President Jacob Zuma has lauded South Africans for showing maturity in accepting post-apartheid changes to the country’s heritage sites.
In a Heritage Month debate in the National Assembly, he said name changes for streets, cities and airports had been accepted with “minimal resistance”.
“It is clear that those affected understood the necessity of correcting the wrongs of the past and to build a new inclusive society. This maturity is one of the key attributes of the South African people.
“Allow me therefore … to thank all South Africans for their tolerance, patience and understanding in particular during the process of building a new heritage landscape of the country since 1994.”
Zuma said the integration of museums marking once-opposing ideologies reflected this shared commitment to nation building among “communities that sought to destroy each other”.
He singled out the projects linking the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park, and the Ncome Museum and the Blood River Monument.
Zuma said South Africans had an obligation to consider how they could promote national unity and a new national identity.
“It means we need to work harder, all of us. There should be some non-negotiables that we agree on as political leaders as we take the country forward.”
He said the ANC’s commitment to building a nonracial, equal and inclusive society remained firm and he said the party’s centenary celebrations last year had marked a major heritage milestone for South Africa.
“One of the biggest heritage milestones for the country was the marking of 100 years of the oldest liberation movement in Africa, the ANC, last year.”
Zuma said the country’s commitment to the National Development Plan was a further sign of unity.
“Indeed, the overwhelming acceptance of the National Development Plan by Parliament is an indication of agreement with regards to what South Africa should look like by the year 2030. That is an encouraging development.”
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