One on one with South African Heritage Ambassador Ms Tando Songwevu on Cultural Diplomacy
By Stella Sigcau
28 March 2017
Ms Thando Songwevu plans on flying South Africa's flag high promoting South African culture and heritage locally and across the borders for the duration of her four year tenure as SA Heritage Ambassador and central to this is the promotion of cultural diplomacy.
Daughter of the late SA Diplomat, Ms Tando Songwevu, Culture activist and founder of Embo Media was nominated in 2015 and awarded with the title of South Africa’s Heritage Ambassador by the National Heritage Council (NHC), an Agency of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) in South Africa headed by Advocate Sonwabile Mangcotywa.
This was in recognition of the remarkable role she plays in promoting, protecting, preserving and /or conserving South Africa’s heritage in the democratic era. She is also the founder of EMBO Media which is dedicated to the Promotion of Social cohesion and profiling of a Positive image of Africa strategically and aligned to promote Africa’s cultural heritage.
Her appointment was endorsed by the Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Rejoice Mabadufhasi in 2016. She was also chosen as one of the 2016 top 200 young South African game changers by the Mail and Guardian newspaper.
Her role as SA Heritage Ambassador primarily focuses on promoting the objectives of the National Heritage Council and the Department of Arts and Culture. As Ambassador she stimulates productive discourse around the Nations heritage and builds momentum around cultural diplomacy. She advocates on behalf of NHC/DAC on cultural heritage on different platforms, develops fuller awareness of cultural heritage to inspire solidarity based on understanding tolerance and dialogue, collaborates with organisations to promote social cohesion.
Her role also entails educating the world about the diverse cultures of South Africa and SAs heritage. She has partnered with the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership of which she is an alumni, since 2013 on cultural exchange programs which reach out to the African Diaspora in universities abroad, EMBO Annual seminars to help ensure that adopted African policies are accepted by the people of the continent with a view to achieving the African renaissance and unity.
She participated in various platforms including co-organising with the Youth Bridge Foundation from Ghana the 7th African Youth and Governance Conference with representatives from 30 African countries hosted at the African Pan African Parliament.
She also participated on the Dialogue on land Grabs with Gravitazz Namibia and worked on the cross country conversations with presenters from various African countries themed “African –centred approaches to the future of African communities, cultures and knowledge’s”. Locally, she attends various culture and diplomatic events and also links projects with academic institutions, for research and networking. Of most importance to Ms Songwevu is to represent South Africa with pride and integrity.