Comparing Intangible Cultures
PHILIPPINES AND SA - COMPARING INTANGIBLE CULTURES AT TAM-AWAN
This year’s Tam-Awan (Heritage) International Arts Festival whose theme was “Cordillera Stories-Rituals and Beliefs” was held in Baguio on 7-11 May 2014 at the Tam-Awan Village in Baguio City, Philippines. This theme was a continuation of last year’s focus which was on jewelry (tangible culture) wherein Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso showcased jewelry of different indigenous nationalities in South Africa. This year, Ambassador Nyamande-Pitso gave a talk on the rituals and beliefs (intangible) of South Africa’s indigenous people, comparing and contrasting it with that of the Philippines.
(L-R): Mr. Roland Dela Cruz, Governor Nestor Fongwan, Mr. Jordan Mang-Osan, Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso, Mr. Tony Perez and Fr. Harold Rentoria doing a traditional toast.
In this regard, the Ambassador used visuals of various rituals and beliefs of the different African nationalities to illustrate their commonalities and differences as this was the most effective way for the audience to identify any difference or similarities with their own. Through visuals, the audience was able to appreciate the similarities and differences between the Venda, Sotho, Pedi, Tswana, Ndebele, Xhosa, Zulu and Swati and Shangaan rituals and beliefs. Thus, the Ambassador’s talk focused on ancestral ceremonies; traditional dances and their significance; the issue of worship and the Constitution of South Africa which emphasizes on freedom of religion; traditional healers and their integration into the mainstream health system; what Sangomas are and their ceremonies; traditional wedding ceremonies to mention but a few.
Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso interviewed by the media.
What then were the similarities between the SA rituals and beliefs with those of the Philippines? In discussions it was apparent that there was a glaring difference between those who are the indigenous Filipino people and the other Filipinos the majority of whom are devoted Christians. However, the rituals and beliefs of the Filipino indigenous people were very much similar to those of SA’s indigenous people in terms of ancestral ceremonies; traditional dancing; traditional wedding ceremonies; initiation ceremonies and they also have their own form of Sangomas and traditional healers.
SA Embassy Manila, Philippines