President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the nation in celebrating the Heritage Day on Tuesday, the presidency said in a statement. This year’s celebrations will be hosted by the Northern Cape in Upington. Twenty-five years after South Africa’s transition to democracy, the Bill of Rights in the Constitution guarantees freedom of linguistic, cultural and religious association as part of promoting and maintaining social solidarity and cohesion.
“The president will on the morning of the National Heritage Day celebrations officially open the Sandile Present Community Library ahead of addressing the nation at the Mxolisi Jacobs Stadium,” spokesperson Khusela Diko said.
Diko said at the Sandile Present Community Library, the President’s Reading Circle, which encourages all citizens to become enthusiastic readers, will host a session in which Ramaphosa and learners will read in an indigenous language.
“This session will be led by Ms Katrina Esau, affectionately referred to as Ouma Geelmeid, a recipient of the 2014 National Order Baobab in Silver for her work in heritage preservation. This activity is primarily aimed at showcasing and appreciating South Africa’s rich literary heritage which must be preserved and sustained for generations to come,” she said.
The Heritage Day celebrations will be held against the backdrop of the United Nations General Assembly declaring 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages
The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture has collaborated with the National Library of South Africa and the Publishers Association of South Africa to produce a volume of work written in African languages entitled Writing in Nine Tongues: A Catalogue of Literature and Readers in Nine African Languages for South Africa.
The catalogue showcases more than 4 000 titles in nine African languages; isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Sepedi, Setswana, SiSwati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga written in different genres.
In other news – Here is why we celebrate Heritage Day in South Africa
Most of us know that 24 September is the day we celebrate Heritage Day. But how many of us know the reason behind this South African holiday? Initially, Heritage Day used to be known as Shaka Day in KwaZulu-Natal, according to South African History Online. The day was made into a holiday to commemorate the Zulu king, Shaka Zulu.
In 1995, the Public Holidays Bill was presented to the new democratic Parliament of South Africa but it didn’t include Shaka Day. In response to this, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a South African political party with a large Zulu membership, objected to the bill. Read more