Friday, June 29, 2007

Prince Albert hosts Heritage South Africa Symposium

- Judy Maguire -

The Prince Albert Cultural Foundation in conjunction with the Fransie Pienaar Museum is hosting the annual Symposium of Heritage South Africa on the 10th and 11th August 2007. This will take place in the N G Church Hall and at other venues around town.

The New South Africa has meant a rebirth and opening up of thinking and ideas across a wide variety of fronts. Democracy has taken the lid off many issues that were previously suppressed almost entirely, and forced many of us to take a fresh look at much that was previously taken totally for granted.

One of these issues is that of cultural identity – what is it, exactly, that constitutes the culture and identity of our different communities?

This abstract concept is often poorly defined even to ourselves, yet it actually enjoys Constitutional protection…but what is it that is being protected? Are we suffering from cultural disorientation?

An added overlay to the rich diversity of cultures and communities in South Africa is the imperative to foster nation-building – a kind of “Public Culture” if you will, if cultural fragmentation is to be avoided. These and other issues will be discussed during the course of the symposium.

The overall theme of the Symposium is "HERITAGE IMPRINTS AND TIMESCALE". This has been divided into four sections:

the base (Rock Art), in this case "Mermaids & Myths of the Karoo";

secondly, the built environment, particularly "Village Life";

a session on intangible heritage made tangible (through two exhibits);
and, finally, the session dealing with "Questions of Culture". A session is devoted to each, and the Symposium ends with an excursion to Klaarstroom - "Outlying Village Culture".

Speakers in the last session will be proponents of their particular culture, and persons well versed in their cultures – a serious more academic expert and a mainstream non-academic proponent - will be paired off to debate this important issue.

This session will be open to a wider audience by advance booking and the payment of a Session Fee. We aim to get local people involved in the discussion.

For those wishing to know more, please contact Judy Maguire @ questar[@]

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