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Press Release: DAC Calls for Development and Preservation of Indigenous Languages on Reconciliation Month

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Arts and Culture leads the 2019 Reconciliation month with emphasis on language as a catalyst to foster greater reconciliation

06 December 2019

As December marks Reconciliation Month in South Africa, all citizens of this country are encouraged to use the month to reach out to one another as the country continue to build a united, non-racial and non-sexist nation.

The 2019 Reconciliation Day commemoration will take place at Bergville Municipal Sports Complex, OKhahlamba Local Municipality in the KwaZulu Natal Province.

Commemorated under the theme: “The Year of Indigenous Languages: Supporting National Reconciliation Through the Promotion, Development and Preservation of Indigenous Languages,” this years’ commemorations puts emphasis on the significance of indigenous languages in line with the United Nation General Assembly’s proclamations for 2019.

The country’s move from an oppressive regime under apartheid to a democratic society guaranteed the human rights of all South Africans, and ensured that indigenous languages would be protected and promoted. Today our multilingual diversity makes us a unique society. In advancing indigenous languages in our nation, we can give social and political recognition to disadvantaged language groups as it helps to keep our individual cultures alive and binds us to our history.

Also integral to Reconciliation Month commemorations are our national symbols, since they signify national unity. The national flag in particular has a special role as a symbol of national unity and reconciliation hence the Department of Arts and Culture launched, I am the Flag’ campaign in2018.  This campaign came on the back of a series of racially charged incidences that seemed to further polarise South African society along racial lines.

25 years into Democracy, the privilege attached to race, class and gender has not yet been fully reversed despite positive strides our nation has since 1994. Reconciliation Month is therefore of even greater importance today as we strive to build a cohesive society.

In response to this reality, the Government through the Department of Arts and Culture in partnership with other government departments and institutions, will host activities on the notion of reconciliation, constitution, as well as social cohesion and nation building:

  •   The Arts and Culture, Hon. Minister Nathi Mthethwa will on Tuesday, 10 December 2019 deliver keynote address during a commemorative lecture to mark the 23rd anniversary  of the signing of the Constitution (into law by Nelson Mandela in Sharpeville) at the Vereeniging City Theatre @10h00. The lecture is hosted under the theme: “living the values and the promises of a constitutional order”.
  •   In an effort to provide a road-map on Africa’s Resistance & Liberation Heritage Route, Minister Mthethwa will also on Tuesday, 10 December 2019, launch the General Hashim Mbita Publication. The Launch will take place at the Constitution Hill, Johannesburg @15h00.
  •   The Department of Arts and Culture will host an inter-generational dialogue on social cohesion and nation building on Thursday, 12 December 2019 atBergville Municipal Sports Complex, OKhahlamba Local Municipality in the KZN @17h00.
  •   The Department of Economic Development, Tourism, and Environment Affairs will host an Engagement with Captains of Industries on Monday, 16 December 2019 in Escort, KZN @09h00.
  •   The Freedom Park Heritage Site & Museum will also on Monday, 16 December host social cohesion dialogue and interfaith Prayer for peace, victims of hate crimes at the Freedom Park, Pretoria between 06h00 and 13h00.

“Like many African countries, South Africa emerged from an oppressive, divisive and colonial system which created a fragmented society. Recently, we have seen that much remains to be done to build non-racialism in particular. While the nation-building project has made many advances in the 25 years of Democracy, the current reality points to mind-sets that need to be changed. The government is doing everything within its power to preserve, develop and promote all indigenous languages as it is a great transmission line that binds us to our forebears,” said Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

“We also urge everyone across all racial groups to come together and challenge racism, patriarchy and gender-based violence, and to advance non-racialism, non-sexism and human solidarity,” stated Minister Mthethwa.

Source Department of Arts and Culture
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