President Ramaphosa: Let’s reflect on what defines us as South Africans

Addressing the virtual nationwide celebrations on Heritage Day, President Ramaphosa said citizens should use this period to reflect on what defined them as South Africans.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has used today’s Heritage Day celebrations to appeal to South Africans’ spirit of unity in diversity as the nation works towards recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the deadly July unrest.

Addressing the virtual nationwide celebrations under the theme ‘Celebrating South Africa’s intangible cultural heritage’, Ramaphosa said citizens should use this period to reflect on what defined them as South Africans.

The president said our unity was tested in the July violence that saw businesses and infrastructure destroyed, as well as lives and livelihoods being lost.

“Our belief in ourselves as a united nation was shaken. We saw people destroying the very country we are trying to build. In the aftermath of the violence, we have had to ask ourselves who are we as a people, what is it that defines our national character.”

He called on South Africans to preserve the country’s diverse heritage and indigenous knowledge systems by encouraging young people to learn and record teachings from their elders.

Ramaphosa says families should encourage storytelling and for children to spend time with their grandparents and great-grandparents.

WATCH: President Cyril Ramaphosa's 2021 Heritage Day address

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.