Bakithi (Zulu: ‘friends’), I don’t have a topic to write about for this weekend.
One event to highlight: Joburg Pride. I’m for culture – especially a culture of respect. I have I’m grateful that I can freely excercise & enjoy my God-given ‘rights’ to choice & relationship. Because I’m afforded these two things, I am able to love. So are you. Keep that in mind before you want to tell someone else that they do not. I’m blessed to have a wise and lovely girlfriend, to whom I am able to devote my love (and to be loved in return). I pray you all get to know that kind of joy.
PS: Love the Lord your God with everything you are. This is the greatest commandment, and the second is like it – love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:34-40 paraphrased)
South African Heritage Day is celebrated on the 24th of September each year. On it, we commemorate anything and everything that is the heritage of South Africans and their nation. This is the first year I’ve made an effort to pay some attention to what people in my community do on and around Heritage Day. The most common way to go about it is to dress up in their traditional attire. Check it out:
Also, the Bonakala BSAC Community took some traditional dancing to Rosebank Mall. This was outstanding…
Having thoroughly searched the net last week for some interesting events, I resigned myself to the fact that there wasn’t much going on for Heritage Day in my area. And even if there was, the ‘interwebs’ wasn’t being of much help. Indeed, not many seemed interested in celebrating or recognising their heritage in any way. Why not?
For a start: Ignorance. What is heritage anyway? I must admit that I found it a little tough to wrap my head around the meaning of the term ‘heritage’; and how can I be expected to celebrate what I’m not entirely sure about? A clue lies in another word similar to it: inheritance. Heritage has to do with things passed down from one generation to the next – especially to cultural customs, practices, and traditions. You might even say that a country is inherited by those who live in it, along with everything in it. In this sense, South Africans have inherited – to name only a few things - some very rich and fertile land, some beautiful fauna and flora to go with it, 11 languages (officially), and a variety of cultures and the diverse people within them. Reason two? National Braai Day. I LOVE the campaign (what South African doesn’t love a braai), but it hasn’t gone far enough to promote Mzansi’s heritage. As wonderful as a ‘shisa-nyama’ is, it’s only one of the many, MANY things that each and every South African has inherited.
Some links to click -
About South Africa Heritage Day on Info.gov.za
Bonakala BSAC – email: email@example.com, Facebook: Bonakala BSAC
My aim for this time next year: to have some great material from – at the very least – each one of the 11 officially recognised cultures to put up on the blog.
Your thoughts about Heritage Day and heritage in general? Leave a comment or two.
A large white tent has been pitched up on Wits University’s East Campus lawns this week. Naturally, the prospect of free handouts and giveaways in mind was reason enough for me to go take a look at what was going on. I found free handouts, but none for me. Bags, books, pens, rulers, and nametags all laid along tables outside the tent for Project IQra – the flagship project of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) for this year at universities in Gauteng, the Free State, and the Western Cape.
“Iqra” is an Arabic word meaning “read!” and the aim of the initiative is to encourage South African children to do just that; by giving “Power Packs” to underprivileged Grade 11 learners: schoolbags with study material and stationery, personalised for each learner! The Wits activities for the week ended on Friday, with the schools being served by Project IQra taking their students onto campus for a tour and a career guidance day.
I was able to spend a few minutes to help pack some of the bags on Wednesday, and in that time a few things came to mind. News headlines often show reports that give a negative impression of Islam and its people. Just recently, the release of an anti-Islam film led to a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan that took the lives of 8 South Africans (among other people).
My own experiences with South African Muslim people, though, have been very far from this. When engaging with members of our country’s Muslim community, the negative perceptions given by international news are immediately dispelled. One starts to realise that the acts of violence that often make headlines are carried out by extremists who have taken on a different interpretation of the religion.
Another thing that became apparent at the Project IQra tent was the way people were socialising; women were generally working to one side, and men to another, although not very strictly. The reason for this (which was explained to me a lot better than I can explain) stems from a belief in Islam of the importance of marriage, and a respect for abstinence and innocence before marriage. In other words they make a point of avoiding the unnecessary baggage that can come from relationships that don’t work out. That sounds like something many religions and cultures – let along people in general – can relate to.
It was great to see that the folks from MSA go about their student life while staying true to what they believe in, as well as to learn that there are actually some Islamic beliefs that I can relate to. I get the feeling there are a lot, lot more than I would think…
Hertiage Day is next week Monday. Positive stories happen when cultures collide in Mzansi. Keep a lookout for them right here on the Imilandvo blog.
Many Thanks to Benazir, Yumna, and Taskeen, as well as to the students from Project IQra at Wits.