Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa says since the dawn of democracy in 1994, much has been done to achieve social cohesion, nation building and patriotism.

“We promote our National Anthem and we sing it with pride. We have a National Flag that unites all of us as we strive to achieve our dream of a rainbow nation,” he said.

Speaking at the launch of Heritage Month in Sophiatown, Johannesburg, on Friday, Mthethwa said his department is engaging with stakeholders in education, parents, learners and communities with a view to host conversations on institutional culture and strengthening non-racialism.

“We believe that we need to continue to embrace and celebrate our African identity in its entirety.

“We respect our elders and those who have travelled this path long before we have. We accept and acknowledge the intangible cultural heritage that forms the foundation of most communities and is an essential source of identity in our country,” the minister said.

The launch was attended by South Africa’s living legends, including Dorothy Masuka, Abigail Khubeka, Peter Magubane and Pitika Ntuli, who expressed concern about the preservation of the country’s heritage.

They all agreed that there is a need for South Africa’s cultures and traditions to be taught at school.

“People should start respecting their cultures and pass that to their children. It pains me when I see people not respecting their cultures and traditions,” said Masuka, a renowned musician.

Echoing the same sentiments, Khubeka, also a legendary musician, said there is a need for all South Africans to come together and celebrate their cultures.

“Our youth must be taught our culture, traditions, music and they must know our food,” Khubeka said.

Ntuli, who is a world renowned poet and cultural expert, told SAnews that there is a need to celebrate South African heroes. “Our children must know our leaders and where they coming from and their history.”

Cabinet has called on all South Africans to celebrate the country’s diverse cultures as the country marks Heritage Month under the theme, ‘Human Treasures and Legends: Our Living Heritage’.

South Africans are encouraged to take pride in their living heritage and play an active role in affirming, promoting and preserving it.