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SAPS: Fikile Mbaluula: Address by Minister of Police, during 25th Police Music and Cultural Association National Unity Festival, Pretoria (21/09/2017)

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SAPS: Fikile Mbaluula: Address by Minister of Police, during 25th Police Music and Cultural Association National Unity Festival, Pretoria (21/09/2017)

Photo by Reuters
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula

22nd September 2017

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Lieutenant General LJ Mothiba
Deputy National Police Commissioners
Provincial Commissioners
Lieutenant General NS Mkhwanazi, the convenor
Major General Vuma, The President of Polmusca
All dignitaries
All our brave patriots in blue
Invited guests
Ladies and gentlemen

On the 24th this month, His Excellency The President Mr Jacob Zuma shall officiate in National Heritage Day celebrations at Siyabuswa in Mpumalanga under the theme “Celebrating Our Liberation Heritage”. Our liberation is our highly prized heritage. That which we prize highly demands protection and service. The South African Police Services is itself a heritage under this liberation heritage we are celebrating this year.

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South African Police Service is called upon to protect and serve our liberation, our people in all their diversity.

The work of the police is one that involves the heart. This work is reserved for those among us whose hearts are made and moulded for service to others.

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Policing has evolved to mean the face of government, from people who are lost, to those who have their vehicles broken in the streets to victims of theft and violence. We are there when there is a fire, a storm or other disasters be they natural or man made. We are emergency midwives, first aid providers and comfort givers.

Police are a special breed whose families live on edge wondering whether they may come back home from work unharmed or not. Police see things the human eye should not see.

We are the ones who are called upon to instil dignity on those whose dignity may have been robbed.

At the end of it all, police are still human. We feel, we hurt, we stress, we worry, and we get anxious and feel alone too. Our superhuman lives do not remove our human vulnerabilities. This is where associations like POLMUSCA are extremely important beyond measure. POLMUSCA brings the balancing element into our hard daily lives.

President Vuma, you chose as a theme, “National Unity Festival”. This theme is in concert and tune with the National theme, “Celebrating Our Liberation Heritage”. Through music and arts, we are able to reconnect with that which life intended. Humanity benefits in social harmony from the harmonic sounds of music and artistic creations that captivate the eye and mind.

Music and Arts of Africa is beautiful, vast and transcendent. We are a colourful people of today’s mama Esther Mahlangu of the Ndebele and yesteryears Queen Nandi ka-Bhebhe Mhlongo, a songbird on note.

We are alive today because of legendary composer Vuyisile Mini who composed a struggle song “NdodeMnyama”. The song was about what our heritage is and why we had to be conscious and know our humanity. That composition by Mini paved his way into the gallows.

We are people of Mbongeni Ngema, Ray Phiri, Mirriam Makeba, Gibson Kente, Abigail Kubeka and many more. As the African continent's most diverse country our nation is also enriched by the heritage and culture of the Dutch Afrikaner, the English, the Portuguese, the Germans and many more. We remember the Afrikaner legend Mimi Coertze who brought the depth of Dutch music traditions and infused her African experiences into it.

We are indeed a people whose blood streams are found in the Kaapse Klopse and their rainbow ferries.

Music and Arts helped liberate this nation from policies of separateness to togetherness.

This, the year of Oliver Reginald Tambo, we are reminded that this Heritage we own was indeed a good instrument used for a good deed of unity in diversity. Oliver Tambo was a choir master himself, a music composer and dear lover of music.

Programme Director, let us all dedicate this 25th Festival to this giant of our people, the forefather of our new nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our rich continent comprises approximately 20 percept of the world's landmass with a young population of roughly 750 million out of a total of 1.2 billion Africans.

African heritage is as diverse as its cultures and peoples and has coloured our landscape to flow with our desert in the north and the flowered escarpment in many indigenous forms. The colours we see here are testament of our inner beauty.

There is the rhythm of the Zulu, the bouncing of the Xhosa and the circling of the Sotho all creating a beautiful mosaic we call Mzansi. At the South African Police Service National Commemoration, we again locate music as a centrepiece of our being.

When The Last Post is sounded followed by the sorrowful reveille sound, the emotions on any person with a heart follows and flows with the disappearing notes as they go high and low, high and low again.

For the year 2016/2017 there are forty of our own who are not with us today due to death in the line of duty. In year 2016/2017 National Commemoration, poet Siphiwe Mahlangu said; “We keep an audible silence to resemble their everlasting memories for they are vividly imprinted on our minds.”

