Cultural communities meeting

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Cultural communities meeting

Recently, the Cape Board, the CT Holocaust Centre and the Hellenic community co-hosted a highly successful evening commemorating the rescue of the Jews of Zakynthos.

Following that event, the Cape Board hosted its first-ever roundtable discussion on 20 February with the leadership of the Afrikanerbond, the Chinese Association of South Africa, the Western Province Chinese Sports Association and the Hellenic community.

We initiated this meeting in order to form partnerships with other local cultural communities. Following welcoming remarks by Chairman Li Boiskin and an overview of the Jewish community; each representative presented a perspective of their community, its challenges and its ongoing projects.

Nassos Martalas, President of the Hellenic community, explained the importance of the Greek language to his community, which up until 20 years ago, conducted all of its events in Greek. However, as an increasing number of Greek-South Africans do not speak Greek, the Hellenic community has become divided. “Can one be a good Greek without speaking Greek?”, asked Martalas. Robert Wong, representing the Chinese Association of South Africa, spoke about the organisation’s case against the Department of Labour over Chinese-South Africans’ BEE status; and how the community maintains its organisations.

Maintaining unique cultures

The Afrikanerbond was established in 1994 as a new incarnation of the Afrikaner Broederbond, explained Rienzi Duvenage. Its aim is to uplift Afrikaners, which it did by founding some of South Africa’s largest companies, such as Sasol and Sanlam. The engagement was extremely well received, with all parties congratulating the Cape Board for initiating the meeting. All agreed that in order to be the best South Africans we can be, we must also preserve unique sub-cultures. It was decided to take some of the suggestions made for engagement back to each constituency and then re-convene to pursue collaborative projects. The Board looks forward to continued engagment in 2013.