It is our history, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes...


It is our history, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes others feel

South Africans have to embrace all their histories and accept that there are stories that have not been told, and others that have omitted aspects that make us feel uncomfortable, writes ISMAIL LAGARDIEN.

I AM packing my bags to return to South Africa, and I leave Asia — especially south-east Asia — with a heavy heart and a mind that is burning energy at an extraordinary rate.  

I return with little enthusiasm and much foreboding. If I thought, six months ago, that things could not get any worse in South Africa, I was deluded. Nonetheless, I leave Asia in a couple of weeks with an appreciation of the way people across this vast continent of 4,5 billion people, embrace and celebrate their deep collective heritage, with all its twists and turns.

Back in South Africa there is a burgeoning heritage industry with a greater emphasis on the built environment than there is on what the late British sociologist, Stuart Hall, defined as “the whole complex of organisations, institutions and practices devoted to the preservation and presentation of culture and the arts — art galleries, specialist collections, public and private, museums of all kinds (general, survey or themed, historical or scientific, national or local) and sites of special historical interest”...

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