Minister Anroux Marais' Speech at 2016/17 Cultural Affairs Awards
Good evening, molweni, goeienaand,
It is an absolute pleasure to address you at the 2017 Western Cape Cultural Affairs Awards this evening.
In light of our current circumstances, it is no secret that the future of South Africa, for many, for the majority, is bleak. We have all felt ourselves fade into a state of hopelessness at some stage. There now exists a mutual despondence in our criminal justice system, our national government, the status quo, job availability, options to improve our livelihoods, which all ultimately lead to a loss in confidence in the very institutions that ought to enable these democracies for us. Each day we see a new form of division, either on the basis of race, cultural backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, language, appearance, sexual orientation and levels of education. More concerning is the prevalence of perpetuated racial divides eroding at the very moral fibre of not only our communities but our humanity.
It is then no coincidence that we are celebrating cultural achievements here tonight.
All nominated and awarded here this evening have played a powerful role in responding to the despondence and hopelessness South Africans collectively feel at this point.
At a time when we are faced with a climate of protests, cultural differences and negative news, the promotion of our different cultural affairs will become a supporting tool to incorporate a mutual understanding of and respect for our unique backgrounds.
Ons verskillende maatskaplike agtergronde, oortuigings, tradisies, moedertale en sosio-ekonomiese status is die belangrike eienskappe wat ons unieke en eg maak. Ons identiteite het verskillende betekenisse vir verskillende mense, maar as mensdom het ons meer gemeen as die dinge waaroor ons verskil. Dis hierdie gemeenskaplike faktore wat ons saambind. Verdraagsaamheid moet die goue draad wees was ons verenig en soos Nelson Mandela eenmaal heeltemal tereg gesê het: "Ons ryk en gevarieerde kultuurerfenis het 'n diepgaande krag om ons nasie te help bou". Die omhelsing van ons Kulturele Inklusiwiteit behoort die gemeenskaplike doel te word wat ons almal saam nastreef.
As public servants, we are mandated to personify the preamble of our Constitution which constantly reminds us to “Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights; Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law; Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations”. Cultural Affairs and those who promote, preserve and advocate for its fundamental significance indeed play a pivotal role in delivering on this mandate.
The awards bestowed on deserving nominees this evening, provide an opportunity to proudly showcase the diversity of the cultural landscapes of the Western Cape and those who work tirelessly to make this possible. Our culture defines our identity, even though it has different meanings to different people; it is a significant part of our heritage which has been passed down through many generations. The Western Cape would not be the same without our unique culture and that is why we celebrate it by recognising those who keep it alive.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport encourages all, regardless of the number of awards received, to continue to build on freedom and democracy by celebrating each other’s success in the Western Cape arts, culture, language, heritage, museums, archives, geographical names and libraries sectors. The annual Cultural Affairs Awards offers the people of the Western Cape the opportunity to acknowledge talent in their diverse cultural landscapes. All nominees have a special ability to bridge diversity and nurture tolerance so that we understand and respect our differences and embrace cultural inclusivity. In this way we offer the people of the Western Cape the opportunity to discover and acknowledge rising stars in their diverse cultural landscapes as well, which ultimately accelerates unity, nation building and acceptance. All of which is much needed in our beloved country today.
I take this opportunity to profusely thank each and every nominee for selflessly reigniting hope and inspiration in our communities through Cultural Affairs. Your efforts and significant strides made to unite our nation in our diversity will go down in our record books and further acknowledged in time to come.
I congratulate all who will be receiving awards tonight and encourage you, regardless of political affiliation, differing cultural backgrounds or even job descriptions, to increase trust, social inclusion, quality education and confidence in the human spirit to contribute to the enrichment of our communities and the wellbeing of the South African condition.
Ek dank u, enkosi, I thank you.