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By Kekeletso Nakeli

Columnist


Culture is neither a crutch, nor an excuse for bad behaviour

We really need to celebrate ourselves, more so without judging others who walk a different path.


As of late there has been an awakening of African spirituality: my generation has come to know of the existence of the power of our ancestors.

They have come to learn the greatness of those that came before us; the ones who shed light for us; the ones who guide and protect us.

Then it hit me that the only boredom that comes with this self actualisation, was that annoying judgment that comes with those who “now know who they are”.

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To understand that, for some, a relationship is personal, be it with God or ancestors.

What is it with being chastised for selecting one? How did we allow our heritage and culture to become a near forgotten treasure?

Not just in spirituality, but holistically. How did we forget to celebrate our heritage.

We watch shows like Khumbul’ekhaya and Utatakho where children search for their fathers because they want to know who they are, pleading that cultural rituals be performed for them so that their lives can progress.

Should culture then be seen as a crutch? Not in my opinion.

If you’re going to embrace something, culture included, embrace it wholeheartedly, even when life is going good.

In 2015, the liberal blacks, the clever ones, called us coconuts – us who questioned culture but had no qualms with those who fully embrace it.

We tend to shy away from culture because those who are its custodians have themselves not been true to the cause.

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I remember how the kraal was used as an excuse in a certain homestead issue, with those who could not understand it said to be without cultural understanding.

Culture is neither a crutch, nor an excuse for bad behaviour.

We really need to celebrate ourselves, more so without judging others who walk a different path.

Today we proudly wear Xibelani, seshweshwe and isidwaba.

What we need to do is to encourage our children to embrace this attire and what it means, so they wear it proudly and not just in September.

We need to embrace who we are and celebrate our culture and heritage without looking down on others.

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