Does Heritage Day reflect the real SA?

Thousands of people gathered at Fountain Valley before walking to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Heritage Day.
Thousands of people gathered at Fountain Valley before walking to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Heritage Day.
Image: KABELO MOKOENA

The spectacle that is Heritage Day has always been celebrated as the premium show-off of SA's cultural diversity where the colours of the rainbow nation are at their most visible and most harmonious.

Different cultures converge to celebrate the eclecticism nature of how diverse we are as a nation and how tolerant we are in living under one South African sky.

Conversely, every year when we celebrate Heritage Day, I always ask myself if the day is a true reflection of the underlying endurance that we as South Africans live with despite our differences - or is it a superficial fad of passing time to honour the holiday and quickly go back to our usual ways of intolerance and tribal phobia?

For example, if we take the issue of land expropriation without compensation, South Africans are divided along racial lines, even the euphoria of heritage month cannot rub off to make the topic less explosive.

The majority of black people are in favour of the motion to amend section 25 of the constitution to make it possible for land to be expropriated without compensation.

However, those who are opposing it are seen as complicit on the decades of land deprivation that flowed from colonial rule and apartheid.

This was echoed by minister in the presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma during the Women and Youth Land Reform Dialogue that was organised by the department of rural development and land reform.

Dlamini-Zuma highlighted the importance of redressing the imbalances of land ownership. She praised the department for undertaking the dialogue during the heritage month because land is our heritage.

Themba Mzula Hleko

Rosslyn Gardens

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