This Heritage Day weekend, perhaps we should consider whether we are celebrating our ‘sameness’ or our ‘differentness’. Surely there is wealth in diversity just as there is strength in unity? I reprint below, the Heritage Day message from Rev Martin ‘Chunky’ Young of St Columba’s Presbyterian Church in Parkview, Johannesburg.
How lovely to have this semi-sort-of long weekend. Of course the occasion is to celebrate Heritage Day. What struck me during the day, listening to the radio was the idea that Heritage meant, somehow we all had to be the same. I was a little taken-aback. I always thought that it was the ideal opportunity to celebrate the wealth one obtains by respecting our diversity. South Africans come from such rich traditions, however diverse.
As with any society some were good and others that were shocking, it is only through mutual respect of each other’s past that we will ever begin to respect one another. Dorothy Sawyer, a great theologian and scholar of literature wrote toward the end of the 19th century; “The greatest sin in the world is when we allow our difference to become division.”
Like many South Africans, there is nothing more I like than to “Braai”, but surely that doesn’t mean that everyone has to “braai.” I also took the opportunity to do some much needed “handy -man” work around our house.
For a long time we have been in need of a new fold away washline. This was my project; on going to my most
favourite store, “Builder’s Warehouse,” I discovered another favourite tradition of many South Africans: DIY! There were hundreds if not thousands of people from all races, colours, creeds and gender, doing what I was doing; taking the opportunity to fix a few things around the house. What a great thing to do. Of course the “braai” came later, accompanied by some very good red wine.
Let’s celebrate our diversity and respect our differences.
Thanks Chunky for the reminder of what Heritage Day is really all about.