South Africa

LETTER: Heritage must unite not divide

Heritage Day provides an opportunity for celebration, but also for stocktaking. Your mother tongue is a precious heritage, but do you use it to reach out to others, or to divide; to build or to break down? Do you utilise it as an instrument of truth, or as a vehicle of lies and fake news? Do you use it to support research over generations in the fields of science and medicine, or to sow doubt and uncertainty about it?

The culture of which you form a part is something to treasure, but do you practise it at the cost of other cultures? Do you utilise it as an instrument of exclusivity, or do you welcome and embrace the diversity of the Rainbow Nation and other nations?

The colour of your skin is also a heritage, but it does not make you unique or exclusive. It is simply a pigmentation: the colour of our blood is the same, and as borders are becoming less rigid, divisions based on colour are also fading. Do you use the colour of your skin to promote exclusivity or to discriminate; do you embrace diversity?

Do you utilise the lessons of the religion in which you were brought up to promote peace and love towards your neighbour, or as an instrument of exclusivity or superiority?

Many of us speak more than one language, are influenced by more than one culture, are products of more than one skin colour and are open to more than one religious persuasion. Your quality as a human being is not determined by your language, culture, skin colour or religion. There are good and bad people in all language, cultural, colour and religious groupings.

In SA I am already observing great strides towards an inclusive celebration of our heritage, mirroring the international trend, among the younger generation in particular. Artificial borders based on language, culture, skin colour and religion are breaking down among the upcoming generation, which gives me hope for the future. 

Dawie Jacobs, Sterrewag

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