Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

Budget vote debate: Department of Arts and Culture – Nation building cannot be enforced by law

Nation building in South Africa is failing and the ANC government’s attempt to force people by means of legislation to reach out to one another, will not work. Nation building will only succeed if the diversity of our country’s communities and cultures is recognised and if their respective needs are addressed.

If one considers how South Africans act toward one another and treat one another on social media, it is clear that social cohesion and nation building are failing.

The reason for this is that many communities feel excluded and marginalised because the government’s recipe for nation building is wrong. Large sporting events, public holidays and legislation will not make people like each other. People need to reach out to one another from the heart.

In South Africa, diversity is not recognised. The word is used frequently in discussions and speeches, but it is no more than lip service.

A country that sets a good example in this regard and where nation building is successful is Ethiopia where various languages receive recognition, where the importance of mother-tongue education is recognised and where every culture and community have a place in the sun. Switzerland is another good example.

Section 6.2 of the South African Constitution recognises that some languages were historically disadvantaged and that the government must, therefore, “take practical and positive measures to elevate the status and advance the use of these languages”.

In reality, South Africa does not have eleven official languages. There are ten official languages and one “super language”. Universities are becoming anglicised. More languages are not being added. Mother-tongue education must be a priority. The winning recipe for nation building is one that recognises and celebrates diversity.

Nation building must be taken seriously. We must strive to recognise and understand diversity. The language and heritage of every single citizen must be recognised. Add rather than take away. That is the true winning recipe.

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