HERITAGE DAY 1996 -
On September 24, the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology will host the Second Heritage Day to be celebrated in South Africa.
The day is one of our newly created public holidays and its significance rests in recognising aspects of South African culture which are both tangible and difficult to pin down: creative expression, our historical inheritance, language, the food we eat as well as the land in which we live.
Within a broader social and political context, the day's events in Braamfontein are a powerful agent for promulgating a South African identity, fostering reconciliation and promoting the notion that variety is a national asset as opposed to igniting conflict.
Heritage has defined as "that which we inherit: the sum total of wild life and scenic parks, sites of scientific or historical importance, national monuments, historic buildings, works of art, literature and music, oral traditions and museum collections together with their documentation."
Of chief importance this year is Enoch Sontonga (c. 1873 1897), composer of a hymn that has been adopted as the national anthem. A ceremony will take place at his newly discovered burial site in Braamfontein.
A memorial is currently being constructed on the site and, on the day, his grave will be declared a national monument. Participating on the programme will be President Mandela, the Minister and Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Gauteng Premier Tokyo Sexwale, Johannesburg Mayor Isaac Mogase, John Kani and the relatives of Sontonga.
On Heritage Day the music of Sontonga will take centre stage. Sontonga scholar Professor Mzilikazi Khumalo will conduct a programme which includes popular songs and other compositions by the composer's contemporaries.
During apartheid the hymn Nkosi Sikelela iAfrika was a peaceful but powerful rallying tool which was banned. Nevertheless it influenced a generation of South Africans and even made an impact on the pop charts. This kind of public attachment is typical. Sontonga's music is characterised by resonant chords, bright harmonies and romantic melodies. Some of the pieces will be accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Richard Cock.
The public are invited to attend this historic event which has been organised to mark Heritage Day. Proceedings start at 10 am at the Braamfontein Cemetery on September 24
For more information please phone Andile Xaba
Tel: (012) 314-6313
Issued by: SA Communication Service