Heritage Day in South Africa is the time when we take a moment to appreciate the wonderful diversity of our rainbow nation. Our unique cultures, traditions and religions are brought to the forefront as we celebrate our roots, stories and values that contribute greatly to our national identity.
Our current path of development however does not cater to preserving our natural heritage. South Africa is rich in fauna and flora, however the focus on a growth-centric framework of development overshadows the protection of our natural heritage. Coal and nuclear as the overarching forms of energy supply, the mismanagement of water and sanitation resources, biodiversity and ecosystem depletion – all contribute to the health deterioration and poverty experienced by the majority of our population.
Our traditional heritage has however always encouraged conscious, eco-friendly living. Using renewable sources of energy, accessing local food sources, protection of biodiversity, extensive ecosystem management and protection, are key avenues that we have traditionally got right. Our current and future developmental paths need to get back to the basics, and enhance these traditional methods rather than spurning them.
Healthy ecosystems are the birthright of all, and are central to our unique cultures, traditions and religions. We need to ensure that meeting our needs today does not compromise on the ability for future generations to meet theirs. Our efforts to “live a good life” should be rooted in the ethics that will sustain our natural environment as an important heritage that we can pass on to the unborn generations. Let us thus preserve our cultural and natural heritage, and pass these down proudly from generation to generation. Happy Heritage Day to all.
Nokubonga Mabaso – YouLead-Collective