Esikhaleni group takes pride in their roots

Gugulethu-based Esikhaleni Group of Friends in jovial mood as they celebrate Heritage Day.

There were scenes of jubilation, clan praises and traditional dance moves when the Gugulethu-based Esikhaleni Group of Friends gathered to celebrate and teach their children about the importance of embracing their culture and heritage.

The 20-member group joined thousands of South Africans on Thursday September 24 to commemorate Heritage Day.

Traditional dishes such as isonka samanzi, ulusu, umphokoqo and umqusho were served while women arrived dressed in traditional attire.

Group member Ncumisa Gxono, said such days afforded them the opportunity to embrace their cultural identity and background and to educate their children about the importance of learning more about their culture and being proud of who they are.

She said while they were living in modern times, they should not neglect their cultural values and principles.

“We must remember who we are and such days are there to remind us. We must always protect and be proud of culture. Culture is what defines us from other countries.

“If we do not teach our children about culture we are raising children who do not know their roots and who have no clue about themselves.

“We must never allow modernisation to destroy our culture and heritage. We must encourage our children to read their home language books,” she said.

Ms Gxono said the group was started in 2015 with the hope of giving back to the community and assisting one another.

She said they ran programmes which were all aimed at shaping young people to make informed and wise life choices, and they also assisted people when they did events in the area. Another member, Thembisa Goni, said it was important for them, as mothers and grandmothers, to play a critical role in grooming and shaping township children.

Ingathi Bala, 11, one of the children who attended the event, said he had enjoyed the event and had gained a lot of knowledge about his roots.