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City to host prestigious heritage awards

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South Africans will be honoured for continuously selflessly contributing to the preservation, interpretation and promotion of South Africa's rich cultural heritage

HONOUR: Rochester Mafafo standing in his home with some of his artwork. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE CONTRIBUTION of artists, activists and academics to the country’s legacy will be honoured tonight when the winners of the seventh annual Golden Shield Heritage Awards (Gosha) are announced at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley.

During this glamorous gala event, the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC), in partnership with the provincial Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) and the Sol Plaatje Municipality, will acknowledge the work done by South Africans by announcing the recipients of the sought-after awards.

“As the name of the awards suggests, these are the people who acted as shields against the obliteration of our cultural and natural heritage,” said DSAC spokesperson, Conrad Fortune.

“It is important to acknowledge, thank and take pride in people who continuously contribute selflessly to the preservation, interpretation and promotion of South Africa’s rich cultural heritage.”

NHC CEO, Sonwabile Mancotywa, described the Gosha as the only programme on the African continent that recognises the work done by heritage practitioners to preserve, protect and promote heritage countrywide.

The contribution made by various role-players in the Northern Cape has not been overlooked.

The winners in each of the 12 main categories will receive a golden shield certificate, trophy and a cheque for R10 0000, while the runners-up will walk away with a trophy and a cheque for R5 000.

This year’s nominees include Head of Archaeology for the McGregor Museum and Extraordinary Professor at Sol Plaatje University’s Heritage Department, Dr David Morris, whose doctoral research into the significance of rock art conservation has seen him shortlisted for the Gosha for Academic Excellence.

His in-depth knowledge of the archaeology and history of the Northern Cape has already seen him named a Regional Heritage Champion, along with five other winners from the area, who will also be honoured at tonight’s gala, over and above the main awards.

These local champions include renowned Galeshewe-based water colourist and sculptor, Rochester Mafafo, whose extensive body of work depicts South Africa’s townships for posterity.

Keaoboka Molomo’s work with indigenous languages, healing civilisations systems memory versus amnesia, will also be acknowledged along with that of tour guide, actor, producer and motivational speaker, Kegomoditstwe Maruping.

Founder of the Galeshewe Theatre Organisation (Gato), Phemelo Sediti, will be the final recipient of the regional accolade for work done in the tourism industry within communities where unemployment, alcohol abuse and crime are daily concerns.

Meanwhile, as part of the Province’s Heritage Month festivities and in the build-up to tonight’s event, DSAC, Sol Plaatje Municipality and the NHC embarked on a cultural parade to historic sites in Kimberley on Wednesday afternoon.

“The march to the various sites reminded us not to lose sight of our heritage and how different strands of history have influenced and shaped us to who we are, as well as what it means to be free,” Fortune said yesterday.

“The parade, in itself, fostered social cohesion within our diverse heritage and served as a build-up to the Gosha.”