Ramaphosa calls for unity in diversity as nation celebrates heritage day

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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - NOVEMBER 15; 2018: President of South Africa Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa is talking to media at the end of an EU - South-Africa Summit meeting on climate change, migration to trade and security, in the Europa, the EU Council headquarter on November 15, 2018. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – NOVEMBER 15; 2018: President of South Africa Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa is talking to media at the end of an EU – South-Africa Summit meeting on climate change, migration to trade and security, in the Europa, the EU Council headquarter on November 15, 2018. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday called on South Africans of different races, colors, and tribes to coexist peacefully in their diversity.

Ramaphosa said this while addressing the Heritage Day Celebrations. He called for the protection of indigenous languages and cultures.

“The greatest thing about heritage is its dynamism. Heritage is a source of identity and cohesion for our nation. It makes us who we are. Heritage shapes and molds us, and gives us a sense of belonging. Let us also appreciate that in practicing our cultures freely and openly, and in speaking our native languages, we are reclaiming not just our heritage, but our pride and our dignity as South Africans,” he said.

Ramaphosa stated that the country is eager to preserve the indigenous knowledge of traditional medicines which could be an answer to COVID-19.

“In as much as we join the international community in the search for diagnostics, therapeutics and a vaccine, we are also looking at the real and important contribution indigenous knowledge systems, particularly traditional medicine, can play in improving the health outcomes of our people,” he said.

The Chinese community in South Africa joined the heritage day by exhibiting their culture, songs, and dances. The chairperson of the Chinese Community in Gauteng province, Erwin Pon called for the preservation and respect of culture.

“There is a Chinese saying which says when you drink water remember its source. We should not forget our culture, who we are, and where we come from,” he said.

The Heritage Day is celebrated every year on September 24 to show the country’s rich culture, diversity, and unity. This year the street march jamboree of different races and tribes was suspended because of COVID-19.

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