Sport Takes Its Rightful Place in South Africa’s Culture and Heritage

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WHO can forget the 1995 Rugby World Cup that united South Africans of all races and backgrounds when Nelson Mandela donned Francois Pienaar’s number 6 Springbok jersey? Or when South Africa was the first African country to host the groundbreaking Soccer World Cup last year? Sport has repeatedly proven that it is inseparable from South Africa’s culture. The Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation’s Heritage Day celebrations on 24 September, starting from 9am until 4pm at the Maropeng Heritage Site, will confirm this as sport and culture combine to deliver a culturally rich experience. This year sees Heritage Day coinciding with International Olympic Day and in the spirit of camaraderie, a number of activities have been lined up to incorporate International Olympic Day into Heritage Day.

At first glance, it might be thought that athletes and struggle heroes have nothing in common, but both groups endure great hardships and fight to overcome challenges. They are both then duly rewarded for their continued sacrifice and discipline.

Since South Africa attained its democracy, Heritage Day has always been the one day throughout the year that has been so pivotal that it was declared a national holiday. A day so indicative of our traditions, cultures and diversity that South Africans repeatedly and consciously take time out to reflect on where we come from and where we are going. It is a day used by the knowledgeable to transmit the

country’s legacy and inheritance to the future leaders of this nation.

Before festivities such as the singing of the national anthem and the planned cultural programme – which includes poetry, a choir that will sing struggle songs and entertainment by various artists – can be delighted in, the keynote address will be delivered by Premier of Gauteng Nomvula Mokonyane.

Without a doubt, the main highlight of the day will be the Fun Run/Walk in collaboration with SASCOC which will take place around Maropeng. On Heritage Day, more than 1000 children from local farm and rural schools and athletics clubs from the west Rand will be elevated to the top of the podium as they get to run and walk with celebrated athletes and the Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Lebogang Maile. Khotso Mokoena, Cameron van der Burgh, Sunette Viljoen, Tebogo Masehla and Hezekiel Sepeng will be encouraging them not only when it comes to sports, but also the importance of honouring the heroes and heroines who paved the way for them to be who they are today. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that the children will treasure for the rest of their lives.

There will also be an exhibition that will be hosted at Maropeng to honour individuals such as the Vaal’s Molefi Congress Mbata, former unionist Sam Ntuli, the ANC Women’s League’s first president Charlotte Maxeke, and a member of the first democratically elected parliament, Ellen Khuzwayo.

The exhibition will also be bolstered by the Oral History Conference which will take place on Friday 30th September in Pretoria. It will be held in collaboration with the National Archives and Library Services of South Africa. The conference will focus on the role of oral history and its ability to provide balance in the public and the shared memory of the province.

This year’s Heritage Day celebrations will be held in partnership with the West Rand District Municipality and Maropeng. The Heritage Site will be the best place in Gauteng to be immersed by our rich heritage and culture, and to ensure this, it will not charge an entrance fee to the public attending who come in by bus on 24 September. The gathered crowd will pay homage to Gauteng struggle heroes and heroines whose sacrifices resulted in a democratic South Africa for all creeds, races and Gauteng residents from all backgrounds.

The Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation has ensured that nowhere else in the country will there be Heritage Day celebrations that will offer the public inspiring speeches by struggle heroes and heroines, world-renowned athletes who have collected the highest sporting accolades, keynote addresses by influential South Africans who are living the legacy of our heritage, a diverse cultural programme and an entertaining line-up of artists.

For more information contact Nomazwe Ntlokwana on:

083 507 8068 / 011 355 2578 | nomazwe.ntlokwana@gauteng.gov.za

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For media related queries contact Ayob Vania | Vanessa Perumal on:

011 788 7632/1 | media@jtcomms.co.za

Issued by JT COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS on behalf of

the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture & Recreation