Fellow South Africans and the sporting fraternity across the globe, I extend my warmest greetings to all of you. This is not a joyful moment.
It is not a joyful occasion because the icy hand of death has once again visited our beloved Anele Ngcongco. A gentle giant of sport. A person who has been described by his peers as full of love, warmth and life.
I stand before you at a time when we are grieving the loss of a giant, Dawn Linberg, who passed away on Monday evening at the age of 75. Ms Lindberg was the founder of the Naledi Theatre Awards and formerly Chairperson of Theatre Management South Africa (TMSA), a pioneer and a game-changer.
As you may know, following continued public criticism on how Cricket SA was conducting its affairs, particularly in the areas of leadership, governance, transformation, selection of teams, etc from various interest groups within and outside cricket, I was urged to step in and assist Cricket SA resolve their problems.
Before we talk to the subject of today’s gathering, let us pay tribute to the writers who have lost their lives during this weekend. It is with great sadness that we have heard of the passing of Myesha Jenkins, a poet supreme, an anti-apartheid activist, who chose to leave her home in California to make a new life in South Africa.
This week marks the commencement of Heritage Month under the theme: “Celebrating South Africa’s Living Human Treasures”. As the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, it is our responsibility to ensure that there is proper observance of the national commemorative program of government, inclusive of the national days, as determined by the Public Holidays Act of 1994, and of which the Heritage Day is one.
Fellow South Africans, I extend my warmest greetings to all of you, the circumstances of our day, the challenges of our time force us to gather in a manner we did not anticipate this time last year. The whole world has been turned upside down by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I extend my warmest greetings to all of you who have tuned in. We live in extra-ordinary times. As humanity we face unprecedented challenges brought about by the outbreak of this pandemic called COVID-19.
It is an honour and great privilege for me that I stand before this august forum of South Africans from all walks of life to address a gathering that seeks to tackle a very important and timely subject – that of building a social compact for Nation Building and Social Cohesion.
Let me take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge my counterparts from the various BRICS Countries responsible for culture for making time amid competing and pressing issues in their countries to attend and take part in the 3rd BRICS Culture meeting here in South Africa.