As the country celebrates Heritage Day, President Cyril Ramaphosa has challenged South Africans to find their national character. This follows violent protests and looting in Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal two months ago.  

Ramaphosa said this during his message for Heritage Day.

He says the incidents took the country backwards in terms of the economy and social cohesion. He has urged all to reflect during this heritage month and fight for a united nation. 

“Our belief in ourselves as a united nation was shaken. We saw people destroying the very country we are trying to build and the aftermath of the violence we have had to ask ourselves who are we as a people. What is it that defines our national character? What is it that defines our identity, what we stand for? This Heritage Day, I would like us to reflect on these very important questions.” 

Heritage Day I President Cyril Ramaphosa calls on the nation to express pride in the constitution:

Ramaphosa has also called on men to respect women and not use culture or tradition to oppress and discriminate against them.  

He says there is no justification to abuse or kill women.  

Ramaphosa says South African is a compassionate country. 

“We are intolerant of any forms of racism, sexism, tribalism or xenophobia. We embrace non-racialism as our every day ethos. We reject racists. All this is what should define our character.”

Ramaphosa has also appealed to families to encourage children to spend more time with their grandparents to learn histories of the past.

He says this will enable children to pass this valuable knowledge to their own children in future. In his Heritage Day message to the nation, Ramaphosa says grooming children at a young age will prepare them to be future historians, cultural practitioners, authors and many more.

“We must become our own historians. Our elders and our cultural practitioners are like libraries of our past. They have a wealth of information and we must tell their stories. As families let  us encourage our children to listen to them and were possible to record the histories of our people.”