Children encouraged to embrace their culture

Ivukani youth dance group mesmerised the audience when they performed their traditional dance.

Embracing your own culture and respecting other people’s culture play a vital role in nation-building and fostering the spirit of Ubuntu.

This was the message given to scores of primary school pupils and parents, who gathered at the Beautiful Gate offices, in Lower Crossroads, on Saturday September 24, to celebrate Heritage Day.

The event strived to remind children about the importance of learning about their culture and of playing traditional games.

Excitement and laughter reverberated through the walls of Beautiful Gate when parents and grandparents performed traditional dances and songs.

Children were encouraged to wear traditional clothes frequently and not only on special occasions.

Event organiser Anda Tyiko said more could be done by the parents and grandparents to educate their children about their background and that it was shocking that most children were not able to recite their clan names.

He said culture defines people and plays a crucial role in keeping them grounded.

Mr Tyiko pleaded with children to learn other African cultures. He said that could eliminate tribalism and xenophobia.

He applauded community-based groups that taught children the role of culture in their lives, and appealed to schools to do more. “South Africa is one of the most diverse countries in the world, yet we do not encourage our children to learn other cultures.

“We need to be proud of who we are and when it comes to our heritage.

“We should never compromise about culture,” he said.

Nongathini Pokela, 72, criticised the current generation for not fully embracing cultural practices.

However, she was glad that there were days set aside to remind the children about their cultural backgrounds.

She urged parents to take time and teach children about their culture and traditional customs being practised in their clan.

“If we forsake our culture we would be losing our identity.

“Culture separates us from other clans. In the old days it played a vital role in keeping us away from doing wrong things,” she said.

Pezisa Zakumba, 15, said as young people they often do not understand the role played by culture in their lives.

She said she was thrilled to have been part of the event as she learnt how to recite her clan names better and she now knows other clans which fall under her tribe.

“This event has enlightened me about background and it has also encouraged me to play our traditional games more often.

“We were also taught that in our culture girls were not suppose to play until it gets dark.

“We were also taught that the role of boys was to look after live stock,” she said.