I am delighted to be part of the Isikhumbuzo saMahlubi which marks the 91st anniversary since the arrival of AmaHlubi here in Khayakhulu.
It is said that a nation that does not preserve its culture and heritage is a lost nation. Our heritage is part of the South African story and pride.
Together we can foster a shared consciousness that embraces our vibrant cultures and heritage. It is through the preservation of culture and heritage that we are able to know who we are and where we come from.
The promotion and preservation of Amahlubi cultural traditions should be passed on from one generation to the next and if needs be, it should form part of the day to day lives of the people in this area.
It is in this month of September that South Africans from all walks of life, both young and old celebrate our rich heritage. This year’s Heritage Month is celebrated under the theme “Our Indigenous Knowledge, Our Heritage: Towards the Identification, Promotion and Preservation of South Africa’s Living Heritage”.
In his speech during the Heritage Day event at Ramokgopa stadium, Limpopo, Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, remarked that:
“It is said that when an old person passes away, we bury a library. Senior citizens are living human treasures. We have a duty to ensure that their knowledge is collected and preserved for future generations. Let us provide them opportunities in community centres and schools to educate our youth. Let us continue working together to identify, preserve and promote indigenous knowledge systems and the living heritage of all our people”.
The National Development Plan states that:
“Arts and culture open powerful spaces for debate about where a society finds itself and where it is going. Promoted effectively, the creative and cultural industries can contribute substantially to small business development, job creation, and urban development and renewal”.
As such this occasion also mark the culmination of week-long activities that forms part of the Isikhumbuzo saMahlubi. These activities included intergenerational dialogue on social cohesion and competitions with the central theme on history, heritage and culture of the AmaHlubi and the extent to which this edifies the broader South African national identity, career expo as well as flag hoisting at Khayakhulu Primary School.
Living Heritage is the foundation of most communities in South Africa. It is an essential source of identity and continuity. Aspects of Living Heritage may include: cultural tradition, oral history, performance, ritual, popular memory, skills and techniques, indigenous knowledge systems; and the holistic approach to nature, society and social relationships.
The Department of Arts and Culture is committed to promote national identity, patriotism, nation building and social cohesion through the Flag in Every School Campaign, which involves hoisting of the national flag, the correct etiquette of singing the National Anthem, the recital of the Preamble of the Constitution by the learners, distribution of the South African flags and publications on national symbols as well as the CD Tool Kit on how to sing the AU and the National Anthems.
During the month of September we celebrate all the men and women who have kept our traditions alive. We celebrate the crafters, the sculptures, the weavers, the musicians, the poets, the writers, the storytellers, the trackers, the healers and the builders from Africa who inherited their skills from their elders.
Our parents and grandparents planted their own indigenous crops and had livestock to feed their families. Our families ate healthy organic foodstuffs that were widely available in the neighbourhood
The stories of South Africa are many and diverse, and collectively they tell the story of our entire nation. The Isikhumbuzo saMahlubi is one of them.
Tata Nelson Mandela, once said,
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
The performances by AmaHlubi women, Khayakhulu cultural group, Bakgatla cultural group and the Tshivenda Traditional Orchestra Tshikona dance epitomises that our diversity and unique heritage unites us as a nation.
Let us continue to promote and preserve our indigenous languages, culture and heritage to enhance our national pride, nation building and social cohesion.
I thank you…