The people of every great country are bonded by their history.Their cultural landscape is enriched by the patina of the buildings, monuments, sites and other places of meaning which reflect the events and layers of experiences and processes throughout the centuries.
Through today’s event we herald our history and are proud of those who have played a pivotal role in our struggle for freedom.
This is one of the milestones that we need to record in the history of our struggle for freedom against colonial occupation and apartheid.
The colonizers were expansionist in their greed for land, especially when precious minerals were found in different parts of our land.
Collectively our forefathers, whether Khoi, San, Xhosa, Amampondo, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Pedi, Venda speaking people and others, fought wars of resistance to stem the capture of their land, with many being killed and others being captured, detained and beheaded.
Some great leaders who fought the wars of resistance were Adam Kok, King Hintsa, King Mphephu, King Sigcau, Nxele KaMakanda, King Shaka, King Dingaan, King Dingiswayo, King Moshweshwe, King Mampuru and many others.
They played a noteworthy role in the freedom of this country. It is also through them that we now enjoy a free and democratic South Africa.
This year marks the 56th anniversary of the Ngquza Hill Massacre where local political activists were gunned down by state security officers on 06 June 1960 whilst congregating on the hill in a valley adjoining Ngquza Hill between Mbizana and Lusikisiki discussing strategies to resist betterment schemes that had been introduced by the authorities to limit the number of cattle a man would be allowed to own.
They laid the foundation for the liberation struggle of this country. We are the beneficiaries of their efforts.
They were among those countless generations who paved the road to freedom through their sacrifice.
This is an important event as it celebrates the lineage, history and living reality of the Marota people.
It is also important because it is an integral part of the South African story.
This is the history that colonialism and apartheid would have wanted to destroy so as to declare the contribution of our people in resisting their rule as null and void.
Instead we have chosen to remember the past.
Through oral traditions and history, we know the truths of our past.
We want to continue with the work of our leaders, that of building a non-racial, non –sexist, democratic and prosperous nation.
Liberation heritage is an important element of this strategy. It is important that we have monuments, plaques, museums, arts centres and libraries where we pay tribute to our heroes and honour the legacy that they have left us.
Together we all have to play our part in telling the story that moves South Africa forward.
Nation building and Social Cohesion is our priority. We can grow this nation if we are aware of our history and proud of our culture.
We are a nation where our different cultural expressions are evidence of our diversity but together these cultural strands also collectively strengthen us.
A stable and united country can provide great developmental opportunities to the entire nation.
As culture is unique to each community of people, we from the national Department of Arts and Culture wish to strengthen cultural expressions in the various communities of our land.
The government programme
In our efforts to achieve our goals of nation building and social cohesion, the government is informed by the following understanding, that:
- The government led by the ANC works to consolidate partnerships across society to strengthen social cohesion and ensure that our nation achieves the values of a caring society, inspired by the traits of human compassion which informed our struggle against colonialism and apartheid.
- The success of nation formation and social cohesion depends on changing material conditions of all South Africans for the better.
- We are informed by the precepts of the country’s Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, which recognise that attached to individual freedom is individual responsibility; attached to collective freedom is collective responsibility.
- In promoting intellectual discourse, media freedom and diversity of views, the government encourages appreciation by the media fraternity and the intelligentsia as a whole of the role that they can play in promoting human solidarity and a caring society.
The same applies to the arts including music, the oral and written word, crafts, theatre and film.
- Encouraging a positive role for the institution of the family and community, youth involvement in a variety of social endeavours, patriotism and civic responsibility, community activism, sporting and other social activities, we will seek to promote healthy lifestyles, moral integrity and role models informed by human compassion, generosity, incorruptibility and accountability.
- We will fight against all manifestations of racism, super-exploitation, patriarchy, ethnic chauvinism, religious and political intolerance, and abuse of women and children; discourage greed and the arrogant display of wealth; and campaign against the abuse of drugs and alcohol.
Vision 2030 remains our destination.
In the National Development Plan executive summary, we state:
“Our new story is open ended with temporary destinations, only for new paths to open up once more. It is a story of unfolding learning. Even when we flounder, we remain hopeful. In this story, we always arrive and depart. We have come some way.
We know: What we do, and how we do it, is as important as what we want to achieve. What we are, is because of who we have been and what we want to become. We will continue to make it to make us, because we are happy with being who we are.
Who are we? We are Africans. We are an African country. We are part of our multi-national region. We are an essential part of our continent. Being Africans, we are acutely aware of the wider world, deeply implicated in our past and present. That wider world carries some of our inheritance.”
Let us work together to move this South African story forward.
I thank you.