Address By The Premier Of The Northern Cape, Mrs Sylvia Lucas On The Occasion Of Heritage Day Celebrations Held On 24 September 2018 In Kimberley

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Programme Director
Members of the Executive Council
The Management and Staff of Kimberley Hospital
The Community of Kimberley and the Northern Cape at large
Leaders of Faith-based organisations
Mayors and Councillors
Traditional leaders
Leaders of Youth Formations
Government Officials
Members of the Media Fraternity
Distinguished guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Today, I am honoured to stand here as a proud South African celebrating my heritage as an individual, a representative of government and indeed as a member of the community member with all of you. 

It is a day in which all South Africans are encouraged to celebrate our different cultural traditions in the wider context of the great diversity of our cultures, beliefs and traditions that make up our nation of South Africa affectionately and fondly referred to as the Rainbow Nation.

As we celebrate Heritage and Tourism Month, we will focus on the transformation of the South African heritage landscape, both in terms of the tangible and intangible heritage aspects of our country.

The significance of celebrating heritage day rests in recognising aspects of cultural identity that captures the country's traditional and ethnic diversity which for all intents and purposes, must reflect inclusivity of our shared history.

Heritage day is not just another national holiday but a day wherein all South Africans should observe and celebrate their diverse cultural heritage and move towards collectively strengthening and consolidating a socially cohesive nation.

Ladies and gentlemen, today we ostensibly celebrate through indulging in local dishes, dressing in our traditional attire and enjoying time with family and friends with our different cultural expressions under the aegis of the unifying symbol of the South African flag. Today and every day we should declare we are proudly South African.

Programme Director The Northern Cape is rich in its diverse heritage and we are agents of nation building in the greater scheme of things.

Therefore today’s event is a powerful agent to foster and uphold a South African identity, promoting reconciliation and to relentlessly drive the notion that multiplicity is a national asset as opposed to igniting conflict.

Every year this day serves as a tangible token of the nation’s cultural diversity and a chance to express national unity through our different cultural, traditional and religious backgrounds. Heritage Day reflects our people’s rich traditional inheritance, such as culture, history, wildlife, monuments, artwork, literature, music, folklore, languages, culinary traditions, and much more.

This multiculturalism shows our society as a beautiful mosaic in which different cultures mix in a melting pot but remain distinct in some aspects. Cultural assimilation is important to the maintenance of national unity and must be promoted.

You lose nothing by learning about and respecting the next person’s heritage; instead you gain a world of knowledge and build tolerance of the customs and traditions of your friends, colleagues and the greater South African community.

Ladies and Gentlemen our land is one of our principal heritages, as it denotes where we come from and where we are headed. In recent months the President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a proposal on land expropriation without compensation to prioritise programmatic land restitution, food security, enhance economic stability and avoid land grabs.

Consultations are ongoing throughout the country regarding this progressive announcement made by our government. Land restitution should further enhance economic, social and political stability in our country and bring about prosperity for all who live in South Africa.

Furthermore, in paying homage to the efforts liberation leaders have contributed to building a potent heritage in our province and country, we have gathered here today to rename Kimberley Hospital after struggle stalwart, Ntate Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe in celebration of Heritage Day.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe was a teacher, lecturer, lawyer, University of Fort Hare, SRC President, secretary of the ANC branch in Standerton, founding member and first president of the Pan Africanist Congress and was detained at Robben Island during apartheid.

The brief synopsis depicting a man wearing many coats tells us much about the character of the historic giant we are honouring here today. He was born on 5 December 1924 in the Eastern Cape and was the youngest son to Huber and Angelina Sobukwe who were a municipal labourer and domestic worker respectively Ntate Sobukwe’s schooling was interrupted when he contracted tuberculosis in 1943, but when he completed his schooling in 1947 he was able to enrol at the Fort Hare University where he registered to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English, isiXhosa and Native Administration. It is this field of study that aroused his interest in politics and made him more politically active. He married Veronica Sobukwe (Nee Mathe) who was a nurse in 1950.

