Communities must take responsibility for their heritage themselves

On Heritage Day 2023, AfriForum’s message is that communities must take responsibility for the preservation and promotion of their heritage themselves.

According to Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s Head of Cultural Affairs, the preservation of heritage is not a luxury, but a necessity and a debt of honour that is passed down from generation to generation. “Each generation merely act as custodians of their heritage, and not as owners who can use and abuse it to promote contemporary needs and goals.”

Bailey points out that the preservation of heritage such as language, memorials, heritage sites and historical research should not be left to authorities. “Too often it is then neglected. Sometimes it is presented as being inferior, meaning that jobs in heritage sectors are underpaid and not sought after. Officials who are responsible for those positions are also not necessarily held accountable for the performance of their obligations.”

Bailey believes that it is even more harmful when ideologically driven individuals and groupings distort the heritage of respective communities to sow division, instead of finding common ground in our legacies that may serve to promote mutual respect and recognition.

“Branches of AfriForum are already doing sterling work nationwide to maintain heritage resources. We intend to continue expanding these types of activities. Heritage cannot be left to the mercy of people with agendas, but should be guidelines to remind us where we came from and where we are going to. In the words of President Paul Kruger, we have to take from the past what is good and build the future upon it,” Bailey concludes.

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