Message from Chief Scout Khonzaphi Mdaka
South Africa has been recognised as one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Today on #HeritageDay we join our country in celebrating our cultures, our beliefs, our traditions, and our diversity.
As citizens and Scouting members, we all have our own unique heritage that we bring to our Scout Groups, Districts and Regions. This, I believe, is one of our strengths as the Scout Movement in South Africa. By sharing our heritage with each other, we are exposed to the great range of cultures and beliefs that exist within our Movement. In turn, we are then encouraged to understand, appreciate, recognise, and respect what they embody. This path of learning allows us to grow as individuals, and to contribute as Messengers of Peace to a more cohesive Movement and country.
As Scouts we have an important role to lean forward and touch somebody’s life. We have a responsibility to give hope to those whom we differ with. I have been extremely appreciative of those members who took the challenge to learn the culture and language of the DEAF community. As we celebrate our Heritage Day, we must never forget to include them in our activities . We must never be ashamed to reach out to the different languages to learn a word or two. That on its own shows our commitment to our heritage and our diversity. We can only grow as an organisation and a country if we embrace our diversity and our different cultures.
I would even go as far as to say that as Scouts it is our moral duty to embrace the diversity and heritage of our membership, and to always show respect. Where in some instances this might seem challenging, remember the core of what we as Scouts stand for, remember the Promise that we as Scouting members make when we step into the Movement. This Promise is the centre of what binds us together as Scouts, and it reaches further beyond Scouting and into our communities.
The first words of our Promise, no matter which language we use, are “On my honour”. These simple words symbolise a personal commitment to creating a better world. Our Promise then continues to describe our moral values that might be more important today than ever before. Even though we are all unique individuals with our own heritage, we all share common ground through our Scout values, and we’ve all made a commitment to them through the Promise we made.
So, as we celebrate our Heritage today, let’s also remember the power of our Promise. On our honour let’s strive to embrace the diversity of heritage within our Movement, let’s learn from one another each, and let’s lead by example. Let’s make sure that the Scout Movement is a true reflection of the rainbow nation we live in. Scouting in essence stands for true convergence of the many diverse elements within the South African society, which is what the National flag embodies.