Sobukwe was an eloquent man whose intelligence and commitment established him as a natural leader. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment on 4 may 1950 and was sent to Robben Island where the then government implemented the so-called “Sobukwe Clause” which was reserved for him only. This simply meant that the apartheid junta could jail him indefinitely. He thereafter completed his studies and obtained a Degree in Economics from the University of London. When he was eventually released in May of 1969, Sobukwe was banished to Galeshewe to Kimberley where he began studying law and established his own firm in 1975. Shortly after, he fell ill and died from lung complications on 27 February 1978 at this very hospital.

It is due to his immense contribution to the people of Kimberley with his political will and knowledge that gives us the honour and privilege in transforming this heritage landscape.  As Premier of the Northern Cape, I therefore take this opportunity to officially rename this hospital the Robert Sobukwe Hospital.


In celebrating late president Nelson Mandela’s 100th Anniversary this year, the former iconic statesman encouraged us to live in an inclusive rainbow nation by recognising and respecting each other’s cultures and ethnic backgrounds and to ensure dignity and freedom for all, a vision which he had cherished for this country.

As we celebrate his centenary, we thank Tata Madiba for creating a positive vision for South Africa and equipping us through guidance in striving for a democratic and progressive country in an ever changing world. We are a unique nation and that is what sets us apart from the rest of the world.

Through our emancipation from the oppressive apartheid era, we have embraced each other and have to incessantly denounce abhorrence and discrimination guided by the legislation and policies set in place by a democratically elected government.

In commemoration of his contribution in creating a new and better South Africa, we reflect on his vision and dream he had for this beautiful country. Accepting his Noble Peace Prize in 1993, Tata Mandela said, (OPEN QUOTE) “At the southern tip of the continent, a rich reward is in the making, an invaluable gift is in the preparation, for those who suffered in the name of all humanity when they sacrificed everything – for liberty, peace, human dignity and human fulfilment....The value of our shared reward will and must be measured by the joyful peace which will triumph, because of the common humanity that bonds both black and white into one human race will have said to each one of us that we shall all live like the children of paradise...”  CLOSE QUOTE.


It’s pertinent to preserve our cultures and traditions and leave a lasting legacy for those coming after us. National unity needs to be fortified and this can only be done if we all participate and contribute to a prosperous nation through our shared values.

Although it is important to preserve one’s culture and heritage we also need to develop and preserve the South African and African identity, promote social cohesion and be guardians of our cultural, artistic and linguistic heritage. We should be commemorating, celebrating, educating, promoting, preserving and conserving a sustainable living heritage.

Just like our country there is a vast culture in our Province, something to be proud of. When we in stand in the heart of our province, you stand in one of Africa’s most diverse and rich ecosystems.

From our birdlife and game, to rivers flowing through the desert landscape and the magic of the spring flowers that blossom in the Namakwa region and where the Kalahari and Nama-Karoo meet, our province is unique... Programme director, we have a rich inheritance of living heritage.

Programme Director our provincial and national identity plays a huge role in who we are, where we come from and where we are headed. We are a multicultural nation that serves as an anchor of our national identity and should be representative of the diverse ethnicity and cultural values.

In realising Nelson Mandela’s dream of a racially united and inclusive nation, we have to continuously work to root out racism that often rears its ugly head and do away with xenophobia, tribalism, ignorance and all forms of prejudice.

Although rooted in our traditional, social and religious mores, one has to remember not to burden or suppress others rights and civil liberties. In the spirit of reconciliation, a compromise was made to create a day on which everyone in the country could celebrate diversity in our cultural heritage.

Programme Director... Acts of non-inclusion and discrimination has no place in our society and we will ensure that all are treated with respect and dignity. We have to root out racism and remain confident that the law will be applied where applicable.

We need to preserve and uphold our heritage objects, including schools, museums, churches, government buildings and universities that are of cultural significance for coming generations. South African history is an important part of our heritage gallery and is necessary to be taught in the classroom to give students the opportunity to be narrators of our past.

Ladies and Gentlemen... It is our responsibility to take care of all persons including women, children and the most vulnerable in society and this remains a priority of our government.

We are saddened over the passing of eight year old Melissa Kanguya from Platfontein who was found dead days later after fleeing from teenage boys and who allegedly attempted to rape her. We are concerned at the number of rape and sexual assault cases that involve young people and we are determined now more than ever to break the cycle of gender based violence. The violence has to stop; women and children cannot continue to live in fear. Enough is enough!

