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Address at the launch of the flag in Every School Project, 19 September 2005, Minister Naledi Pandor speeches


Address by the Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, MP, at the launch of the flag in every school project, Cape Town

19 September 2005

Minister of Arts and Culture, Premier of the Western Cape, Mayor of Cape Town, MEC for Education
Principal of AZ Berman Primary, principals and pupils

The launch of “the flag in every school” project today, here at the AZ Berman Primary School, is a welcome event.

We hope to repeat this activity at many schools throughout the country.

We hope that all schools in South Africa will proudly display South Africa’s national flag.

Education plays several roles in the building of a society. One of these is to familiarise young people with our national symbols. This is part of the process of education, of building a shared South African identity, and of building a nation.

When some people read of this planned event two weeks ago, they raised the alarm and accused us of seeking to create a fawning, fearful, and oppressed South African youth.

They implied it is wrong to promote national symbols, wrong to promote confidence in our emerging nationhood, wrong to promote social cohesion.

Who is wrong and who is right?

The answer is clear. It is right to promote familiarity with our national symbols, right to promote confidence, and right to promote social cohesion.

Our constitution requires us to seek reconciliation and nation building in practical terms.

Our constitution requires us to promote an inclusive South African democracy.

That is a challenge to us in the education system. The challenge is to overcome the racial and cultural divisions of the past. The challenge is to transcend race and culture.

Reconciliation, nation building and social inclusion are the values that we aim to promote in our schools. Importantly, seeking a shared future out of a divided past presents us with the fundamental challenge of who we can become.

Understanding the symbolism of our national flag, our anthem and our coat of arms is part of the process of creating an inclusive democracy.

Our young people, the future citizens of our democracy, need to know and appreciate the symbols of our nationhood. They are compelling parts of our national project of democratic transformation.

These symbols were created and accepted by the people of South Africa. They represent our national move to inclusion and unity within diversity.

One of the greatest challenges facing our relatively young democracy is to build a sense of national identity. As a citizen of our country, I take great delight when I see our flag flying at home or abroad, or hear our beautiful anthem sung.

Our flag is a strong symbol of what does, indeed, unite us as a nation. Witness the sporting events where South Africans, from all backgrounds fly our flag or even paint their faces with the colours of the flag.

While these outward exhibitions of pride and joy in our country and our nation at public events are enormously significant, it is equally important that all South Africans, and particularly our youth, develop a deeper understanding of all our national symbols.

The Department of Education has introduced a new curriculum and national symbols are highlighted throughout. By the end of the senior phase, all learners should be familiar with all aspects of our national symbols.

The promotion of our national symbols is important for our project of democratic transformation, important as a symbol of a new national identity.

Today we raise a flag and at the same time raise the hope that this small symbolic act will play an important part in shaping an inclusive South African national identity.

I thank you.

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Written By: Administrator Account
Date Posted: 6/30/2008
Number of Views: 799

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