Response by Minister Paul Mashatile on the occasion to handover the Heritage Transformation Charter by the National Heritage Council; Ditsong Museum of cultural history
Programme Director, Professor Somadoda Fikeni
Mr Mxolisi Zwane, the Chairperson of the National Heritage Council
Members of the NHC Council
Dr Luli Callinicos, the first Chairperson of the National Heritage Council
The CEO of the National Heritage Council, Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa
Professor Nkondo, the Chairperson of the Heritage Transformation Charter Task Team
Heritage practitioners here present
Officials from the Department of Arts and Culture
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I take this opportunity to congratulate the National Heritage Council on completing the Heritage Transformation Charter.
I also thank the Task Team ably led by Professor Nkondo on the hard work they have put in to ensure that today we have a Transformation Charter that we can present to our stakeholders in the heritage sector.
This Charter signals government’s ongoing commitment to transforming the heritage landscape in our country.
The Charter will help us strengthen efforts aimed at crafting a new and inclusive narrative of where we came from as a nation; of who we are; of our common values as well as our shared history and heritage.
It reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that the stories and struggles of all South Africans are told and that they are included as part of our national memory.
The Charter will also help us strengthen efforts to build new monuments, commemorative sites and museums as well as develop new symbols that are reflective of our common heritage as well as our shared dreams and values.
Through the Charter we will advance our goal of using heritage to support local economic development, job creation, skills development as well as the promotion of social cohesion, nation building and national healing.
We therefore take this opportunity to call on the entire heritage sector to embrace this Charter and to be guided by it as we together transform our country’s heritage landscape.
To the sector we say this is your Charter. It is a product of extensive consultation. Let us therefore work together in implementing it.
Programme Director, we receive this Charter on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the existence of the National Heritage Council.
This is an important milestone worthy of celebrating.
The NHC has indeed come of age, and we congratulate you for reaching this milestone.
We note with appreciation the many successes the NHC has registered since its establishment in 2004.
We count among your successes the work you continue to do to ensure that our liberation heritage forms part and parcel of our nation’s cultural heritage.
We salute you on your work to honour the heroes and heroines of our struggle for national liberation.
We are encouraged by the work you do to bring back the dignity of those who suffered untold humiliation in the hands of our erstwhile colonisers.
In this regard we are reminded, among others, of the work you are doing to secure the return of the remains of Chief David Stuurman; that brave leader of the Khoi people who died in Australia in 1823.
We applaud you on the work you are doing as part of the Historic Schools Legacy Project, in particular the preservation of the legacy of Adams College.
We look forward to this project being implemented in more of our country’s historical schools.
The Liberation Heritage Route remains one of the key projects of our Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy.
We will continue to look up to the NHC to drive the project towards its successful completion, working together with all stakeholders.
We are encouraged that this project has been nominated in the UNESCO tentative list of places of outstanding universal value.
Going forward, we expect to mark many more milestones as we accelerate the implementation of this project.
To the management and the Council of the NHC we wish to say; continue doing the hard work you are doing.
We wish to caution however that; going forward it cannot be business as usual!
We expect you to do more to meet the goals you have set for yourselves.
We expect you to continue with even more determination to transform our nation’s heritage landscape.
We also expect you to continue to expose our young people to heritage education; so that they will know where we come as a nation.
We look up to you to continue supporting communities as they seek to tell their own stories of their struggles and their victories and thus preserve their local heritage.
These stories are largely untold and many community heroes and heroines that are part of these stories remain unsung.
As we this year mark the twentieth anniversary of our freedom and democracy we expect the NHC to continue its work of honouring those who contributed to the achievement of the freedom and democracy we today enjoy.
This we must do in order to promote national healing and to allow communities to find closure to events of their unhappy past.
We also expect the NHC to strengthen its contribution to nation-building and social cohesion.
In particular we are looking up to you to continue your work of instilling, in our society, the progressive humanist values of Ubuntu; that teach us that; I am because you are.
This will go a long way in advancing our goal of building a proud and caring society, as envisaged at the National Summit on Social Cohesion we convened in Kliptown in 2011, as well as in the National Development Plan; Vision 2030.
I wish the National Heritage Council well for the future.
We look forward to another ten and more years of the successful preservation and promotion of our heritage through the work of the National Heritage Council.