Celebrating heritage

2008-09-22 00:00

“Heritage” is that which is handed down from the past by tradition. This nation has a remarkable depth and diversity of cultures and ethnicities, something that is both enriching and challenging. One of the mistakes of the past is that those who had political power refused to em-brace this diversity as a distinctive and a shared heritage and instead chose separation and the promotion of the sectional interests of the dominant group.

It is right that neglected heritages should be given recognition, but that does not mean the obliteration of one heritage in favour of another. Serving a political agenda in this way can only reinforce the sectionalism and antagonism that bedevils this nation’s history. Group identities are a reality, and each group has the right to rejoice in its own heritage, but also an obligation to respect the heritage of others. The challenge of heritage celebrations is to build sensitivity and tolerance.

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