I have decided to research and discuss how we can use heritage to build a nation in order to promote our understanding of a common humanity. In order to discuss and debate the abovementioned question we need to understand some key phrases in the question. In my opinion, that would include the following key concepts, namely; * heritage,
* nation and
* a common humanity.
South Africa has come from a turbulent past where terms such as heritage, nation building and a common humanity meant different things to various population groups and realistically these concepts were worlds apart for the majority of South Africans. In order to achieve a common humanity, we need to respect all the cultures and religions within our country. People learn and are influenced by the place and the people around them. In a country like South Africa many people have learned from stories told to them. These stories carry information and ideas about life and living and shared customs, traditions and memories from parents to children. A person's heritage is made up of the practices, and traditions that are passed on from parents to children. Heritage is also about what has been passed on from the family, community and place where people have been raised. For example a person may have grown up in a family of medical professionals or in a proudly Zulu family where the old customs are still followed. This is part of their heritage. People also have a national heritage. A person who was born in South Africa has a South African heritage. This also means they have an African heritage because they were born on this continent. There are many South Africans who do not know what our Coat of Arms represents or the meaning of our flag and anthem. In order to be a truly successful nation we need to become more aware of these national symbols. If we achieve this it will contribute to a more powerful form of nation-building. In countries with a huge variety of cultural, ethnic, racial, religious and other social identities, nation-building is a big challenge. This challenge has led governments to take numerous steps to create a peaceful and workable country. In Africa the situation is made more difficult by the fact that there are many identities and cultures. Mandaza describes such states as 'nation-states-in-the-making', which are characterised by a lack of essence, weakness and dependency. I think that the role of the curriculum in schools plays an essential role in promoting an understanding of a common humanity in all young people. Researchers often make reference to the neglected role of the history curriculum in the debate on nation-building and the process of forging general citizenship in Africa. In this context, the concept 'curriculum' is understood from many people to be the point of view of the political party in power. The curriculum emerges directly from society and is an ideological tool as well as a vehicle of social change driven by the dominant social group. As such, it plays a central role in the development and reproduction of society over time and geographical area. Seen from this perspective, it is no wonder that the curriculum is driven by political regimes in an endeavour to promote common values and form a particular type of citizen. We most certainly can, but it takes a lot of hard work. Each of our many cultures must get a little space in the sun. What we must also realise though is that some cultures are very different from others and that some people might find the things we may want to defend offensive. The question we should ask is whether our practices are more likely to cause division and friction, or whether it is going to bring people of different cultures together. What we should perhaps work on is getting our country to a point where there is loyalty to the flag no matter...