National Unity Festival promotes culture

The opening ceremony was held at the Dr Rantlai Petrus Molemela Stadium in Mangaung. Photos: @SAPoliceService

Bloemfontein is hosting the 27th South African Police Service’s Police Music and Cultural Association (Polmusca) National Unity Festival. The three day cultural and music festival kicked off on a high note at the Dr Rantlai Petrus Molemela Stadium in Mangaung on Thursday.

Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela formed part of the opening ceremony and delivered her words of encouragement to members. “Today I just want you to dance and forget about your challenging work. Let me also take this opportunity to thank you for the work that you do for our government. I want to say thank you for sacrificing your lives to ensure the safety of our communities, some of you died protecting us. Never lose hope,” said Ntombela.

The Music and Culture Festival was established by the South African Police Service in 1992 to promote, develop and manage music, arts and cultural activities in the SAPS and to support crime prevention activities through crime awareness outreach programmes such as “Project Harmony” .

For the duration of the festival, members from all provinces have been competing in the following categories: ballroom dancing, cultural exhibitions, choir and band competitions as well as a potjiekos competition.

The Deputy Minister of Police, Cassel Mathale, encouraged members to de-stress and unwind in order to draw strength to continue the fight against crime.

“This is the only period in the year where we allow our members to relax and touch base with humanity. Our job is a strenuous one, and festivals such as these allows us to take a break from our often stressful working environments. Ours is not an easy task but yet you are there, brave men and women of the SAPS, placing your lives on the line to ensure the safety of all in South Africa. We owe a debt of gratitude to these men and women. Let’s also not forget those who are not here with us, those who are managing our police stations, operational command centres and so forth, continue with the great work,” said Mathale.

Day three started off with choirs accompanied by the orchestra.

The Acting National Commissioner of the SAPS, Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya highlighted the safety of members when responding to incidents.

“As we celebrate, let’s remember those members who would have loved to be part of this festival but didn’t make it. Just this past week, five of our own were attacked. Three of them didn’t make it and two are in a Pretoria hospital. Attacks on our members cannot continue unabated. I plead with you to not die with your service pistol in your arms and remember to familiarise yourselves with the Police Safety Strategy. As you head back to your respective provinces, you are reminded that there is no waiting period to report a missing person and you are also reminded to refrain from turning victims of Gender-Based Violence away from Police stations.”

An awards ceremony will mark the end of the three-day Unity Festival which will take place on Saturday evening.