South African stories are cultural endowments for the benefit of future generations and are integral to the ongoing task of forging national unity, inculcating national pride and promoting respect for diversity.
“There are so many stories to be told, both of the past and the present,” President Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter today.
President Ramaphosa said one part of the country’s story that has not been fully told is that of peaceful transition to democracy.
“It is a complex story with many different perspectives and competing narratives,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said one of the most remarkable aspects of the South African society today is the “commitment to maintain peace among ourselves and our neighbours, and preventing tribalism and ethnic chauvinism from sowing discord between us”.
“Even when acts of racism occur, these provocations are rejected by South Africans, who won’t let them be used to exacerbate tensions in communities.
“This eternal vigilance is born of bitter experience that has its roots in the political violence of the 1980s and early 1990s, and how South Africans worked together to overcome differences, pull our country back from the brink and achieve peace.
“As we revel in our cultural pride and celebrate our roots with art, dance, cuisine and music, we must remember that the struggle for peace and reconciliation is a vital part of our heritage. We remember that the children born into democracy are able to take pride in their heritage today because of the peaceful democratic transition, which produced a Constitution that guarantees rights and freedoms for all, including the right to express one’s language and culture,” President Ramaphosa said.
He said today artists and cultural workers are able to exercise their right to freedom of expression in how they chronicle both the past and the present without fear of censure, banning or imprisonment.
“These are the fruits of freedom, but also the fruits of peace. With so many countries and societies around the world today beset by conflict, we are fortunate that the project of national reconciliation is ongoing and has not been abandoned,” the President said.
He called on all creative practitioners to play a more prominent role in nation-building through work that highlights the uplifting, inspiring and enduring aspects of society and its history.
“Contributing to maintaining peace and to advancing reconciliation is our collective responsibility as South Africans. It is the greatest gift we can bestow on the generations to come,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said the success of the ‘Shaka iLembe’ production and many other local productions should encourage creative professionals to apply their talents to the production of more such work.
Source: South African Government News Agency