Pearls of Wisdom from Mr. Dali Tambo, CEO of the Carnival Company
- What did your role in the development of the National Heritage Monument entail?
My primary role was to conceptualise ‘heritage’ and translate its importance for our country. The project was about more than heritage as a concept; I also had to ensure that we created a sustainable “tourism product” with appeal. Development can only happen if people understand where they come from as this is the basis of what makes us who we are today.
- Why is it important for South Africa to preserve its heritage?
In 1992, the National Heritage Council estimated that about 90% of tangible and intangible heritage or monuments were of white South Africans. This showed the need for our people to also have our history and heritage showcased and documented. National identity is very important. We may have a painful past but it holds significant teachings for current and future generations on how we attained our freedom. We therefore need to preserve and create new heritage which signifies our collective history. It has become more important than ever for us to understand how we came to be a democracy, and for future generations to understand our journey as a nation. History plays a significant role in teaching us about those who sacrificed and fell on the way to achieving our democracy.
- Why is heritage, arts and culture such an essential part of social cohesion?
Reconciliation is needed for social cohesion to truly take hold. After a titanic struggle that was described by the international community as a crime against humanity – apartheid; reconciliation can bring us back together again and foster Ubuntu. South Africa is a multi-cultural society. It resembles a patch with strands. Each strand may be individually beautiful but when they are together they really capture the eye. Each culture has a rich history and diversity to offer.
- What leadership lessons can leaders of today learn from political freedom fighters such as Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu?
Honesty, integrity, commitment and selflessness are all imperative. That is why the National Heritage Monument (NHM) shows the rich history from the 1600s right up to the 1900s. The NHM depicts 500 sons and daughters of liberation who were all committed to the liberation of South Africa and the society we have today. Their commitment to this country should be a key lesson to current leaders to take South Africa to the future.
We can draw key learnings from these three heroes as well as thousands of other unsung heroes across the country.
- How can we continue their legacy?
We can continue their legacy by doing what they did.
- How can the private sector, government, labour, civil society and citizens collaborate better to implement the National Development Plan?
Where there is a will, there is a way. It is about people coming together and recognising that we have socio-economic challenges in this country which can only be alleviated by all of us working together for both a common goal and a stable society.
- What would you say are the main socio-economic challenges of our time?
Undoubtedly economic reform and education. We can address these by ensuring that the ANC remains on par with the majority because its political parties that can meet these challenges hand in hand with South Africans.
We all need to ensure that we have a young population that is educated to take us forward. Education is critical and apartheid robbed us of that. Our duty is to re-address this and ensure that we have an educated generation that would be economically active.
- How can the arts be better supported in creating small businesses and job creation?
First there needs to be an acknowledgement that there is a “cultural economy” that has as much potential as the normal economy.
Our cultural economy which comes in diverse forms such as theatres, fashion, movies and heritage as a whole have an impact on our economy through domestic and international tourism. South Africa has beautiful landscapes that tourists from all over the world want to see. This translates to the creation of small businesses trading our cultural crafts and showcasing our heritage at tourist attraction and therefore job creation. This is great for attracting foreign investment and boosting our economy.
- What message do you have for Kagiso Trust as they celebrate their 30th anniversary?
Kagiso Trust must continue doing what they are doing and may the winds be behind them. The job they do is amazing and changes people’s lives. Their work has been quite impactful in social development.