Africanization – beyond decolonization
By Stella Sigcau and Kirtan Bhana
27 March 2017
South Africans are rekindling their love for their land; they are redefining millennia old tradition and culture as it incorporates the modern South African society.
Komjekejeke the land of the Ndebele to the North of Pretoria recently commemorated King Silamba who is regarded as one of the heroic Kings who defied the imposition of colonial policies in the Kingdom whilst fighting for the preservation of the Ndebele way of life, culture and heritage. The event is also aimed at developing the Ndebele culture and traditions and sharing it with the rest of the world.
Photo: (l-r) Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi, King Makhosonke II Mabhena and Speaker of Parliament Ms Baleka Mbete
The annual gathering at Komjekeke in March this year was a special occasion showcasing new developments including a new facelift of the Komjekejeke by the Department of Tourism South Africa which has since been made one of South Africa’s heritage sites. The facelift includes the erection of the boma, conference facilities, chalets, museum and a staging platform. This is a certain boost for tourism to the area.
Local and foreign tourists, diplomats, international delegations, Royalty from various parts of South Africa were invited to experience the traditions; art and craft of the Ndeblele people while partaking in an age old culture. This year’s event also included the 30 years commemoration of King Makhosonke II Mabhena, a descendent of King Silamba, since he ascended to the throne.
There is also a growing interest in indigenous knowledge and boosting of culture economy as a means to showcase South Africa’s diversity and creation of jobs through the empowerment and investment in this sector. The Department of Arts and Culture of South Africa, through its Golden Economy Strategy, seeks to reposition the arts, culture and heritage sector as a key player in government’s programme of action towards the creation of sustainable jobs, building audiences and skills development. The Department of Arts and Culture was represented by Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi at the event. In attendance were various dignitaries including the Speaker of Parliament Ms Baleka Mbete and former Mpumalanga MEC and Mayor Queen Nomsa Mtsweni Mahlangu.
Africanization, as it is termed, is about discovering a sense of belonging to the land and all its natural splendour and abundance. After years of dispossession, it is about reclaiming and reviving an ancient heritage with a contemporary context while reversing the desecration and decimation of centuries of colonialism and apartheid.