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Heritage Month: Respect is the missing element in South Africa’s cultural crucible

(Debate in parliament: Heritage Month: United in our diversity and rich cultural heritage – The path to constructing a non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous democratic society)

South Africa may have a vastly diverse society, consisting of four main ethnic groups, 58,4 million unique individuals, 11 official languages and 10 dominant religious groups, but it has a single shared objective: survival.

Achieving that objective is, however, not possible without the most important element for making a success of this cultural crucible, namely respect. Respect for oneself as well as for those around you in all areas of life.

Culture is like the reflection of a nation in a mirror. Looking at this reflection, I can see a proud Afrikaner nation with deep roots in Africa – a nation proud of who and what we are; proud of our culture and our language.

I am also proud to count myself among this group of people who built up South Africa to make it a safe haven for all.

What language – other than Afrikaans – can better describe the shrill lamentation of the red-rusted windpump on the desolate plain as it labours, ceaselessly plunging deep into mother earth's dark treasury to slowly, steadily, at the pace determined by the wind, keep drawing up sweet, life-giving water to quench the incessant thirst of her cracked crust?

In this reflection, I can also see our ancestors who taught us to always be helpful and courteous, to plan well, to build up and to hold on to our faith. To be proud of who and what we are.

Why does the government want to destroy this valuable cultural treasure of certain groups? Is it possibly because another, opposing culture has taken root? One that is driven by self-righteousness, hate and revenge?

When one's eyes, burning with jealousy, are fixed on another's achievements, you will always remain in their shadow. In fact, your jealousy will only keep growing while you remain stagnant, not making any progress yourself.

The government will not succeed in stripping the Afrikaner of its culture. Neither by means of legislation nor by pressure from the majority, because it runs through our veins.

The more pressure the ANC applies, the more it fans the flames of motivation, success and courage in the Afrikaner heart.

The ANC holding a debate on cultural rights, pretending that all peoples are equally important in their eyes, is like a whitewashed tomb. All the discriminatory legislation, trampling of language rights and policy, like expropriation without compensation, confirms this.

The FF Plus demands equal opportunities, equal promotion and equal protection for all cultures. Without these, all the talk about cultural rights in South Africa is just hollow words.

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