Historically, the use of fireworks has been adopted by many cultures throughout the world, such as United States, United Kingdom, Australia and India to name a few, for traditional, cultural, spiritual reasons and significance.
Diwali is one such event which attributes similar significance to fireworks as the Chinese, which is globally accepted as chasing away bad spirits. Cross-cultural adoption and exchange of values has been there for centuries and even today as the world globally shrinks; adoption of different cultures is prevalent and has become the norm.
In South Africa, I want to commend the government and various municipalities for positively amending fireworks legislation to be inclusive of all cultures and value systems. Much of this positive changes are the contribution of the late Mr A. Rajbansi, who always fought for and advocated the responsible use of fireworks for cultural, recreational and religious practices by lobbying at various levels of government. Today, I, continue this fight for the revision of legislation that negatively impacts our communities, civil, cultural and religious rights.
I would also like to caution all users of fireworks to enjoy responsibly, and reiterate that the penalties for the abuse of fireworks carry severe consequences. I call on all lobby groups, as well as, people of other faiths to be tolerant of Hindu’s during this sacred period of Deepavali, as Hindu’s have been using fireworks and clay lamps for centuries, to chase away bad spirits and celebrate victory of good over evil and light over darkness, to commemorate the epic Ramayana, our sacred Vedic literature.
The democratic Constitution of South Africa protects and guarantees the rights of everyone to perform religious and cultural practices, without fear or obstruction, so let us all use fireworks safely and usher in the prosperity that Deepavali brings.