Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 2012 Heritage Month in SA

Heritage: the Oxford dictionary defines it as that which is or may be inherited; not particularly satisfactory as definitions go. Elsewhere it is described as the handing down of practices, tradition and customs from one generation to another. In addition, it is said (tautologically) to be a birthright or status that is often acquired from birth as well as property which may be inherited.

The SA Government Information site states that Heritage Month recognises aspects of South African culture which are both tangible and intangible: creative expression such as music and performances, our historical inheritance, language, the food we eat as well as the popular memory. We’re offered no detail as to what constitutes ‘our historical inheritance’ or what is currently considered to be included in or excluded from this apparently all-embracing term.

I remain clear on at least one point: that history – historical events - happened and cannot be erased, glossed over or pushed out of sight. Heritage means different things to different people. History is immutable.

If the debate interests you, Google history versus heritage.

Fort Nongqai, Eshowe, KZN, previous
HQ of the Nongqai (Zululand Native Police), a force raised in 1883.
The fort is now a museum and well worth a visit.

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