Protecting culture in AI future

A writer once said when black kids go to school, they become former Africans


The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which envisages robots and advanced technology replacing humans in the labour force, is a threat to culture and traditional values.
This was the sentiment expressed by National Heritage Council CEO advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa at a debate sponsored by the Daily Dispatch at the Guild Theatre on Wednesday evening.
The topic of the National Heritage Council debate was, “Do Cultural Values Serve as a Moral Compass in a Modern World?”
Addressing a crowd of 200 people who braved the chill to attend the event, Mancotywa said: “It is said robots and technology are going to replace humans, but the big question is – how are we going to transfer values? The transfer of values is a challenge. Heritage is in the DNA of society; a natural resource and not something to only celebrate on Heritage Day.”
Mancotywa said African children needed to be proud of their culture and traditions and cautioned against them being indoctrinated.
“A writer once said when black kids go to school, they become former Africans.
“I visited a family in Pretoria where black parents only spoke English with their children. The children could not speak the language of their parents.”
He said historians predicted that African languages would become extinct in the next 50 years unless there was a greater emphasis on preserving heritage.
The Heritage Council, he said, had in the past two years been campaigning for curriculum reform at government schools.
“History is compulsory from grade 4 to grade 10, but what is being taught there?” Mancotywa asked.
Political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana was a respondent speaker while Steve Biko Foundation chair and son of struggle icon Steve Biko, Nkosinathi Biko, facilitated the event.
Mancotywa also questioned the model used to preserve heritage in SA, and said important institutions, such as Robben Island, were marred by scandals of maladministration...

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