Museum conference to forge reconciliation

2015-11-04 06:00

LETTING go of a painful history that took place in Ncome, the Msunduzi Museum in partnership with Ncome Museum will next month hold a “Courageous Conversations” conference in a bid to facilitate reconciliation and social cohesion.

The conference will take place on 5 and 6 November at the Ncome Museum and is be aimed at creating a platform for discussions and debate around issues relating to heritage, heritage symbols and how they can be used as instruments to facilitate reconciliation.

Director of Msunduzi and Ncome museums Dr Mlungisi Ngubane said: “Under the theme: ‘Unity in diversity’, we want to encourage a univocal voice irrespective of race and culture, because we can’t claim to be united when we are diverse. We want to open a platform for people to talk about the past so there will be no distortion of history.

When people talk about the Ncome monument and the Blood River monument, it is as though they are not linked, which often confuses people. In 1838 there was a blood bath in Ncome, also known as Battle of the Blood River after a war erupted between the Voortrekkers and AmaZulu. As a way of facilitating reconciliation, the national Department of Arts and Culture last year erected a bridge linking the Ncome Museum to the Blood River.

“To date that bridge has been padlocked and is the biggest threat to social cohesion and reconciliation.

“We want to unpack how monuments and heritage sites can be used to promote unity.”

Dr Ngubane said while the motto of the South African coat of arms means unity in diversity and 21 years into the new democratic dispensation­, the conference wants to probe the meaning of heritage symbols to signify a united rainbow nation. Chief Research officer at Msunduzi museum Elrica Henning said: “Recently there has been a huge debate about heritage symbols as the Rhodes statue and in this case it was decided to have it removed. In other cases such as in Durban, instead of removing the statue of General Louis Botha, a statue of King Dinizulu was erected opposite that of Botha.”

UNDER THE THEME: ‘UNITY IN DIVERSITY’, WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE A UNIVOCAL VOICE IRRESPECTIVE OF RACE AND CULTURE, BECAUSE WE CAN’T CLAIM TO BE UNITED WHEN WE ARE DIVERSE

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