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Not everyone can join in on the ANC’s heritage celebrations (Debate in Parliament: Heritage Day)

On Heritage Day, 24 September, the cultural wealth of South Africa's wide variety of people is recognised and celebrated.

On the government's web page, this day is defined in colourful language as an opportunity to respect and celebrate the cultural heritage of all South Africans.

Reality, however, paints a different picture of cultural disenfranchisement, particularly of the Afrikaner in their own country. Cultural heritage has become a political pawn for the ANC government, which is shamelessly used and misused to cover up the ANC's ideological failures.

The most recent example was the proposed flagpole of more than R22 million with which the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, hoped to warm the hearts of South Africans. While millions of unemployed and starving people in the country would much rather have a full stomach than a warm heart.

Likewise, there is also the Minister's recent attempt to change the name of the Afrikaans Taal Monument in the Paarl to one that is more 'inclusive'. Tearing down the culture of one group adds nothing to the heritage of another. Erecting other monuments for the other official languages would have been a much better idea.

This serves as proof that government is speaking out of two mouths when it comes to heritage, seeing as it is actively busy painting certain cultures' heritage as evil, degrading, marginalising, excluding and disparaging them.

The state should not be actively involved in conserving cultural heritage, but should rather fund independent organisations that continually work to protect and promote cultural heritage.

Such funds must be properly managed, not like in the case of the National Arts Council, the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (Pacofs) and the Mzansi Philharmonic Orchestra, which will probably keep making the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

While disrespecting other's cultural heritage, the ANC government would do well to take the lesson of the very old song ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ by Solomon Linda to heart.

The popular song that had people from all over the world singing along since 1939 was hijacked by an American band. A hefty battle ensued to have Linda get the credit that was due to him as the creator of the song. In the end, his reward was a meagre thousand dollars.

It is lamentable and ironic that the ANC government equally heartlessly also hijacked the Afrikaner's cultural heritage and is misusing it for its own political gain.

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