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Speech delivered by Elijah Mhlanga, Chief Director for Media Liaison: National and Provincial Communication at the launch of the Castle of Good Hope and 350 year commemoration, Cape Town, 22 Sept 2017

Programme Director Ms Nomzi Mabena

The CEO of the Castle of Good Hope, Gilfellan

The Acting DG of the Department of Defence Mr Max Ozinsky

General Harrison 

MD of School Media Mr Khethi Ngwenya

Mr Matakanya Matakanye; chairperson of the National Association of School Governing Bodies,  

Our learners 

Ladies and gentlemen 

Good morning!


It is an honour to be here today! It is a good day! It is Spring Day. That's the truth.

History is not just a subject but a culmination of lived experiences, which is why it's important that we tell the truth. Our history doesn't start in 1652. We have a glorious story to tell that precedes that period before the arrival of our colonisers. South Africa had structures, a life, cultures and leaders before the boats docked on our shores.

We are happy that the Castle of Good Hope unveiled the statues of King Cetshwayo, King Langalibalele of AmaHlubi, King Sekhukhune and Doman of Goring-haiqua all of whom reigned and led before the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck and his fellow countrymen. 

Buildings such as this one are therefore extremely important. They help us tell our past, as painful as it was. They also help put into perspective what children will learn about the Castle at schools. 

This commemoration comes at a time when as a Department of Basic Education we have undertaken the important task of reviewing the content of history as a subject and also considering the possibility of making it compulsory from Grade 1 to 12. Minister Angie Motshekga has set up a Ministerial Task Team that is currently consulting a whole range of stakeholders around the country. At the right time the Minister will make an announcement on this matter.

As a Department we are seriously intensifying efforts to have History taught comprehensively in our schools. A nation that forgets its history runs the risk of repeating it. The only way we can ensure we don't repeat the bad parts of our history is when we tell the truth. Therefor the Castle becomes an integral part of this national project. We undertake to assist and make it part of a new identity for generations to come, so that our children are afforded an opportunity to shape their own identity using the past as a powerful reference and check point

Social cohesion is possible through such initiatives where we together converge and shape a better identity even in our diversity.

We have 24,000 schools, 12 million learners and more than 418, 000 teachers. My wish is that all of them get to see and experience the Castle.

In closing, our identity is not what makes us feel good about our history. It is also about the painful past and how we have the golden opportunity to use it in order to shape ourselves into our new identity. 

I thank you.


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Written By: DBE Webmaster
Date Posted: 9/22/2017
Number of Views: 2496

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