Heritage Day: ‘Let us recommit to respect’

2009-09-25 00:00

HERITAGE Day in Pietermaritzburg got off to a jovial start with KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize and IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi riding in rickshaws in a parade that wove through the city streets. They were followed on foot by other politicians and guests, many dressed in colourful traditional regalia.

There was a celebratory atmosphere at the large gathering at the Heritage Day provincial event at Woodburn Stadium.

Mkhize said Heritage Day is a day to recommit “ourselves to respect and preserve the different traditions and emphasise the freedom of worship and religion”.

The premier said that when South Africa became a democracy, an equal society was formed with rights enshrined in a constitution.

“Many countries have been torn apart by political, religious, ethnic and other forms of intolerance. South Africa is different, having learnt lessons from many communities in the world … This country has chosen a path for peace and interracial harmony,”Mkhize added.

He said South Africa is one nation with many cultures.

“We celebrate our diversity as a source of strength. It is a diversity that makes us a unique nation.”

He warned that preserving the path of peace meant that South Africans must also be taught to accept all peoples. There must be an end to xenophobia and all forms of political intolerance.

The premier said it is important to preserve the story of South Africa’s liberation.

He noted that the National Heritage Council has already started crafting what is now known as “liberation routes” which will map places, people and events that were pillars of the South African struggle.

“We must preserve our history and heritage lest we forget the oppress­ion, the pain, the suffering, the bloodshed, the sacrifice and the dedication to service to mankind.

“That is the foundation upon which our democracy is founded,” Mkhize said.

That country’s liberation legacy also demands that its democracy be enhanced.

This means, “we have to fight crime, the proliferation of drugs in our schools and communities and eradicate fraud and corruption.

“We have to accelerate the delivery of services to all our people and bring development to rural communities.”

 

 

It is a diversity that makes us a unique nation. Premier Zweli Mkhize

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