Without being politically incorrect or probing many sleeping realities of being who you are, let me voice the following.
The big issue here is who you are. It is neither about wearing traditional outfit nor being out there around braai fire.
As I was walking down our main street in our town, I spotted this beautiful African lady walking with her three or four year old daughter I assume, wearing their full Zulu traditional regalia. This to me represented true South Africanism and the notion of nation building. They were chatting about what really excites them, one could tell from their visible body language.
I was so eager to meet and greet them as they were coming towards my direction. Upon getting nearer I was so disappointed that they were communicating using English. Whatever their home vernacular is I believe that it should be promoted and preserved. From my observation the mother took pride that her daughter was so fluent in English and she was commanding a certain accent which I think might be from her school, if not her favourite actor.
I say Heritage is a big fuss because instead of redefining and finding ourselves, we are busy creating some sort of a melting pot where cultural distinction will be visible by only their names but not in practice.
I doubt if the kid I saw is able to read or write any of the African languages, yet she is an African. What is her heritage then, where is her pride. I am only deliberately focussing on language and do not want to spread to any of the practices that might be associated with culture.
As if this incident was not enough, as I crossed the street I saw a vehicle driven by a white man and it had a sticker at the back which read “100% AFRIKANER”. To say the least, I was very much impressed because this to me meant something. It meant that the white man and his family are not diluted in any way or whatsoever but their practices, their beliefs, their cultures are still adhered to in full without compromising or conforming to any pressure coming from whichever direction.
This is the man who can be justified to celebrate his heritage because he still holds firmly to what defines him, being Afrikaner. I am not interested to what it actually means but what strikes me is that this is the way Africans should hold on to what defines them.
No wonder it is easy to change heritage day and call it braai day, it is solely because there is no more deep historical or cultural definition of who Africans are, and they are happy to braai and forget about anything else, save to enjoy the holiday which the Government has declared.
Each ethnical group has to go back to where they belong, rediscover and redefine themselves so that when heritage day comes, they will know what they will be celebrating. It is not wrong to be 100% of what you are and stop adopting all the cultures that are foreign to you.
Just be proud of who you are and make that heritage day have a meaning, and that’s the big deal about heritage.
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