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Heritage Day: healing generations of hurt and trauma through facts and laughter

23 September 2020 12:20 PM
Tags:
Heritage Day
Pieter-Dirk Uys
Patrick Tariq Mellett
Heritage activist

Refilwe Moloto chats to iconic satirist Pieter Dirk-Uys is and heritage activist Patrick Tariq Mellett about our complex heritage.

Thursday 24 September is Heritage Day, a day where South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people.

Patric Tariq Mellett is a heritage activist and one of the finest custodians of the true story of the Cape and has just released his new book, The Lie of 1652, and Pieter Dirk-Uys is an iconic satirist and icon who, along with his alter-ego Evita Bezuidenhout, managed to tackle many of society's taboos.

South Africa's past is complicated and has a long history of hurt for too many. So how do we reconcile a ‘South African’ heritage and identity when we have to speak collectively as a nation, asks Refilwe?

Heritage is not all about cultural manifestations and us retreating into our 'sub-cultures' in South Africa.

Patrick Tariq Mellett, Heritage activist and author

For Mellett, heritage is about what people inherit and it is also about what people leave behind.

Our inheritance has triumph and it has tears, it has pain and it has joys.

Patrick Tariq Mellett, Heritage activist and author

He believes the history handed down needs to be challenged.

There are so many mythologies that have been handed down to us as history. And we need to look it in the eye.

Patrick Tariq Mellett, Heritage activist and author

This is a nation in the making and it does not happen overnight, he says.

Pieter Dirk-Uys has spent his career subverting narratives and the heritage in which he was raised, and has always been an important satirical commentator about South Africa for many decades.

How did he get started?

It was an instinctive reality that the land I was living in was being crippled by arrogance and fear....and I realised that laughing at fear makes fear less fearful.

Pieter-Dirk Uys, Performer, author, and satirist

There was nothing funny about apartheid and the reality of our politics in those years, he says.

I just knew if I did not start laughing at this fear that was driving me into silence, I would not survive and that's what I have been doing, 51% anger and 41% entertainment.

Pieter-Dirk Uys, Performer, author, and satirist

Listen to the thought-provoking discussion below:


23 September 2020 12:20 PM
Tags:
Heritage Day
Pieter-Dirk Uys
Patrick Tariq Mellett
Heritage activist

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