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CELEBRATING NATIONAL SYMBOLS (article first published : 2001-09-17)

The Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Dr Ben Ngubane has promised that South Africans would experience a different and more meaningful Heritage Day. MINMEC (a committee of all provincial arts and culture ministers), decided that the theme for 2001 Heritage Day celebrations should be Celebrating Our National Symbols.

"The theme seeks to encourage all South Africans to participate in the celebrations. Our national symbols deserve the dignity and respect of all of our people because they were decided upon in a consultative, inclusive and transparent way. Government is of the view that there is a need for an educational campaign to popularise our national symbols. This will go a long way to create awareness of the symbols and what they stand for: unity, tolerance, reconciliation and patriotism," said the Minister Ngubane.

MINMEC declared the period September 17 to 24 a Heritage Week. Specific symbols to be popularised are the national anthem, flag and the coat of arms. Programme of activities planned for the week will be released in due course. The venue of the 2001 Heritage Day celebrations is the Union Building gardens in Pretoria.

The Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (DACST) together with Department of Education intend to continue with the educational process beyond Heritage Day (September 24) so that the public is afforded ample opportunity to understand the value of the symbols. President Mbeki is expected to attend the celebrations in Pretoria.

" A common vision is essential in a multi cultural society. These values can only be strengthened around a common vision. A society at peace with itself is the basic requirement for international competitiveness and a national identity in the global village," said the Minister.




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