Young musician loves his heritage

Lima Zephe of Site C.

At 11 years old, Lima Zephe of Site C, is possibly one of the youngest people in the country who is able to make and play traditional instruments such as the Uhadi and Umrhube.

As the country prepares to celebrate Heritage Day on Sunday September 24, Vukani spoke with the budding musician about the importance of culture and traditional music.

The Grade 6 Vuzamanzi Primary School pupil said that when he heard about a class for young people to learn the music, he was immediately interested and discussed it with his parents.

He said he had surprised everyone and perhaps even himself when he enrolled for the classes, which were conducted by the Madosini Indeginious Instruments Legacy projects and Storytellers organisation.

It was run at Look Out Hill in Khayelitsha over four months.

He was the youngest person in the class, but rather than let it deter him, he used it to his advantage.

The outspoken musician said he had always loved traditional music and hoped one day he would be able to play any traditional instrument.

He said culture played a vital role in nation-building and promoting the spirit of ubuntu.

It is culture, he said, that defined people, and music was one of the key elements of a culture, providing a sense of belonging and playing a vital role in keeping our cultures alive.

While his peers spend much of their time playing soccer and other sports, he spends his time perfecting his musical skills.

Most of his peers, he said, were not interested in traditional music and others were unable to recite their clans.

He believes culture helps people understand their ancestral values and is what sets them apart from others, but it also teaches people to be responsible and be able to co-exist and live in a harmonious society.

Lima said traditions and customs served as the link between the ancestors and the living people while reminding people to never forsake their roots.

He also told Vukani he had just landed a role in a play, Woman in the Mirror in which he will be playing traditional instruments.

The play will be staged at the Black Box theatre, in Delft .

“I want to study more African instruments.

“I want to be an ambassador of culture and be in the forefront of saving our culture from its demise.

“My peers think its boring to play African instruments. We need to make our African instruments as cool and popular as hip hop and house music,” he said.

Asked about how he would celebrate Heritage Day, he said he hoped he would be invited to events to play his instruments and share the knowledge he has gained with other people.