The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Director-General, Phumla Williams, has challenged citizens to find ways within their spheres of influence to help strengthen social cohesion in South Africa and the continent as a whole.
“We cannot afford to stand by and hope that our challenges will disappear or be solved by someone else. We can only move forward as a nation by channelling our collective energies towards a common destiny,” Williams said.
Williams was speaking at the Heritage Webinar hosted by GCIS and Brand SA on Thursday.
The webinar was held under the theme, ‘Celebrating the Legacy of Solomon Linda and South Africa’s Indigenous Music’, which pays tribute to the 60th anniversary of the passing of singer and composer, Solomon Popoli Linda, best known as the composer of the song “Mbube”, which later became the popular music success, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”.
In her address, Williams said while music will continue to unite and inspire, “it is up to us to use its galvanising power to build a better tomorrow”.
She said now more than ever, the nation needs open and honest conversations about its challenges and divisions.
“While our democratic breakthrough in 1994 has moved us forward, the deep scars from our ugly past still remain. We need solid partnerships between government, citizens, and civil society to better deal with issues that affect communities on a daily basis.
“We need creative artists to help us build a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous society based on justice, equality, and the rule of law, as envisaged in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996.
“We also need to realise the economic potential of the cultural and creative sector, as envisaged by Agenda 2063,” Williams said.
As Heritage Month closes, Williams reiterated government’s desire to work towards a South Africa that is part of the continent’s drive to promote a strong cultural identity, common heritage and shared values.
Since South Africa declared 24 September as Heritage Day in 1995, the month of September has annually been dedicated to activities and conversations, which promote the preservation and celebration of our cultural heritage.
As part of Heritage Month – which coincides with Tourism Month – South Africans are, among others, encouraged to take ‘Sho’t Left’ tours to the different parts of the country, and visit historical, cultural and recreational sites.