Remarks by Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi on the occasion of the 37th King Silamba commemoration at KomJekejeke Heritage Site, Walmansthal
Your Majesty, King Makhosonke II
Amakhosi onke amenyiwe
Members of the royal family
Members of the community
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
It is said that a nation that does not preserve its heritage and culture is a lost nation.
Government salutes the role that our Traditional Leaders continue to play in the protection and preservation of our heritage and culture.
I am very pleased that young people are here today to listen and learn about the history of Amandebele.
During my meeting with Ingwenyama in October last year I committed that we will start the Oral History project whereby elders will have dialogues with learners telling them about the history of Amandebele. That information will be documented and kept in our archives. This will enable the recording of the authentic history of the Ndebele nation told by Amandebele themselves.
It bears testimony to the resilience of the Ndebele people in the face of a concerted onslaught by colonial and apartheid forces to destroy Amandebele as a nation.
For the first time, this year, the Department of Arts and Culture is supporting KomJekejeke King Silamba Annual Commemoration through its strategic programme of Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE).
The Mzansi Golden Economy programme among others seeks to reinforce the Arts, Culture and Heritage Sector as an economic growth sector, creates decent work for local artists, and provides skills development for excellence and high performance in the arts culture and heritage sector.
Occasions such as King Silamba Commemoration Day clearly show the importance that Amandebele nation attach to the preservation of its heritage and culture. It shows that you want to ensure that isiNdebele language is passed from generation to generation. That would enable them to take interest in knowing who they are? And where they come from?
It gives great pleasure to speak at KomJekejeke heritage Site after it was given a facelift by the Department of Tourism in 2016 in order to unlock the heritage and tourism potential of this beautiful part of our country.
I would like to agree with Ingwenyama Makhosonke II who on accepting the upgraded centre noted that it should serve as a place where different cultural groups in South Africa will be invited to showcase their diverse culture and heritage.
The diverse culture and heritage offerings that are being showcased here today bear testimony to the vision of the king to make this site accessible to all South Africans.
This heritage site is now upgraded so that the Amandebele nation can host all national commemorations and celebrations within an appropriate precinct that has all the necessary amenities including ablution facilities and an exhibition space.
This precinct needs to be used by our people to showcase our craft, our pottery, our carvings, our traditional dresses, our woodwork and all other heritage objects that we are proud of and wish to share with rest of the world.
Men and women who produce beautiful indigenous arts and craft should be able to showcase them at this exhibition space with a view to selling them directly to the local and international markets. We need to produce more Esther Mngunis and Esther Mahlangus from Amandebele.
We hope that today’s event will serve as an example to all the people of South Africa not only to take pride in their culture and heritage but to also use them to derive economic benefits and pass their knowledge and skills to the younger generations.
On behalf of the entire Arts and Culture family I wish you a happy and enjoyable commemoration.
Thank you, Siyabonga.