Let’s celebrate Heritage Day and Month
by Lathasha Subban
In an address marking Heritage Day in 1996, former President Nelson Mandela stated:
“When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.”
This powerful proclamation defines the importance of recognition for the different heritages of South Africa. National Heritage Day is the celebration of diversity and embracing the variances of culture, ethnicity, and traditions by all citizens of South Africa. In 1996 as the day was marked as a public holiday, that in itself was an indicator of how important heritage is within the country.
Heritage is a colourful canvas of diversity but it links strongly with transformation, tolerance and acceptance of one another for our uniqueness. Why is it so important to South Africans, is based on the history of a forgiving nation. In 1996, President Nelson Mandela recognised that in order to move away from the repercussions of the past, a future of forgiveness must be the vision for the country. From a time where heritage was perceived and treated as a weakness, it is now a pride and strength for the country, and in order to achieve forgiveness, we had to familiarise ourselves with each other.
Our traditions, religion, dress, food, and practices define our rainbow nation, and creates our uniqueness as a global example of democracy. One popular practice of Heritage Day is the South African braai, which has become the norm on the 24 September. A proudly South African practice that brings friends and family together to celebrate their backgrounds and share it with others on common culture.
HR practitioners can use Heritage Month to drive their diversity plans and culture programmes. It is vital to ensure that companies promote and welcome their employees’ heritage by encouraging them to dress up in ethnic wear, share traditional food, and recognise their pride for their backgrounds. As professionals that manage the people strategy of a company, it is therefore a bigger responsibility to hold in creating diversity and tolerance within the workforce. It is not diversity or heritage that has to be created, it is the understanding and respect that has to embrace diversity and heritage in all aspects of its existence.
So even if you did not want to celebrate National Heritage Day this year, I challenge you to change your mind. As we are not just celebrating diversity and heritage in the present, we are remembering that at one time it was not there to celebrate, and by celebrating it now, we will always ensure that it remains our heritage to celebrate…. Happy National Heritage Day 2016.
Lathasha Subban is Head: Knowledge & Innovation at the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP).
Lonmin Employment Relations Management practice compared to the SABPP HR Management Standard on ERM.
Today, 16th August 2016, we reflect on the Marikana Massacre exactly four years ago. Many of the 1000 new SABPP members registering over the last year may not have seen our analysis, and it is also a good time for all of us to reflect on the significance of this event in this history of our country.
Women’s Day 2016:
“When you strike a Woman, you strike a rock.”
by Lathasha Subban
“Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo, uza kufa! When you strike the women, you strike a rock, you will be crushed [you will die]!”
The song that became the anthem in celebrating Women’s Day. It echoed through the streets of Pretoria as 20 000 women of all races and ages, from all areas of South Africa marched towards the Union Buildings on the 9 August 1956. These brave women made history as they displayed the true spirit of sisterhood, as they protested against the proposed law at the time that would further restrict the movements of women. Four women led the way for all South African women born and unborn for generations to come.
The SABPP salutes Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Sophie Williams and Lilian Ngoyi. In 1956 South Africa produced powerful women that stood up for their rights and legacy, and today in the time of transformation, South Africa can smile proud as it’s women reach greatness in their lives.
The 1956 protest led by Rahima Moosa, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Sophie Williams.
It has been a long journey for women empowerment, transformation and pure equality for women to be recognised within South Africa and globally. Women’s Day is celebrated around the world and embraced by nations to show respect for women and their value in all areas of life. The South African Constitution Bill of Rights, section 9 clearly displays its support for equality that moved a country from biasness to democracy, but incorporating the promotion of women’s right to equality.
The SABPP has been very proactive in driving the transformation and development of women in the workplace by the publishing of the yearly Woman’s Report. The report differs year on year discussing research and areas of concern for women who juggle careers, family and the traditional expectations of being a woman. These reports are made available on the SABPP website (http://sabpp.co.za/research/womens-reports/) to ensure that the HR profession manages the dynamics in women empowerment effectively. This initiative is a collaboration with Prof Anita Bosch, Research programme – Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg.
“Though we have tremendous advances in the standing of women in South Africa, we need to take a step back and ask whether all women in our nation enjoys similar freedoms. And perhaps it is a time for sustainable activism to re-enter the national agenda.”
Prof Anita Bosch, Research programme – Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg.
Human Resources proves yet again to be a crucial piece of the puzzle that leads business in areas that relate to gender equality, women in leadership policies, policies (maternity leave and benefits), work life balance, wellness and the culture that embraces the transformation that includes women development and recruitment. HR is the heart of supporting women in their careers and assisting them to grow their professions from strength to strength.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Today women leadership is more evident. We see powerful female forces that disrupt the areas of a male dominated society. The likes of Thuli Madonsela, Devi Sankaree Govender, Michelle Obama, Ferial Haffajee, Gill Marcus, Helen Zille, Wendy Ngoma, Precious Moloi-Motsepe (to name only but a few), who are changing the world and the environment for women empowerment in different professions.
