Opposition parties express mixed views on meaning of Heritage Day

The EFF on Thursday said there was no heritage to celebrate this year as long as citizens remained landless and locked out through poverty.

The South African flag. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - As the country observes Heritage Day, some political parties on Thursday were sceptical about whether the public holiday still carried its true meaning to unite despite cultural differences.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said there was no heritage to celebrate this year as long as citizens remained landless and locked out through poverty.

“The heritage of South Africa is one of dispossession and continued humiliation at the hands of a white-minority that continues to exploit our people and turn Africans against one another,” the party said in a statement.

Action SA believes Heritage Day does not carry the same weight as before. The party’s leader Herman Mashaba blamed politicians for dividing the country.

“Heritage Day has increasingly become diminished in its meaning to South Africans because politicians have undermined our unity through diversity,” Mashaba said in a statement.

Mashaba said now was the time to condemn the politics that had led to failures and divisions in South Africa.

“Through politics of division and fundamental failure to address the legacy of our past, which still haunts us along racial lines, we have moved further away from our destiny as a united and prosperous nation,” he said.

Interim Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen made bunny-chow in his kitchen, something that he said represented his KwaZulu-Natal heritage celebrating the mixed bag of cultures in the country.

“As our country pauses today to celebrate Heritage Day, we are reminded once more of just how diverse and colourful our nation is,” Steenhuisen said in a statement.

“We don’t share a single heritage, nor even a common idea of what heritage means. Today South Africans will be celebrating in a thousand different ways. Some of it will be serious and reflective, and some of it will be light-hearted and fun.”

But for others, there was not much to celebrate on Heritage Day.

The EFF urged everyone to remember the painful realities suffered by black people in the past.

The red berets said while people donned their customary clothing, they needed to remember that they could only genuinely celebrate this day if the injustices of the past were corrected.

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