South African customs, culture on display in the Ubuntu Cultural Week celebrated in Bucharest next week

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The South African Embassy in Bucharest will participate in the UBUNTU Cultural Week, in partnership with “Ion Creanga” Library, between 21 – 26 September 2015.

The event will be organised at “Ion Creanga” Library headquarters and will be marked by South African films screening, reading novels of South African Noble Prize laureates, exhibitions, presentation of traditional costumes and wine tasting.

The Inauguration of the Ubuntu Cultural Week takes place on September 21, 18:30-19:30 in the presence of Her Excellency Ms. Thenjiwe Ethel MTINTSO, the ambassador of South Africa in Bucharest and of the Honorific Counsellor of Madagascar, Mr. Serge Rameau. The opening ceremony is followed by the painting exhibition of Kinsley Nwabia from Nigeria.

The next day, on September 22, two movie screenings are scheduled: “Invictus” with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon in two sessions (09:00-11:00 and 18:00-20:00) and “Sarafina” with Leleti Khomalo and Whoopi Goldberg (16:00-18:00).

A public reading with Kinsley Nwabia from his children’s story book (both in English and Romanian) is due on September 23, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and another public reading from the works of the writer Nadine Gordimer, recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.Music band

As 24 September is South Africa’s official Heritage Day, a day celebrating South Africa’s unity in diversity and its vibrant and beautiful culture, the feast is celebrated in Bucharest by a public screening of “Umoja-the spirit of Togetherness”, which is a musical celebration of South African songs and various types of dances such as traditional tribal music, gumboot dancing, jazz, kwaito and gospel (10:00 to 21:00).

The last day on September 25 is dedicated to the presentation of traditional attires from South Africa and Romania, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

This year’s Heritage Day will focus on the theme “Our knowledge, our heritage: Towards the identification, promotion and preservation of our South Africa’s living heritage.” On this day, all South Africans come together to celebrate their vibrant culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions.

South African Acting Cabinet Spokesperson Phumla Williams emphasised: “September ushers in a new season and for South Africans it means to showcase and take pride of their living heritage including national symbols. We are a unique and diverse country, with 11 official languages, a National Anthem that is sung in five different languages, which is a demonstration of the richness and dynamism of our heritage. […] Heritage Month is an opportune time for South Africans of all races, colour, creed, gender and religious beliefs to celebrate our uniqueness,” reads a press release issued by the South African Embassy in Bucharest.

The Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to Romania, H.E. Ms. Thenjiwe Mtintso, explained that the rich and diverse South African culture is based on a system of values called UBUNTU:amb sud africa

UBUNTU has no direct translation as it encapsulates many values: humanness, human kindness, friendliness, hospitality, love, compassion, warmth, care, solidarity, respect for life, respect and acceptance of the next person irrespective of the differences and attributes. Ubuntu is based on generosity and the spirit of giving. Another South African proverb says: “Umntu ngumntu ngabantu”. (You are because I am, I am because you are.) This is an all-embracing value system that Nelson Mandela promoted his entire life. Every year on Heritage Month we strive to revive the spirit of UBUNTU.

South Africa is known for its wide and rich culture manifested in a variety of languages, diverse cuisine, wines, music and dance as well as its colourful attires. Women’s costumes are usually in bright, happy colours reflecting our friendliness, joyful characteristics, vibrancy and dynamism.

Often referred to as the ‘Rainbow Nation’, South Africa is home to a fascinating mix of citizens. There are the Nguni (comprising the Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi people), the San people, the Sotho, the Tswana, the Pedi, the Tsonga and the Venda. Then there are the people of European and Dutch decent as well as people of mixed races and the Asians. There are also hybrid mixtures of different cultures. South Africans love and respect each other’s cultures, which results in being “proudly South African”. South Africa’s unity in diversity is also expressed in the South African anthem that is sung in five languages and combines two previous anthems, in the 6 colour flags merging two flags, in the eleven official languages, in the representative National Coat of Arms, with its motto “! KE E: /XARRA //KE written in the Khoisan language of the! XAM, which means “diverse people unite”. As South African democracy evolves, the country and its people are becoming more united in their diversity.

Beaded head-dress of a riksha driver
Beaded head-dress of a riksha driver

This year’s celebrations will highlight the significance of Heritage Month as a vehicle to foster social cohesion, nation building, economic development and inclusive citizenship,” South African Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa stated. The pinnacle of the Heritage Month celebrations will be the hosting of various commemorative events and cultural fairs in various parts of the country and abroad.

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