Respecting the diversity of all cultures and living in the spirit of ubuntu were highlighted at Gauteng's Heritage Day celebrations, the office of Premier Mbazima Shilowa said on Monday.
Departmental spokesperson Simon Zwane said Shilowa addressed a gathering of people at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Maropeng.
The premier spoke about the preservation of all cultural groups and that the diversity of these groups were important to South Africa's heritage. "He also spoke about the importance of respect, and that if people respect each other, there would be no child abuse and no abuse of the elderly by children," he said.
Shilowa also addressed the importance of strengthening parenting in the country and how this affects violence in schools.
About 22Â 000 people gathered in the pouring rain to celebrate Heritage Day in Durban, the KwaZulu-Natal arts, culture and tourism department said.
Spokesperson Ncumisa Fandesi said the crowd had been addressed by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and acting premier Zweli Mkhize.
The "pouring" rain had not deterred a massive crowd of people from attending the event. "It has had the opposite effect. When it rains, people get even more excited," she said.
Fandesi said the day formed part of the annual celebrations of Heritage Month.
The value system of youth in South Africa is "under serious threat", Eastern Cape Premier Nosima Balindlela told a gathering of about 7 000 at Heritage Day celebrations in Grahamstown.
Eastern Cape government spokesperson Phaphama Mfenyana said Balindlela was "emphatic" that parents and communities need to play a more active role in children's upbringing.
"We have to put a stop to the violence in our schools. The focus must be on education and learning our rich, diverse heritage. In the old days, any elder was a parent to our children. It was not just a matter of biological parents, " Balindlela reportedly told the crowd.
Mfenyana said Xhosa King Maxhoba Sandile also commented on the unacceptable violence in schools.
People without a memory cannot chart their past to the future, acting president and Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said on Monday. "Poetry plays a significant role in the restoration of the memory of a nation," she said, addressing thousands of people at Botshabelo in the Free State.
The crowd had gathered to enjoy a day of music and poetry under the national heritage theme Celebrating Our Poetry.
In a speech featuring four poems, Matsepe-Casaburri said South Africa's collective memory is an integral part of its living heritage. She said people without an awareness of where came from cannot be in a position to reclaim their history.
The minister commended the Department of Arts and Culture for its commitment to promoting a culture of reading and writing and the development of all South African languages. "Thus the celebration of our poetry resonates with the initiative by the department to reclaim and revitalise our indigenous languages and literature, in both the oral and written forms."
She honoured poets in South Africa and Africa for the important role they played in the past.
Music acts such as Danny K, Freshlyground and Bongo Maffin were among the performers entertaining the crowd. — Sapa