AntarcticheritageHistoryInternational Celebration DayLegacy

Celebrating South Africa’s Polar heritage on Heritage Day – 24 September 2020

Living heritage is the foundation of all communities and an essential source of identity and continuity. The South African National Antarctic Programme is such a community within South Africa.

                                       To celebrate our polar heritage on Heritage Day in South Africa answer the call of the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to do the Jerusalema Dance. Gough 66 team members performed the dance on the S.A. Agulhas II before they left Cape Town Harbour for Gough Island where they will conduct research and maintain the work of the overwintering team on Gough Island while in near isolation for 13 months.(available on YouTube) (Above L-R: ENCA coverage Pres Ramapahosa Speech, #JerusalemaDanceChallenge, Gough66 team)

                              Aspects of living heritage include cultural tradition, oral history, performance, ritual, popular memory, skills and techniques, indigenous knowledge system and the holistic approach to nature, society and social relationships.  In the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa digital repository, South African Polar heritage treasures such as diaries, images, oral interviews are kept. The involvement of South Africa in the polar region covers many cultures and many different communities. All the overwintering team images are available on the archive. On this heritage day we share  teams that spent their time on takeovers. These images are specifically on the the Antarctic Continent at SANAE. (Above L-R: DEFF team, Construction team and Drivers team)

                                                        Living heritage plays an important role in promoting cultural diversity, social cohesion, reconciliation, peace and economic development. ALSA works together with IZIKO museums to promote this polar heritage and the exhibition ‘Sentinels of the South’ in the IZIKO museum Cape Town is an example. The Sentinels of the south Exhibition tells a story of “unique ecosystems, some of the challenges they have faced in the past ad the threats they still face today. It is a story of exploration and discovery and how current explorers- scientist and their crew continue to keep a close eye on these sentinels in the Southern Ocean. They are our lookouts, our guardians, our warning lights.”  (Above and Below: Images from the exhibit that are available at the Cape Town Museum in the Gardens.)

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