Heritage is one of the primary sources of identity, imparting to communities a sense of belonging. That South Africa is culturally diverse is readily recognized. Less evident is the role that heritage can play in nurturing our national identity, social cohesion, conflict prevention and promoting human security. A group of independent experts set up by the Director General of UNESCO defined cultural diversity as “the manifold ways in which the cultures of social groups and societies find expression.” This suggests that rather than dividing us, cultural diversity is our collective strength, which could benefit the entire world. In this sense, it should be recognised and affirmed as the “common heritage” of all South Africans. Our South African Heritage draws on three continents and we, on this side of the house, have always accepted this outcome as the verdict of history. Humanism, that affirms the dignity and worth of all people, based on our human capacity to reason, is the connecting thread among these traditions. Its African spirit is best expressed as “Umntu, ngumntu ngabantu” – One’s humanity is affirmed in the recognition of the humanity of others
The year 2006 (last year) marked the National celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Women’s Anti-pass March to the Union Building here in Pretoria. On 8 August last year we were here to launch the gaMohle/National Archives Oral History project which has as one of its objectives the documenting of the stories related to that historic march. We are here again today to conclude this project and to assess the information gathered during this period.
We are gathered here tonight to celebrate one of the oldest and most enduring of the art disciplines practiced on the African soil, poetry. Because it is so evocative, poetry has been used in every known human setting as one of many means of artistic expression, employing on of the faculties that distinguishes us from other animal species, the faculty of speech.
South Africa is extremely honoured to be hosting the World the WLIC/IFLA Conference.
This is only the second time that this gathering of the world’s librarians has been held on the African continent and the first time it is being held in South Africa
In recent weeks a prominent South African musician, speaking at the Edinburgh Arts Festival, made some rather acid comments about our government and its relationship to South African music. For his pains, that musician earned the dubious honour of being awarded the Sunday Times’ “Mampara of the Week” title on Sunday 12th August.
Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs,
MEC of Arts, Culture and Tourism in KwaZulu-Natal,
Your Honour, the Mayor of eThekwini Municipality,
Dr Alex Byrne, President of IFLA,
Dr Claudia Lux, President of IFLA,
Ms Ellen Tise, President of the National Organising Committee,
Mr Tommy Matthee, President of LIASA,
Mr John Tsebe, National Librarian,
Your Honourm Justice Albie Sachs,
Our International Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Origin of CACs – family units, skills e.g. weaving, passed on from generation to generation.
CACs set up by the British in the 1950s – to teach the natives European arts and craft
CACs during the apartheid era – Centres for political and cultural expression
CACs as space for young people (many displaced since 1976)
I am delighted to address you this morning on the occasion for the Third International EMBOK IMBIZO and to extend to all our international guests, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of South Africa, a very warm welcome. This year, and I’m sure many South African present here today will agree with me, we have experienced the coldest winter in a very long time, if ever before. Could this be ascribed to climate change which everyone is concerned about today?
Since the invention of writing, literature has been a critical vehicle for the socialization, politicization, conscientization, education and entertainment of human beings. Writing and reading have since then been the means whereby knowledge, information have been passed down from era to era, from place to place from one group to another, from one society to another. As a repository of knowledge and the transmitter of information, writing and reading were sources of power. For centuries the ability to read and write was the monopoly of a few in all societies. Indeed, it was against the law to teach certain classes of people these skills, precisely as a means of keeping them ignorant of the society and the world they lived in, as a direct means of social control.
Bonsoir! Good evening! Welcome to this very special dinner. I trust that you enjoyed your stay in our beautiful country as much as you enjoyed the work that you had to do. You know, we just can’t have enough of you. We enjoyed your being here. If it were at all possible it would be wonderful if you could stay on for just another few days to experience more of our wonderful country with its rich variety of cultures, its natural splendours and, most importantly, it’s very special and friendly people (like me).