairperson, Dr Luli Callinicos and some of the founding members including Zolani Mkiva and Prof. Muxe Nkondo seized the moment to reminisce about the humble beginnings of reviving the heritage of our people in South Africa.
The CEO of the NHC since inception, Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa, described the event as a historic one for the NHC to mark its 10th anniversary and contributing towards the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s hard fought Democracy.
He further added that a narration of a good story to tell the nation about the 20th anniversary of our relatively young democracy and related achievement would be incomplete without highlighting heritage milestones by the NHC together with its stakeholders.
The Heritage Transformation Charter is a framework of principles, values and mechanisms to guide and regulate the transformation of the Heritage Sector. It provides a model that aims to achieve the integration of heritage as key to the cultural expression that gives impetus to economic development in line with the National Development Plan (NDP).
The Charter argues that heritage projects can contribute to moral regeneration and business activities either directly through the jobs and expenditure generated by conservation and preservation work, or indirectly through the benefits of heritage-based recreation.
With the introduction of the Mzansi Golden Economy and Social Cohesion Plan, the protection of heritage is now included within environmental impact assessment, and is beginning to be seen as something that is relevant to wider sustainability goals.
“Our humble request is for the Minister to subject the Charter to further public engagement processes towards Cabinet approval for national application” Mancotywa concluded.
Minster Paul Mashatile said that the Charter will help in strengthening efforts aimed at crafting new and inclusive narrative of where we came from as a nation; of who we are; of our common values as well as our shared history and heritage.
He called upon the entire heritage sector to embrace this Charter and to be guided by it to transform the country’s heritage landscape.
He also urged the heritage sector that the charter is a product of extensive consultation and should therefore work together to implement it.