Index Sarah Baartman District Municipality makes name official at Heritage Day celebration
Date Added: 25 September 2015

The Sarah Baartman District Municipality officially introduced its name to residents during a high profile Heritage Day celebration at the grounds of the Hankey Senior Secondary School, in the Kouga Local Municipality, on 24 September.

Formally known as Cacadu, the municipality was first recognised by its new name in August this year, with the announcement bringing an end to a process that started back in 2010.

Addressing the fully packed marquee tent midst much fanfare and excitement, Eastern Premier, Phumulo Masualle, said the renaming not only falls in line with the 21st anniversary of democracy, but also the theme of Heritage Month, aimed at celebrating the knowledge of indigenous cultures South Africa has to offer.

He added that the municipality’s decision to change its name in honour of Sarah Baartman, highlights the importance of woman in society, and that the suffering she had to endure whilst being exhibited as an animal in London and Paris 200 years ago, must act as an incentive to help promote national unity and stamp out abuse against woman.

“We need to deal with the increase in the number of violent crimes perpetrated towards woman,” Premier Masualle said, referring to a recent news report in which a Danish man was arrested in Bloemfontein for keeping a number of female body parts in his fridge.

“The brutality of this act and its ironic coincidence to what Sarah Baartman suffered, must communicate a type of spiritual message. It remains our key duty to address the glaring facets of racial, ethnic and sosio-economic identities that is still present in our landscape,” the Premier said.

He continued, “Our generation has a responsibility to heighten the struggle for liberation against poverty, unemployment, inequality and unbalanced social relations. Hence, on this day, we must reaffirm our commitment to the principles enshrined in our constitution, as well as those contained in the Bill of Rights”.

Premier Masualle also encouraged residents to celebrate and promote the country’s heritage by taking advantage of the benefits presented by democracy as well as “communicating a message of a state that belongs to us”.

“When we destroy public assets that are meant to help us, we are effectively destroying ourselves. It cannot be that when you are looking for services, you go and burn down an ambulance. We condemn this and also the damaging of heritage sites and monuments dedicated to our heroes.

“People who are intent on this cannot be active in our collective. We must respect our differences but let them unite us in our diversity. This [name change] will go a long way in cementing the unity of our people and asserting that each one of us has a place in society,” he concluded.

In her opening statement, Sarah Baartman District Municipality Executive Mayor, Khunjuzwa Eunice Kekana, said the process in introducing Sarah Baartman back into society had been long, but that the drive and focus in obtaining its goal never went array.

“We spend weeks meeting with people and various local government officials. The process was not easy but when you are referring to a woman or mother, it never is. We mark this day as paying tribute to Sarah Baartman and to never forget were we came from,” Mayor Kekana said.

She also expressed her satisfaction at the turn out of people and government officials, which included members of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality Executive Council, Provincial Legislature Speaker and former Premier of Nxolo Kiviet, mayors from various local Municipalities in the District, officials from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and local councillors.

The festivities concluded with a number of cultural dance items as well as the handing over of sports equipment to a selection of schools, and food parcels to communities in the Camdeboo, Blue Crane Route, Ikwezi, Baviaans and Ndlambe Local Municipalities by Eastern Cape MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Pemmy Majodina.