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Heritage Day - Divisive?

21 September 2012, 08:39

South Africa is a melting pot of diversity and on Monday all South Africans will be encouraged to celebrate these differences  in cultures and diversity of beliefs, religions and traditions - a public holiday has been set aside for this purpose since September 1995.

My question is "Is this a good thing?" . Surely we as South Africans should, instead of celebrating and honoring what makes us different from others,  rather be looking at ways to put aside our differences and celebrate what we all have in common as South Africans.

I find it strange that people born and raised in South Africa would want to identify themselves as Zulu, Portuguese, Jewish,  Catholic, Boers,  Irish or any other group rather than, first and foremost, as South Africans.  Preferentially classifying or identifying oneself  as belonging to any particular grouping, also has the effect of excluding others from that group - not something we should be promoting in this country. Our past is divisive enough - there is no need to perpetuate this divisiveness any longer.

I would like to propose that the public holiday set aside for Heritage Day be renamed and used to celebrate what makes us South Africans and our love for this country, something to celebrate our National pride. America has Independence Day where all Americans regardless of their individual beliefs and cultures join together and celebrate a common  cause - something all Americans are proud of.

I would like to see this day be celebrated as South Africa Day going forward - a day when all South Africans can come together and celebrate being South African. Forget about our differences and highlight what we have in common .

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