Cultural heritage and identity celebrated

Umzila wamaBhaca dance groups kept the audience glued.

Ululations, whistling and clapping reverberated through the walls of Khayelitsha Training Centre when Abathembu chiefs joined chiefs from other respected tribes for pre-Heritage Day celebrations on Saturday September 22.

In South Africa, Heritage Day is marked annually on September 24.

Among those represented were the Amabhaca, Amaphondo and AmaXhosa. The event hoped to remind the youth about the importance of preserving their customs, culture and heritage.

Children were informed that culture helped to build social capital and was also the “glue” that held communities together, and youth groups kept those gathered, entertained with traditional song and dance performances.

Chief Mzwanele “Dalubuhle” Mnqanqeni, from the Abathembu tribe, said cultural activities brought people together and promoted social cohesion and inclusion. He said culture informed one’s identity and urged youngsters not to let the fact that they are living in urban areas, result in them leaving their culture behind.

Through such events, he said, they wanted the youth to be custodians of their own cultures while ensuring that they educated their peers about it.

“We want our children to understand their culture and customs. “We want this generation to protect their culture. We want to have a country that is proud of who they are. We want to have future leaders who respect tradition. I applaud these children who participates in these traditional dance groups,” he said. Chief Sithandiwe “Melisizwe” Vuzani, from the Amabhaca tribe, said the key thing was to unite all the tribes in the province so that they could work hand-in-hand to promote African cultures.

Chief Bukwayo “Jamangile” Khangelayo, from the AmaXhosa tribe, said the event was critical as he believed the nation had lost the connection to its culture and that young people had little respect for their cultural heritage.