National Heritage Day 24 September is only a few days away where South African citizens will be celebrating the rich culture and diversities. In celebration of Heritage month, the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) honoured and acknowledged unearthed, selfless individuals and organisations that are preserving our countries heritage at the 2015 Annual Golden Shield Heritage Awards gala dinner at the Gallagher Estates in Midrand on Friday, 18 September.
The CEO of the NHC Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa said, “Heritage practices and education are key in the conservation of our heritage for social cohesion and nation building. Without tonight’s honoured organisations and individuals – our heritage, culture and indigenous knowledge systems will be neglected”.
These are the only Awards in South Africa that acknowledges individuals and organisations who contribute selflessly to the preservation, interpretation and promotion of the country’s rich cultural heritage.
The awards were motivated by the rationale that heritage has a significant role to play in promoting social cohesion and community development.
The winners in this year’s categories are as follows:
World Heritage Site of the Year and Favourite World Heritage Site Category: Robben Island
Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a National Heritage site situated in Table bay 6.9 km west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa. The name is Dutch for “seal island”. Nobel Laureate and former President of the Republic of South Africa was imprisoned there for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid. To date, three of the former inmates of Robben Island have gone on to become President of South Africa: Nelson Mandela, Kgalema Motlanthe and current President Jacob Zuma.
Local Government Commitment: Chris Hani District Municipality
Chris Hani District Municipality developed and adopted the Chris Hani Liberation Route, which is also used as tourism destination routes. As a municipality they developed a liberation route booklet and a Digital Video documentary that outlines 56 liberation heritage sites while informing the community and learners about the role that liberation struggle icons play.
And finally, they also developed a comprehensive heritage strategy that highlights the development and preservation of all heritage sites within the district.
Outstading Community Project: Phambili Marimba
Phambili Marimba has trained 8 marimba teachers from different schools to capacitate youth through practical training. Up to 800 learners have been exposed to playing marimba instruments and traditional songs across 11 official languages. They initiated a marimba competition, in which schools in and around Gauteng competed. The group has been contracted to perform at events and to create revenue for their sustainability.
Heritage Leadership Award: Mr Vusi Madonsela
Preferred Heritage Destination: Parys Museum
Parys Museum is situated in a World Heritage Site known as the Vrede Fort Dome in the Free State. It showcases all aspects of history, heritage and knowledge development in the Ngwathe area. The Parys Museum society is actively involved in addressing poverty alleviation and job creation, using the principles of entrepreneurship. They are all about promotion of nation building, equality and redressing of historical imbalances. They actively encourage other members of the community to participate in skills & knowledge transfer as well as promoting capacity building within the youth community.
Young Heritage Activist: Mr. Leonard Mckay
Mr. Leonard Mckay is a passionate person with a sense for community development, an artist who participate in different heritage projects. He has been a facilitator of Adam Louw Digters Forum in Kakammas since 2007. Mckay has guided youth to participate in poetry competitions like the SABC 2 Lentswe Poetry Project Team leader of a youth team who run the Kakamas tourism. He has contributed towards the eventual display of visual artworks in new Northern Cape legislature building project. He runs a mosaic arts project where he transfers skills to the youth to become entrepreneurs. McKay contributes in the project: Teach2Preach in which the Kakamas youth are taught on how best to protect the environment.
National Living Treasure: Mr Vuka Tshabalala
Mr Vuka Tshabalala is the Founder and CEO of the James Mpanza Legacy Foundation Trust, he started the first township based living museum, the Magebula Mpanza Museum. This museum was declared a provincial heritage site on 24 September 2011. The museum is visited by over 4200 tourists a month, in which they are informed about the establishment of Soweto and surrounding areas. The James Mpanza Legacy Foundation Trust has collected and documented oral history for the purpose of developing heritage products since 2011. They are currently working with the local visual artists on the Mooki street heritage trail, which has eight heritage sites.
Heritage Ambassador: Ms Tando Songwevu
*Under the Academic Excellence category, there were no nominees that met the category criteria.
“May your efforts remain to be placed on a national and global stage as this one because you are the reason why our country’s heritage is flourishing for a united nation proud of its African heritage”, concluded Mancotywa.