Celebrating our Heritage: Diversity and Inclusion is a Community Effort

21st September 2021

UKZN Extended Learning

– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

On the 24th of September, we celebrate Heritage Day, where we appreciate the differences and similarities of South African cultures and religious beliefs. There is a considerable value placed on preserving our heritage as it is our inheritance from previous generations. In the past, the idea of heritage comprised of physical evidence such as monuments and sites.[1]However, this concept has gradually evolved, and heritage can be represented through practices and traditions in contemporary times. Maintaining the active existence of a heritage encourages local communities to engage in social issues and empowers them. In addition to educating people about the importance of their heritage, Heritage Day can help them respect and appreciate the heritage of others.

In the age of information, people are becoming more curious about how cultures are integrated into everyday life, the stories they tell, and how those practices are preserved to sustain a community. Maintaining our indigenous cultures and religions can ensure they evolve acclimate to the needs while contributing to future restoration. By doing so, the evolutionary state of our heritage allows for the accumulation of beautiful stories and shaping values to be shared, and the continuation of fostering community spirit.[2]

Embracing and preserving our heritage helps society grow as we learn to respect our differences. Heritage plays a significant role in defining identity and encouraging continuities in culture and tradition in communities across the country.[3] As part of our efforts to rehabilitate the nation, we celebrate this day to introduce a new society moving towards cultural harmony.

We, at UKZN Extended Learning, wish all our fellow South Africans a happy Heritage Day!

[1] https://www.timesnownews.com/the-buzz/article/world-heritage-day-2021-history-significance-and-theme-of-the-day/746310

[2] https://www.mvorganizing.org/why-should-we-preserve-our-traditions/

[3] https://www.heritagecouncil.ie/what-is-heritage