“As an African woman, I’ve learnt the importance of self-definition and living purposefully. It’s vital that every girl determines, as early as possible, who she is and what her contribution to humanity will be.”
South Africa’s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela.
The 16th annual report of the Commission for Employment Equity reflects a continued slow pace of improvements in achieving equity which is still a major concern in democratic South Africa. Calls for economic transformation assume a greater urgency when management control and employment advancement opportunities remain disproportionately favourable to White males.
The SABPP is encouraged to see this shift in the Commission’s strategy. The findings of the SABPP and UJ’s Womens Report 2015 that there is an enduring pay gap between male and female employees in South Africa support these comments. The SABPP’s 2015 Fact Sheet on Equal Pay Audits sets out a process which organisations can use to ensure that this type of pay discrimination, where not justified, is identified and corrected.
The slow pace of women moving into leadership positions is improving yet still a concern. Women have fought to move away from the restrictions placed on them through a patriarchal society into a more diverse and recognised one. HR is then again looked at to drive these changes within the business environment by implementing employment equity policies, gender sensitisation and women leadership development programmes. A game changer in supporting the increase of female talent within the workforce is by creating access to education through learnership and bursary programmes.
HR needs to create benefit and understanding through the policies that do not discriminate against women, and developing a culture that drives gender equality within the workplace. The issues of equal pay, maternity, family responsibility, promotions for women have to be driven by HR to further expand the philosophy that drives our democracy in South Africa.
As per the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index 2015, exhibited South Africa ranked 17 out of 145 countries. Looking closely at the opportunities and access women have to education and leadership positions, the investment in promoting women education and their freedom of rights, South Africa is doing well in these areas. In comparison to some countries that still restrict the rights of women and their movements, South Africa through its Constitution drives and recognises women empowerment and gender equality. The index report below clearly displays the areas of weakness and strengths that South Africa sustains.
“Apart from the importance of the election, so much more it is apt to women around the world. Recently the youngest Noble prize winner, a young girl, stood up for education – she took the future of many in her own hands. Women are seen as mothers, wives, career women, sisters, aunts, caretakers and so much more. We freely give of ourselves to everybody around us.”
Annetjie Moore: SABPP Head HR Audit
Women need to lead women. Women need to empower other women through programmes like mentoring, coaching and create communities that share experiences and lessons. South Africa has developed strong women in Government, private sector, across different professions that break the boundaries that defined the “traditional woman”. Women in South Africa are more empowered and have the platforms to voice their demands and be heard. It’s a voice that still carries the echo of the march by those 20 000 women in 1956. It reminds us of our progress over the last sixty years and how much we still need to do.
Women of South Africa, stand proud and live free for the world has recognised your strength. Celebrate Women’s Day not because it is recognised but because it is a day that celebrates your strength, victory and legacy. Happy National Women’s Day.
This article was written by Lathasha Subban, Head: Knowledge and Innovation of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP). For more information, you can follow SABPP on twitter @SABPP1 and Instagram @sabpp-1 or visit their website on www.sabpp.co.za
The 5th Annual SABPP Women’s Report will be released in August 2016.
Download the SABPP HR Audit Tribune 2016 here.
SABPP LABOUR MARKET SCENARIOS 2030:
People and Work – How will the South African Labour Market Change over the next 14 years?
By Marius Meyer
Buyani Zwane is an inspirational speaker, network builder, strategist, student, educator and leadership development facilitator. He has been engaged in the Human Resources Management, Business and Leadership Development for over 25 years with local and international companies. He was co-owner for over 7 years, and served as executive chairperson at FranklinCovey Southern Africa for 5 years, a leadership, training and development company with a presence in 14 Southern African countries and Indian Ocean Islands. He is an accredited ADKAR Change Management Facilitator.
Buyani is dedicated to excellent service as director of Dynamic Leadership Solutions (Pty) Limited and Magnificent Mile (Pty) Limited, while leading Breakthrough Development (Pty) Limited, a Leadership Development and Business Consultancy company founded in 2000 as Chief Engagement Orchestrator (CEO).
He has served as Human Resources Executive and Director, as well as CEO in the oil & energy industry, financial services, business consulting, gaming and public sectors organisations.
Buyani is a part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) specialising in Leadership, Management, Change and Organisation Development, and Strategy Implementation while at Wits Business School he teaches on Leadership and Strategy Execution. He earned his MBA at GIBS with a focus on employee engagement and business strategy.
He is a member of the University of Cape Town’s Council where he chairs the Human Resources Committee of Council (UHRC) while also serving in the Council’s Selections and Remuneration Committees. He further serves as independent non-executive director and member of the Human Resources Committee of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), non-executive director and chairperson of the board of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, and is a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI) and the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN).