The Heritage Day celebration of 2015 at the Ramokgopa stadium in the Mokomene village just outside Polokwane was hive of the South African cultures. The celebration was addressed by Acting President and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In opening the event the Premier of Limpopo, Stan Mathabatha, did not fall short of the knowledge of the diverse cultures in his province. He welcomed the Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa like a seasoned and veteran tour guide would paint the rich landscapes and diverse living cultures. He mentioned the people in their indigenous languages, ethnic groups, traditional leaders and the important heritage landmarks including the Mapumgubwe World Heritage Site.
In addition to the locals who displayed their cultural heritage, an ensemble by the Indoni had a complete kaleidoscope of South African cultural dances. The organization was formed by Dr Mthembu with the aim to instil cultural and heritage pride in young South Africans. They take about 1800 young people from all over South Africa to be taught the essence of their culture in their most diverse forms. A total of 500 young people performed all the different cultural dances from all the ethnic groups in the country.
The heroic legacy of all our Kings and Queens in defence of our dignity must continue to inspire our generation to work for the greater good of our nation. Heritage Day reminds us that we are decendents of heroes and heroines like Autshumato, Hintsa, Moshoeho, Ngungunyane, Sekhukhune, Mampuru, Makhado, Cetshwayo, Manthantisi, Modjadji and Makwena Matlala,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa. He acknowledged that they were the protectors of our heritage and everything that we have come to appropriate as ours.
He also acknowledge the heroes and heroines of our liberation struggle as those who defined the law in defence of justice as well as the theory and practice of defiance.
Deputy President Ramaphosa said that heritage can ensure an African identity in a global world. He urged the people of South Africa to understand and practice each other’s cultures to increase the cohesion.
In support of his statement that “Indigenous knowledge is not a relic of the past”, he mentioned examples of the things South Africa has contributed to the world. The Hoodia gordonii plant that is now patented as a weight loss pharmaceutical product, the Rooibos tea and the Marula tree also has medicinal properties that are uniquely a South African heritage in a form of indigenous knowledge. He particularly emphasized the economic potential and the exploitation of international markets for many of the South African art and cultural products.
He admitted that we need to find the rainbow nation when we acknowledge that first and foremost, we are African before we are what our cultures define us. “We will find this rainbow nation when our young people respect and do not insult the elders” he said in wishing South Africans a future of building a unified nation through heritage.