Langa and Bontas unite in heritage celebrations

Members of the Junior Rosa Choir. Picture: Mandla Mnyakama
A major community concert and a unity procession are among the elements of a Heritage Month programme that aims to forge unity between the Langa and Bonteheuwel communities.

The programmes are co-ordinated by the Cape Cultural Collective in partnership with many local organisations. The two communities are building bonds of solidarity in order to better face joint challenges and ensure greater social justice.

A  range of organisations that are concerned about the violence on the Cape Flats and support efforts at social cohesion and justice are joining this initiative as partners. They include the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, the One City, Many Cultures Initiative, The Cape Town Interfaith Initiative, Denis Goldberg’s House of Hope organisation, the Cape Flats Interfaith Declaration and the Claremont Main Road Mosque.

Denis Goldberg, one of two remaining Rivonia trialists, has endorsed this programme as it aligns with his own efforts to bring about social inclusion and justice and Dr Alan Boesak will be among clergy from across the Cape who will join in the procession.

The different parts of the programme, include; a human rights workshop which took place on 14 September in Langa, facilitated by the District Six Museum and attended by many community members from Langa and Bonteheuwel.

A unity procession from Guga S’thebe Cultural Centre in Langa to Bonteheuwel Civic, will start at 12.30pm on Tuesday 24 September.

The Bridge the Gap cultural concert at the Bonteheuwel Civic Centre, from 1.30pm to 5pm. Entrance is free and refreshments will be on sale.

There will be a Unity in Action Declaration during the cultural concert. The declaration will outline concrete areas of co-operation that will be embarked upon or strengthened.

The programmes are funded by the Foundation for Human Rights.

Artists and groups that will light up the Civic Centre and the surrounding Freedom Square for the afternoon include the Dizu Plaatjies Ensemble, the much-loved Rosa Choir, the energetic dancers of Northern Dance Academy and the incredible Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies, who will do their delightful peace dance. 

Also in the line-up are the Blac Boys Bow Band, Gospel Rapper Mr President, reggae band Empress Hotep, marimba band Hlanganani and rapper T-Rain.

The audience will also be treated to the sweet voices of the children from the Junior Rosa Choir, who, like their adult counterparts, sing in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.

“We are not approaching this as simply a few events,” said CCC co-ordinator Mansoor Jaffer, but “part of a process of healing, growth and development”.

“We are building on previous work done by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in partnership with the Bonteheuwel and Langa communities in previous years,” he said. “We are also adding to the work of the One City, Many Cultures Initiative, the House of Hope and the inter-faith movements.

This month’s programmes are part of the CCC’s Community Voices for Human Rights series.

Most of the performers, transport operators, food stall holders and other service providers are from Langa and Bonteheuwel.

The event has been organised in collaboration with the following organisations: Joint Peace Forum (JPF); Umbon’ omhle Youth Development Organisation; Langa Seniors Forum; Ikhwezi Development Project; Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies (BWL); Northern Dance Academy (NDA); Bonteheuwel Ratepayers and Tenants Association (BRATA); Langa Rainbow Cadets; Rainbow Enviro Hiking Club; Cape Flats News, the Bonteheuwel Legacy Arts Collective and the Bonteheuwel Youth Movement.