Different views on Heritage Day

2010-09-25 07:40

Various parties and organisations have expressed their views about Heritage Day celebrations across the country.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said there were signs that South Africa’s democracy was heading in the wrong direction.

DA leader Helen Zille said an example of this was the Protection of Information Bill.

However, there were also signs that the country’s democracy was maturing, she said.

The ANC was starting to fear the voters, which was a watershed moment for South African politics, she said.

“The more the ANC fears the voters, the more it will guard against arrogance, and the more it will strive to improve its performance. This is how democracy works.”

Zille said the DA would be celebrating Heritage Day in George, where it would pay tribute to all those who helped shape the nation into what it is.

“We should remember that it is the people not the politicians who have the power to shape the future they want. That is what a democracy is all about,” she said.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi said on Friday that he hoped to see the national unity that was built up during the World Cup when it came to celebrating public holidays.

“I had hoped to see the national unity we built during June and July spill over into a new dynamic when it comes to celebrating together as a nation. If soccer can unite us, why should Heritage Day still see us divided?” he said in an address delivered on his behalf by the IFP’s deputy secretary-general, Christian Msimang, at the main national Heritage Day celebration in Durban.

He said the success of the World Cup showed citizens what the country was capable of and expectations had been raised.

“If we are able to do all this, our people are certainly going to ask why we are not able to address the daily challenges. For better or worse, our government has raised the bar, and now, we must rise to meet it,” he said.

The Freedom Front Plus Youth said that the youth should not be held responsible for events of the past that they had nothing to do with.

The Afrikaner’s heritage was also an important part of the South African history and should be equally protected, it said.

“The Freedom Front Plus calls on the youth to be proud of their culture and history. We should learn from the past and focus on the future.”

AfriForum said South Africa’s heritage was being undermined by authorities as its cultural assets were not being maintained and conserved.

The deputy CEO of AfriForum, Alana Bailey, said “every community has to become involved in the conservation of its heritage. On the other hand, a community cannot do this when constantly facing the obstacles placed in its way by the authorities, or when certain parts of the South African heritage is constantly being portrayed in a negative light.

“Currently, the authorities – from local and provincial, to national level – undermine the future of several cultural historical and natural treasures in the country by means of ambiguous messages in this regard.”

Bailey said examples of this included Winburg in the Free State and Pilgrim’s Rest in Mpumalanga, and World Heritage Sites such as The Cradle of Humankind and Mapungubwe.

Bailey hoped that the authorities would guard against this so that there would still be a South African heritage to celebrate on September 24 in future.

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