WSU African languages lecturer, Mlawu Tyatyeka said it is important for people to know and celebrate their culture and traditions.

Tyatyeka said that the youth needs to understand that there is no shame in practicing your traditional customs.

“Your culture is your identity, history and dignity. For instance you may see a beautiful tree, once you kill that tree’s roots the tree dies away, so in other words when we talk about culture we talk about a person’s roots, it is culture that tells you who you are and how you should conduct yourself, it anchors you and makes you stable in terms of personality and everything else,” said Tyatyeka.

Tyatyeka spoke about Ikhazi, which is commonly known as Lobola and how it is not a custom that sells women into marriage but rather a form of appreciation to the woman’s family.

“It is very important for the youth to know their culture and traditions, that way they will not be part of the lost generation,” he said.

“Ikhazi is a herd of cows that is given to the bride’s family, it is a way of uniting the two families. It is a custom practised to protect women from any form of abuse, it is also there to prevent men from straying in marriage,” added Tyateka.

He also pressed that the most important traditional custom amongst the amaXhosa is ulwaluko, the traditional circumcision for men because if a male does not undergo this custom, then he cannot participate in various cultural activities.

“Ulwaluko is a transitional stage. Before a young man is initiated, there are things that he cannot take part in. He will not be able to have a wife, children or lead traditional customs. Being initiated makes you more responsible.

The same is to be said for women, should a woman not undergo intonjane which is the practice of initiating young girls into womanhood after they have had their first menstrual period.

“The same rules apply for women, as they do for men, a young woman may not marry or have children if intonjane ceremony hasn’t been done for them, but should they get married without having had intonjane, she will not be able to participate in any of the ceremonial activities as she does not have any experience in the ritual,” said Tyatyeka.



By: Vuyolwethu Nzolongwane

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