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By Editorial staff

Journalist


SA can construct a unique heritage

Because of our differences, we are like no-one else in the world.


Tomorrow is National Heritage Day – when all South Africans should, hopefully, reflect on where they came from… and how their culture can contribute to nation-building. If that sounds a bit like optimistic sloganeering, that’s probably because, these days, heritage is serving to divide more than unite us as a nation. Perhaps the “Rainbow Nation” vision of people like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela was too naïve in a country where racial division was enshrined in law for so long that its legacy will probably be with us for generations to come. Those divisions have shamelessly been exploited over…

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Tomorrow is National Heritage Day – when all South Africans should, hopefully, reflect on where they came from… and how their culture can contribute to nation-building.

If that sounds a bit like optimistic sloganeering, that’s probably because, these days, heritage is serving to divide more than unite us as a nation. Perhaps the “Rainbow Nation” vision of people like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela was too naïve in a country where racial division was enshrined in law for so long that its legacy will probably be with us for generations to come.

Those divisions have shamelessly been exploited over the last decade by politicians seeking to divert attention from their own looting and failure to deliver a better life for all. Also, grievances in this country have the sort of racial undertones which can easily be manipulated by populist demagogues… and we’ve seen plenty of that in recent weeks.

Yet, there can be strength in diversity, there can be a way to learn from, and appreciate, other cultures… and the whole of South African can certainly be bigger than the sum of its component parts. Because of our differences, we are like no-one else in the world. And, together we should build our own unique heritage.

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