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imageBy Jayshree Sita, a mom who traded the life of a chartered accountant to become a teacher and now devotes her time to her  family and to studying Vedanta philosophy. She’s also passionate about self-development and youth development.

My daughter(13) asked me,“ Why should I dress Indian and not South African for Heritage Day assembly?  Surely it causes more conflict to emphasise the differences between cultures?”

After doing some homework and having a healthy debate with her as well as having a discussion in a kids philosophy class which she attends, we decided that it would be okay to dress in traditional Indian clothes, but Heritage Day gives us an opportunity to learn and grow which is so much more valuable. This is what we concluded.

Everyone has their unique culture and identity.

The purpose of Heritage Day is to expose people to the differences, to enable us to understand, respect and appreciate other cultures.

There are positive things in every culture.

If we can adopt or even just accept what is good in other cultures, we will grow as individuals and contribute to a more unified imageSouth Africa.

This exposure helps us to open our minds and be comfortable that there are so many ways to learn and live.

But its also a time for an individual to try to learn more about their own culture. What are the values and traditions that it embraces? Do those values and traditions make sense to you? If you are aware of your own culture and believe in its values, you will be able to share it with others.

For example. One of the values of Indian culture is hospitality, so in an Indian home guests are always welcome. I visited my father’s sister’s home in a village in India and was amazed that they were so hospitable. They lived in a mud hut with no running water and cooked over an open fire, yet they welcomed us with open arms and gave us their beds to sleep in, whilst my 67 year old uncle slept outside on the porch.

So I would really recommend that each of us do two things on Heritage Day:

  1. Try to find things which are meaningful in your own culture and share it with others
  2. Learn something about another culture.

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