The connection between heritage and wealth, prosperity and being proudly South African
Author: Kantha Naicker,
Chair of the Board of the South African institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA)
The focus of Heritage Day celebrations is often on the unique sayings recognisable by South Africans all over the world, colourful traditional outfits, or the camaraderie shared over braai fires. To build a valuable heritage for the generations that will follow us we should however broaden the focus of this day.
While our heritage does not dictate our future, it does play an important role, especially when we look at the connection between heritage, culture, prosperity, who you are and how you contribute to your own well-being, that of your family’s, your community, your country and the world.
Different cultures view the generation, growth and sustenance of prosperity differently. If we are to create a heritage of value for the generations that will follow us, we need to ask whether our views on prosperity and the generation of wealth are relevant for current and predicted future economic circumstances.
I am proudly South African, having being raised in an era and surrounded and influenced predominately by Indian culture. A lot of my South African culture and heritage shaped me into who I am. This and the diversity of my life experiences has also shaped me in my capacity as a Professional Accountant (SA). How I advise and consult with my clients, understanding their specific needs and circumstances and why they may choose to do X over Y is all underpinned by my South African-ness. South Africans have a uniqueness in all that they do, be it in business or otherwise.
While we light the braai fires on 24 September, my challenge to my fellow South Africans is that we have a good, honest look at what attitudes towards money, wealth and prosperity form part of our heritage. It is those attitudes that must honour the past more and set us up for future success, now is the time to receive some objective, professional advice. To carry yourself in the same light as all those courageous South Africans who walked before us and who continue to shine on the worlds stage, flying our colours and doing the right thing ethically.
The wealth – economic and cultural – that we build now will be the heritage of the generations that follow us. Let’s then build something that our grandchildren’s grandchildren will be proud of.
Happy Heritage Day South Africa