In his address marking Heritage Day in 1996, former President Nelson Mandela stated:
"When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation."
This powerful proclamation defines the importance to recognise the cultural wealth of our nation. National Heritage Day celebrates diversity and embraces the variances of culture, ethnicity, and traditions by all citizens of South Africa.
Heritage is a colourful canvas of diversity and links strongly with transformation, tolerance, and acceptance of one another for our uniqueness. From a time when heritage was perceived as a weakness, it is now the pride and strength of our country. The foundation of all communities is an essential source of identity and continuity, and to achieve forgiveness, we need to familiarise ourselves with each other.
Our cultural traditions, oral history, indigenous knowledge systems, and holistic approach to societal and social relationships define our rainbow nation and create our uniqueness as a global example of democracy.
At Fleurenville, we promote and welcome Heritage Day Celebrations by encouraging our employees and residents to share traditional food, dress up in ethnic wear, and recognise our pride and backgrounds. We accept the enormous responsibility to recognise diversity and tolerance within the workplace and realise that it is not heritage or diversity that has to be created, but the understanding and respect that embrace heritage and diversity in all aspects of its existence.
A widespread practice on Heritage Day is the South African braai, which has become the norm on 24 September. This proudly South African practice brings friends and family together to celebrate their backgrounds and share with others in everyday culture. We must re-echo what our country boasts of to our younger generations through these celebrations.
It is also crucial that we do not underestimate the potentials within our rich diversity and culture. This power has kept us as a nation resilient in the face of all adversities. Moreover, our rich folklore and proverbs are essential guiding pieces to life, long after the wise men and women who shared them existed. Therefore, we implore our Older Adults to celebrate who they are and stay rooted in our culture and heritage, and learn from our historical past while seeking modern and innovative solutions for the challenges we currently face.
At Fleurenville, we cannot afford to 'borrow' other mindsets that perpetuate thinking that is in discordance with our values and ethics as people. We fully support inculcating the spirit of National Heritage Day among South Africans and tapping into our rich culture and heritage to ensure that our growth and transformation align with our countries' heritage's broader context.
So even if you are not celebrating National Heritage Day this year, I challenge you to change your mind. By observing our heritage now, we are not just celebrating diversity and heritage in the present; we ensure that it remains our heritage to celebrate in the future.
Happy National Heritage Day 2021!