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23 September 2020 | Story Prof Theodore Petrus | Photo Supplied
Prof Theodore Petrus is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of the Free State.

As we as a South African nation prepare to celebrate Heritage Day on 24 September, and as we reflect on our heritage during Heritage Month, what stands out clearly is that this year’s heritage celebrations will be somewhat … different. It will not be like previous celebrations because as a country, we – along with our fellow continental and global citizens – have experienced what can be described as one of the greatest health, social, and economic challenges that we as a species have ever faced. The repercussions and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for some time to come. And it is this realisation that may cast a little damper on our celebrations during this #Heritage Month.

But what can our shared heritage as South Africans teach us about who we are as a people, and how can this knowledge help us to adapt to and overcome the long-term challenges wrought not only by the pandemic, but also by the many other challenges facing us? 

Heritage Day is a celebration of our cultural heritage and diversity as a nation. It presents us with an opportunity to reflect on our individual and collective heritage. It is also an opportunity for us to take stock of the cultural and other resources that enable and empower us to take ownership of what we want to be as a nation, as a country, as a people. 
So, in view of the questions raised earlier, here are some ideas on what I think our shared heritage can teach us:

1. The heritage of where we come from

Inasmuch as our past is a painful one – a past that still has lingering effects decades after the transition to a democratic dispensation – it still plays a fundamental role in shaping who we are now, and who we want to become.
Colonialism and apartheid sought to suppress our indigenous cultures and traditions, and had a negative impact on our psyche, self-confidence, and dignity as indigenous and African people. But one positive that came from this, is that if it was not for our shared heritage of colonialism and apartheid, we probably would not have become the nation we needed to become to bring it to an end.  

Instead of destroying symbols of that painful past, we need to shift our perspective to re-interpret those symbols in a new way. The power of cultural symbols lies in their meanings. Symbolic anthropologist Victor Turner spoke about the ‘multivocality of symbols’, meaning that we can ascribe whatever meanings to our cultural symbols we choose. Let us reflect on how we can change the current meanings we ascribe to our cultural symbols that reflect an awareness of how the heritage of where we come from does not keep us trapped in negative and painful meanings of these symbols, but instead inspire us to create new positive meanings.

2. The heritage of where we are now

After 1994, we began the process of creating a new contemporary heritage as a nation struggling to free itself of the burden of a painful past. And while it was difficult, we have made significant strides. Yes, we do still face challenges rooted in the past: institutional and structural violence; race and diversity-related issues; intercultural and intergroup conflicts; crime and violence against men, women, and children; corruption at various levels of governance; and others. We are also faced with ‘newer’ challenges as a country that is part of the globalised world. Poverty, inequality, unemployment, slow economic growth, and ailing infrastructure are all contemporary problems, some of them rooted in the past, others the product of the contemporary context. 

What can we learn from our shared heritage of where we are now that can help us to overcome these contemporary challenges? We need to remind ourselves of what we are capable of as a nation. We have ended an oppressive regime, not once but twice. And, with all of the challenges, problems, and obstacles, we are still here.

3. The heritage of where we are going

This might sound strange, because heritage usually refers to the past and present. Rarely do we speak of heritage in a future-oriented context. However, as a nation, given our past and given our present, where we come from and where we are now determines where we are going. 

As South Africans, we need to ask the question: where do we want to go? Are we heading in that direction? If not, how do we change course so that we do go in the right direction? I have no simple answer. But what I can suggest is that it should start with critical self-reflection, both individually and collectively. We also need to ask ourselves what legacy we want to leave for future generations. Do we want them to still be struggling with the same problems and challenges that we are dealing with right now? Or do we want to leave them a legacy of a nation that stood up to its challenges, took ownership of them, and found a way to overcome them?

A globally devastating pandemic. A painful past. A present wrought with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. As a South African, as a child of the soil, I know that as a nation we can overcome, and we can emerge better and stronger. That is our heritage. The heritage of hope.

 

Opinion article by Prof Theodore Petrus, Department of Anthropology, University of the Free State 

News Archive

UFS students excel at FPI awards
2009-06-04

 
Top students Annemarie Trinder-Smith and Renier de Bruyn
Photo: Supplied


Two top achievers from the Centre for Financial Planning Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) were crowned nationally as top students by the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) at a gala ceremony at Emperor’s Palace, Johannesburg, on Tuesday night.

Annemarie Trinder-Smith, a financial planner at Christo Saayman Financial Planners, was the best student in the Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning, while Renier de Bruyn, financial advisor at PSG Consult (George) was the best student in the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning.

They were among 461 students of the Centre for Financial Planning Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) who earlier received their postgraduate diplomas at a ceremony that formed part of the annual FPI convention.

The Centre for Financial Planning Law, which was established in 2001, was the first and for five years the only academic centre in South Africa to present a Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning. Today the UFS is still the only institution to present this course through distance learning. The UFS is currently the only institution that offers the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning.

At the diploma ceremony hosted earlier by the UFS, the following students were named as top achievers in various modules of the Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning:
• Mylie Archibald (Financial Planning Environment, Corporate Financial Planning)
• Shaun Matthews (Personal Financial Planning)
• Nicolette van der Linde (Financial Planning Case Study). She also received an FPI prize as top student.

In the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning, the following students were named as top achievers in various modules by the UFS. They also received FPI prizes in these modules:
• Megan Joan Anika (Fund Governance and Maintenance)
• Sarah Lynn James (Fund Design and Financing)
• Melanie Louw (Personal Risk Management)
• Renier de Bruyn (Estate Planning, Asset Types and Investment Planning)
• Jan Willem Wessels (Principles of Portfolio Planning and Management)

According to Adv Wessel Oosthuizen, Director of the Centre for Financial Planning at the UFS, large companies, banks, insurers and investment managers enroll their staff for these qualifications.

“The two diplomas form the basis for financial planners, brokers, lawyers and bankers to be recognized as certified financial planners - the CFP® status - as well as obtaining membership of the FPI.”

“A qualified financial planner, especially a CFP®, is one of the most sought-after titles in the financial planning sector worldwide. With about 3 700 CFP’s, South Africa has the fifth highest number of certified financial planners in the world,” Adv Oosthuizen said.

Adv. Oosthuizen is well-known nationally and internationally for his contribution to the advancement of financial planning law and financial planning education.

He was recently invited by the Financial Planning Standards Board to serve on an international committee that will evaluate the quality of education in financial planning. He was also the chairperson of a working group that developed guidelines for a standardised international curriculum for financial planners.

Media Release:
Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za
04 June 2009
 

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