Pretoria - The Pretoria Sunrise Rotary Club hosted a captivating Heritage Day celebration that left attendees inspired and enlightened.
The event featured two prominent speakers, High Commissioner of Cyprus Antonis Mandritis and the president of the Waterkloof Rotary Club, Dr Thabang Chiloane. Both delivered impactful speeches on the significance of heritage preservation.
Mandritis delivered a riveting address that delved deep into the history of Cyprus, tracing its journey to its current circumstances.
He highlighted the substantial number of Cypriots living in South Africa, particularly in cities like Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, and East London, drawing intriguing connections between South Africa and the Republic of Cyprus.
His insights illuminated the shared threads of history and culture between the two nations, leaving the audience with a profound appreciation for the bonds that transcend geographical boundaries.
Chiloane followed up with a thought-provoking speech on the importance of heritage and its preservation. Under the theme of Living Our Heritage, he underscored the dynamic nature of heritage, emphasising that it was not merely a relic of the past but a powerful force shaping our present and future.
Chiloane said heritage was what made South Africa unique, combining indigenous cultures, colonial influences, and the Struggle.
“It serves as a source of national pride and identity, fostering unity through diversity,” he said. He discussed how heritage offered a sense of continuity and belonging, guiding the nation towards a brighter future by learning from the lessons of the past.
On tourism and economic development, he highlighted the economic benefits of heritage preservation, emphasising that South Africa’s rich heritage attracted tourists, generated revenue, and created job opportunities, ultimately contributing to the nation's prosperity.
Chiloane concluded by stressing the importance of heritage in achieving social cohesion and reconciliation.
Acknowledging the painful chapters of history, he suggested that preserving and commemorating heritage helped to heal wounds and promoted a more equitable and just society.
Chiloane called for collective efforts in heritage preservation, encouraging individuals, communities, and organisations like the Rotary to play an active role in protecting and promoting South Africa’s heritage.
In his closing remarks, he left the audience with a resounding message; “Heritage is a dynamic force that enriches our daily lives. By living our heritage, we honour the sacrifices of our ancestors, celebrate our diversity, and pave the way for a brighter future.”
He urged everyone to work together to preserve and cherish South Africa's rich heritage, ensuring that future generations can also embrace the privilege of “Living Our Heritage”.