As we celebrate our heritage and the good that it has bestowed, let us please rise for a moment of silence to remember all our fallen heroes and heroines. Thank you.

I congratulate SAPS on the continued professionalism of our SAPS Band which is always on tune to deliver our National Anthem, The Last Post and other renditions. Your work as a Band is part of the culture of professional policing. You are the custodians of our heritage.

We cannot be a professional police service without your critical hands on deck. Yours is not just a nice to have. It is genuinely important.

I am a former Sports Minister, I am on record promoting sports as an important aspect of getting people to pause and come together as friends in peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as Minister of Police today I also know that sports and arts are an integral part of human life, the African ethnic life itself has its own long history of songs in childbirth, child rearing, hunting or war and indeed as mentioned earlier songs about political activism.

Composer Sifiso Ntuli said this about music as a protest tool; “A song is something that we communicate to those people who otherwise would not understand where we are coming from. You could give them a long political speech – they would still not understand. But I tell you: when you finish that song, people will be like ‘Damn, I know where you nigga’s are comin’ from. Death unto Apartheid!”

The toyi-toyi itself is an artistic expression of protest and perhaps defiance and militaristic rhythm of a militant advancing bravely towards his or her enemy.

The singing and dance of the un-armed toy-toying youths became a weapon; it is now a part of our heritage, a part of our very rich history from the hills of Zambia to Zimbabwe to the Cape.

The soothing prayer of Nkosi Sikelela iAfrika became an unofficial national anthem of South Africa way before 1994.

It was sang when the Freedom Charter was adopted, it was sang as the Rivonia Trial ensued and both black and white south Africans today sing it together in harmony as they start their Springboks games we lately lose! I am not going to mention Bafana Bafana here – a story for another day.

Abdullah Ibrahim often says apartheid created an environment of lies which the arts was a credible avenue to use as a buffer; indeed our fellow white South Africans, many in our police service that time were told that Nkosi Sikelela iAfrika was a Communist Song – Communism was often seen as a band of non-believers that time. Today, we all know the truth; Nkosi Sikelela iAfrica is a solemn prayer musical creation that directly means, God Bless or Protect Afrika.

Look at what music and arts has done? South Africa is alive with possibilities because of all these little important things. We are together through music and culture.

By having this occasion today, we mark the important moments in life through music, and artistic expression which helps to underscore the divine and eternal value of human lives. We serve and protect human life and the private property that makes human life function.

As members of this dynamic organization The South African Police, I encourage and endorse activities that get members to remember the other side of human life. We must connect as a family through sports, music, arts and all other means to build a united organization with tolerance. This National Unity Festival is thus fitting. This event strengthens the fabric of the SAPS community and rewrites the history of this organization in beautiful and melodic language.

We are a people of drums and rhythm, we are loud and happy, our drums and horns are also a language let us unite and build a united organization we can be proud of.

Through arts and our heritage, let us bestow to our children a SAPS they can only take to higher levels.

We are on the path of intensifying our professionalization. We are also called upon to demilitarize our organization. I want you to know that events like this do exactly that. We need more of this, we must expand this programme to other fields of play and games to reach all our rank and file. We also have a maskandi artist who is a member of SAPS. Bonginkosi BGK Mbuyisa. Help him and those like him to entertain and create joy in our ranks. So, Somizi Mhlongo and MNET can have their Idols Competition, I know we the best here, The Battle of the SAPS Bands.

The Western Cape Police Band won the gold trophy for their first place in the Battle of the Bands during in Durban last year. Lt. General Jula need not relax, I am told the other provinces are sharpening their tools and are coming for the title.

I am warned to stay on my seat should Sergeant Jean Organise start singing “Man’s World” with his beautiful tenor voice and Constable Maddy Abrahams with her powerful voice that shames the best in the world.

People who know me know a few things, I am the best dancer, the best singer and no one can come close. I am DJ Mbawezy too. So the stakes are very very high.

Even though our work is about helping those in danger and in great need, we are not super human, I want us to relax, reconnect with our humanity and rekindle the human spirit so that as we go out to fight criminals we do so with relaxed spirits and minds. Let us unity our people, let us trounce in happiness with the people of the Khoi and the San. Let the red dust rise as we dance and celebrate our liberation and remember those who sacrificed for us to be free.

Programme director, Let the band play.

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