Editor's Note

Shannon Manuel.jpg

So many people look at heritage as a thing of the past, or a reminder of those who helped to create our present. Of course, it is that, but the great value of heritage is knowing who we are today and where we are going, as individuals and as a group.

Our South African heritage is broad, troubled, historic, glorious, triumphant and so beautiful. It’s beautiful because of the people who comprise our country, who have created and defined South Africa and what it means to be a South African. While heritage by definition looks to the past, for me, what is so important about heritage is looking to the future by carefully contemplating all that we do today, as far as our actions, our decisions and the way we set up our society is concerned. Let us not forget our present by holding onto the glory or achievements of our heritage, for without living beautifully, gloriously and democratically today, our heritage means nothing.

At the same time, heritage is as invaluable as a tremendous chest filled with pride and offering abundant motivation for the present and the future. It cannot be discounted, overlooked or avoided, as we can also learn so much from our past.

“Heritage is what is preserved from the past, as the living collective memory of a people, not only to inform the present about the past, but also to equip successive generations to fashion their future,” says Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa, CEO of the National Heritage Council, in a great article in this issue.

Another fascinating story in this issue is the feature on National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, a dynamic woman who has found herself front and centre on the political stage on many occasions over the past few years and has had to struggle through some enormously challenging times. Her insight is certainly worth reading and, for me, one of her most powerful quotes was when she said that “unity, for me, is of high importance—unity not only in the ANC but in the country as a whole.”

This sentiment taps into the need for us to forge a new heritage.

As a powerful woman, Mbete has spent four decades dedicated to the ANC and she has suffered numerous obstacles but she has also enjoyed great success alongside her liberation sisters, who we also pay tribute to in this issue. The role of women in South African society—as well as economically and politically—has been vital to South Africa’s liberation struggle and the journey to democracy. That heritage alone—highlighted by the Women’s March in the 1950s—is a major triumph and a part of our history that we should remember with great pride.

A beautiful part of our democracy and what the ANC has done for South Africa has been the high representation of women in our government, as well as the drive by the government and the corporate sector to open the playing field for women to ensure that women are no longer severely disadvantaged in the business world, from major corporations to SMMEs. I’m so proud of all the successful women we have featured in this issue, although, without question, women still have a far more difficult road to travel than men, both economically and socially, in South Africa.

My great wish is that future generations will look back on our generation and be proud of a heritage that can hopefully provide a landscape for women to enjoy the same opportunities to enjoy success and contribute to our economy and society as their male counterparts.

Although what Tata Madiba and so many others achieved in bringing about democracy was a landmark achievement, I believe the final liberation will come when our women stand shoulder to shoulder with the men of this country as we strive to make South Africa great together.

As the new editor of BBQ magazine, I wish to extend a warm welcome to all, and my sincere gratitude to all those individuals who have assisted and supported me throughout this new venture

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