Pretoria: Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has called on South Africans to build a cohesive nation.
“We only have one space to share which is South Africa. It is our duty to ensure that spoilers are not welcome (sic),” Minister Mthethwa said.
He said often people confused courage with “making a lot of noise”.
“You cannot make a lot of noise and say nothing,” the Minister said.
He was speaking during the national consultative meeting on the transformation of the heritage sector on Friday. The meeting was aimed at getting to the root cause of the vandalism of statues and to chart a way forward.
The meeting also served as a platform to get public views on the desired heritage landscape for the future generations of the country.
Minister Mthethwa described the discussions he had with political parties, student leaders, university vice chancellors, academics and civil society organisation, as frank.
“As we move forward we must … deepen education amongst ourselves and our people. The future of our country will rely on cool heads and robust engagements aimed at solving issues that have been raised,” Minister Mthethwa said.
He said community conversations needed to continue as the issue of the heritage landscape was a broad matter.
The meeting resolved that:
Unlawful defacing of statues should not happen because the law provides for processes for replacement or removal of a statue;
Even in the event of defacing or destruction of a statue, those protecting the statue should do so responsibly and
If a decision is taken to remove a statue, there needs to be consultation on where it will be placed.
The meeting recommended that:
As part of raising public consciousness about the country’s new identity and journey of democracy, schools need to have the national flag, sing the national anthem and recite the preamble of the Constitution;
The Departments of Basic Education, Higher Education and Training and Arts and Culture should coordinate efforts to enforce changes discussed at the meeting;
Documents produced by the Heritage Transformation Charter and the resolutions of the Social Cohesion Summit should not be discarded;
The journey of transformation should be reflected in monuments and symbols;
A full audit should be undertaken to look at the of symbols in the country to gain a sense of what is being transformed;
A historical memorial theme parks for statues should be established;
Symbols and programmes to celebrate African people and their history must be created;
A policy is needed for the disposal of statues;
A policy is needed to allow insulting street and place names to be changed and
Consultations are needed for changing misspelt place and street names.
SOURCE: South African Official News