Celebrating Heritage Month – together, we are stronger
This month we celebrate the wonderful blanket of cultures that knits together our country. Heritage Month is a time to reflect on the values and traditions that shape each of us and how we have created one country despite our many different traditions. That we are able to celebrate our differences as one people comes from the strength of the fabric that binds us.
The heritage we celebrate contributes to our sense of place, community and personal identity. It informs who we are and where we place ourselves in our national identity. Heritage gives us personal identity, but taken together the patchwork of traditions and shared experiences, celebrates the nation we are building on this ancient continent.
It was in the creation of our Constitution, based on the Freedom Charter drawn up by our people so many years ago, that we developed a single identity from our many customs and traditions. The birth of our Constitution, let us not forget that this year we celebrate 20 years of its existence, came out of the understanding that ours is a nation rich with voices from many cultures.
The idea that we are all part of one community – so beautifully encapsulated in the term Ubuntu – has allowed us to grow into a nation. Looking back on our history, on our struggle for democracy, we are aware of sacrifices made, and of the hard work of so many unnamed people. We are also aware of how narrowly we avoided the bloodshed that is so part of other histories, because we all understood that we are stronger together than apart.
A sense of community
It is fitting that I mention the Constitution this month when we also celebrate the work of public sector employees.We in the public sector have a part to play in shaping an African nation inspired by an African sense of community.
Before we are public sector employees we are African and we must be mindful of our culture, values and traditions.
We are fortunate to live in a state of peace, where children can grow up dreaming of being pilots, doctors, carpenters and artists. We live under the guidance and protection of a Constitution that allows parents to strive without fear to make their children's lives matter.
As employees in the public sector, we must be mindful of our responsibility to be a helping hand to all South Africans. We must use the power our office gives us responsibly, to help build and shape a future we can all be proud of.
As we mark Public Service Month let us remember the principles we should be guided by. We should put our people first; we must be guided by the principle of Batho Pele.
Let us learn from the example of the framers of our Constitution. Remember the inequality and discrimination of the past and work toward making it our history. Do the small things that improve lives, work better. Above all work honestly and openly.
Minister of Communications