Cultural Heritage

!ke e:/xarra//ke, as our South African National Coat of Arms motto simply puts it “Diverse People Unite”. It represents the cultural diversity that South Africans have been striving towards since the birth of the Freedom Charter and the 1994 democratic elections. However, what could be the critical contribution of young South Africans in appreciating the diversity of cultural heritage of Africa?

“Cultural heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community passed on from generation including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural heritage is often expressed as either intangible or tangible cultural heritage” (ICOMOS, 2002). From the definition above we can agree to disagree that there have been a number of debates amongst the youths from loss of identity due to colonisation, skin bleaching and go the famous UCT Rhodes must fall movement. Over and above these concerns, South Africa has being in international news with the recent discovery of Homo Naledi fossils by Wits University and a team led by Prof. Lee Berger. Young South Africans can appreciate this heritage discovery by visiting cultural sited such as The Maropeng Cradle of Humankind and thus continue asking questions, debating and having dialogues that will further enrich not only the South African cultural heritage but the African cultural heritage at large.

Young people can also contribute by starting small businesses that are focused on the African cultural heritage these can also empower others on the different dress styles/fashion and indegenous foods that are available in all parts of Africa. For instance, the Maasai attire of Kenya and Tsonga attire of South Africa embodies how each represent the diversity of Africa and morden culture. Such contribution by young people also has a potential to not only grow African Entrepreneurship but the African economy in the context of the diversity of the African cultural heritage while curbing unemployment. 

South African youths are also faced with the issue of moral degeneration, however they can contribute to cultural heritage by appreciating and practicing African values and proverbs that has been passed from generation to generation, e.g “Ubuntu” and ” Oran a azu nwa- it takes a village or community to raise a child” which both and many more others can be traced in almost all parts of Africa, though the languages are different the meaning is usually the same. As young South Africans we can hold each other accountable in our daily lives to ensure we strive towards achieving such values found in the African cultural heritage.

Indeed “Diverse People Unite” by being one as young South Africans we stand to inspire one another about the rich cultural heritage we possess as Africans and stand to combat negative influences such as Xenophobia/Afrophobia and racism which only robs us of appreciating our African cultural heritage. #TanzaniaLHR

This was originally posted on the National Heritage Council Facebook Page

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