September marks the annual Heritage Month in South Africa. The theme for this year’s Heritage Month is ‘Reclaiming, restoring and celebrating our living heritage’.
Heritage Month recognises aspects of South African culture which are both tangible and intangible: creative expression such as music and performances, our historical inheritance, language, the food we eat as well as the popular memory.
The Liberation Heritage of South Africa is characterised by peoples’ identification with particular spaces and places shaped by historical events and collective memory.
We were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Mr Kofi Annan – and we join the world in mourning the loss of a giant.
Most notably known for his tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997 – 2006), Mr Annan was a lifelong advocate for the rights of all people. Having won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, and later working through the Kofi Annan Foundation to mobilise political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights, Mr Annan’s commitment to a better world was unwavering.
Mr Annan’s belief in the power of education was encapsulated when he said: “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”
He recognised the magnitude of the youth population in the world, particularly Africa, and the far-reaching impact limitations on this youth would have on the future of the world.
As a diplomat Mr Annan took his commitment to public service very seriously, and his membership as one of The Elders (another organisation that he also chaired), allowed for collaboration in many regards, for example his work with Ms Graça Machel (Chairperson of Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, and Trustee of Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund) on youth and child activism.
We were honoured when as recently as this past July, Mr Annan joined other Elders in planting trees in Johannesburg in commemoration of Nelson Mandela’s centenary.
He believed in the ability for humanity to overcome all obstacles – particularly those that arose because of lacking. He may have passed on, but, through his foundation, leaves with us the commitment to “fight towards a fairer, more just world”. May we all join the fight.
Released on behalf of Trustees of Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, and Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.
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