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READER LETTER | Decolonising African minds is true heritage

Boereworse braai competition is the ultimate commercialisation of Heritage Day

Ga eje Borekhu Group from Hammanskraal during previous Heritage Day celebrations.
Ga eje Borekhu Group from Hammanskraal during previous Heritage Day celebrations.
Image: Antonio Muchave

On alienation from your own heritage, an academic of note Ngugi wa Thiong’o writes: “If you know all languages of the world and you don’t know your mother tongue,  or language of your culture, that is enslavement.”

To properly celebrate Heritage Day, the focus should be on how to rethink Indiginous Knowledge Systems (IKS) for 4IR, development of indigenous languages, preservation of unique scenery and the  appreciation of distinctive African painting patterns, including flora and fauna.

Post 94, the good intentions to reclaim and celebrate the true Africanidentity on Heritage day is still an elusive dream.  Most people craving to express their lost identity and fulfilling dreams of their ancestors, get hoodwinked into riding the chariots of colourful tribal uniforms whose fabrics were crafted in Europe and Asia.

The business of European and Asian woven fabrics that black people love so dearly to fashion their heritage on is not in their hands. The products that fair their indigenous heritage are profitable to those who own the ingredients, while black people are harmoniously dancing themselves to poverty. To add salt to the wound, the best boerewors braai competition is the cherry on top in the commercialisation of the Heritage Day cake.

True heritage should decolonise the minds of black people in order for them to be able to define themselves without singing from Islamabad and Beijing hymn books. Being hypnotised in Asian rhythms will simply degrade black people to be consumers of their rich heritage but remain wretched.

Already natives are in the rehearsal room ready to embrace the mandarin language to impress their newly found friends. The denaturalisation process of true natives of SA is embedded in the preamble that says the country belongs to all. The humility, culture, memory and languages which used to bind us is passively drifting away. Ours is to celebrate heritage that aids human development and not be enslaved to poverty and a tribalist mindset.

Jerry Tsie, Pretoria 


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