The Newcastle Municipality’s Culture and Amenities department hosted a two day heritage event celebration which kicked off with a heritage seminar for schools at the Newcastle Town Hall on the 14th of September 2017 and concluded with a heritage visual art exhibition on the 15th of September 2017 at the Newcastle Carnegie Art Gallery.
This heritage celebration was started in 2015, under CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND IGUGU LESIZWE in 2016, and this year, under the theme, “My Mirror/Isibuko Sami”, the main purpose of the event was to expose learners to the historical backgrounds and the significance of heritage in the country through visual art displays and presentations, other objectives include promoting social cohesion among diverse cultures and young explorers, tourism, Carnegie Art Gallery and other museums in South Africa.
The seminar featured presentations to educate the teachers, learners and visitors on the years of transitioning from colonialism and apartheid in which South Africa has progressed in realising a dream of building a non-racial, non-sexiest, united democratic prosperous nation. One of the presentations also touched on Dr Nelson Mandela and his liberation stalwarts who worked tirelessly and selflessly to build a rainbow nation, through truth and reconciliation and other initiatives to bridge the gap in creating a united South Africa.
“We have a rich history and heritage in South Africa which is collected, stored, protected and preserved in different museums such as natural, cultural, living, archaeological, ethnographical, art, indigenous knowledge, oral history, etc. Each and every tangible or intangible item collected in these museums has a story to tell about our early lives to the present. That knowledge needs to be nurtured and shared with the present generations so that they can pass it on to the next generation”, said Curator; Ms Phumzile Dlamini.
The visual art exhibition welcomed walkabouts and showcased visual artists from different backgrounds and a variety of artworks which included sculptures, paintings, textile and beadwork and performing arts (fashion design, music and poetry).
Newcastle Mayor; Adv EM Nkosi highlighted the role of visual art in a South African context. “We can say that the actual act of creating the visual imagery is informed by the community and that it is the community which will or must act as an audience. The development or underdevelopment of visual art in South Africa, in this century, was shaped by the factors that wield political power”.
Mayor also made reference to King Kong, An African Jazz which was the first all-Black South African musical, as an example of a visual art in musical. “The musical chronicles the rise and fall of champion boxer Ezekial ‘King Kong Dhlamini’. It helped create a new set of opportunities for Black South Africans in the arts and has taken South Africans theatre to new dimensions. This musical then assisted like all other artistic inventions, all South Africans to be in touch with their roots and the role they played in the invention of the modern world, he concluded.