In realising an inclusive nation, the scourge of women and child abuse is a growing concern, and we need to do more to protect and promote their rights. Harsher repercussions should be put in place for perpetrators who violate the basic rights of vulnerable persons.

We have to ensure that human rights are protected, regardless of sex, race, and ethnicity, political or religious affiliation. As a free and democratic nation we have to ensure that all feel safe and secure, and we will continue to work with security agencies and the justice system to ensure peace and security for citizens and those visiting our borders. We need to do more in transforming power relations in bureaucratic institutions and law agencies and create a conducive environment that protects women and children.

We thank the courageous struggle stalwarts and philanthropists, Mme Albertina Sisulu and Mama Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe who passed on in recent weeks, for their contributions to the liberation struggle and laying the foundation for strong women in our country.

Their tenacity and unrelenting spirit in fighting for the equal human rights for South Africans should inspire us all to fight against fundamental patriarchy and sexism, particularly that which perpetuates gender based violence.

Programme Director...

Drug and alcohol abuse remains a huge challenge for our province and threatens our democratic values thereby hindering our future prospects of a socially cohesive nation.

As provincial government we support relevant stakeholders in primary prevention, early intervention and promoting healthy lifestyles for young people.

Alcohol and substance abuse has a devastating impact on individuals, families, communities and society as a whole-therefore everyone needs to get involved in curbing the malady that has beleaguered our province. We encourage schools, law enforcement agencies and communities to raise awareness on the harmful effects of alcohol and drug abuse and the growing concern of drug mules and human trafficking.

Programme director we need to promote freedom, justice and equal opportunity for all... One of the ways to do this is curbing corruption and greed.

Greed and corruption is a virus that eats away at the flesh of the indigent. It is detrimental in providing effective and efficient services to the public.  The fight against corruption is one of the major priorities for the government as we adopt a zero tolerance position on this matter.
In recent years, government has stepped up its anti-corruption activities and we encourage anyone to report fraud and corruption to the relevant authorities.

As President Ramaphosa has mentioned this year, the tide on corruption will be turned and action will be taken against those who act improperly and unethically in misappropriating state funds. This is evident in the ongoing State Capture inquiry that is taking place.

State resources will be continuously utilised by government in providing education, health services, and access to land, water and sanitation and eradicate unemployment and poverty for all in the province as stipulated by the Constitution.

Programme Director

We are one of the richest and most diverse nations in the world, and we have to celebrate that. Let us not pontificate about what makes us South African but act decisively and embrace the different aspects of what constitutes us as a rainbow nation.

We also have to take care of our environment and preserve our natural habitats.  Our nation has securely retained its sovereignty; however, our world is ever expanding as we are global citizens and this should not be taken for granted.

We as a government have made many strides in maintaining our heritage in the Northern Cape Province. The province has various natural sites that we need to be conscious of on how to preserve, protect, interrogate and promote symbols of our heritage. All South Africans should play a role in identifying, documenting, promoting, protecting and preserving our country’s diverse heritage.

Today is a celebratory day, Programme Director...

We are imbued with an overarching South African cultural value which is themed ubuntu and this incorporates, but is not limited to kindness, compassion, charity, respect and integrity. We should never be discouraged in playing our part in making our nation a better place for all. Mandela taught us to do greater and kinder deeds for others and that we should remain compassionate and gracious to one another.

For those who believe in justice and freedom, continue to be courageous in the quest in promoting the rights of all and reduce inequality in the social-economic sphere. We are generous, tolerant and loving people, and we have to demonstrate those qualities to everyone we meet.

Our provincial coat of arms has a motto in the Auni language of the San from Rietfontein in the Kalahari desert which reads “Sa lla !aisi’ uisi”. This translates to English as “Strive for a better Life.”
I want to thank all government employees in the Northern Cape Province for their continued hard work and resilience in making a positive impact in providing efficient and effective service delivery.

We are here to serve the public with transparency, accountability and impartiality. Service to our people is not a privilege but a fundamental right.

Let us uphold our national cultural values, promote inclusion amongst all people. Let us be rooted in our legal foundation of democracy and adhere to the Constitution of South Africa. Let us unite this month through transformation and through peace and prosperity.

South Africa has a flourishing future and the course it takes is up to all who live in it. Let us continue in making our nation great.

I wish you well on this day and may it be a meaningful and purposeful day.

I thank you

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