Know your culture and identity, embrace who you are – those were the messages delivered by Ward 95 councillor Ayanda Tetani when the ward in partnership with arts groups held a Heritage Day celebration at Solomon Mahlangu Hall on Monday September 25.
Young and old graced the event in their traditional attire while various groups entertained the audience with traditional performances.
Just a few kilometres away from Makhaza, P Section Association For Children and Youth, a non-profit organisation which runs a weekly soup kitchen, shared the same sentiments when they hosted their Heritage Day celebration at Chumisa Primary.
Mr Tetani said through the celebration of Heritage Day they wanted to remind young people and old about their identity and culture.
He said these days young people are slowly losing their interest in their identity and roots.
He believes that when one knows their culture they get a better understanding of the differences in the customs and beliefs of others.
He said such days enable them to explore and educate themselves about different cultures and help them to strengthen their own.
He said being culturally aware allows them to acknowledge world views and heritage. He said through such events they want to make sure the knowledge of their culture is understood by generations to come.
He said learning about your history and heritage helps you to understand your identity. “If you do not know your roots, your culture then you are most likely not going to know yourself.
“We encourage young and old to embrace and love their roots, culture and traditions. A nation that does not appreciate its culture and diversity will lead its community astray.
“We also want to dismiss negative perceptions that when you are wearing your traditional attire especially among the Xhosa tribe you are often classified as Inqaba, an uneducated person. We are who we are because of our cultures and diversity,” he said.
Buyelekhaya Dancers Group, which worked with the ward councillor for the event, said it was essential that young people respect their cultures.
Founder Vuyokazi Sihele said such events also educate young people to know their clan names so that they do not find themselves dating relatives because they did not ask their clan names or do not know them.
Founder of P Section Association For Children and Youth, Thembeka Tshukuse, said they held their Heritage Day celebrations at Site B in an effort to celebrate different cultures and diversity.
Ms Tshukuse said the organisation runs different programmes for young people of Site B such as drug awareness programmes.
Site B resident Prudence Ntlathi, who volunteers her time at the soup kitchen, praised Ms Tshukuse for all she has done for the community of Site B.