Gerrymandering of the Minds’ Psyche
“What became of the Black People of Sumer?” the traveller asked the old man. “For ancient records show that the people of Sumer were Black. What happened to them?” “Ah, the old man sighed. They lost their history, so they died.” – A Sumer Legend
“I am talking of millions of men who have been skillfully injected with fear, inferiority complexes, trepidation, servility, despair, abasement.” – By Aime Cesaire
I have been meaning to write on this subject on the History, Customs, Traditions, Culture, Languages, Rites and Practices of the African South Africans, for a long time. In my past Hubs, I have tried to cover ground on the lives of Africans in Africa and South Africa and what they have been going through for the past 300-plus years of oppression, subjugation, depression, repression and the intensely and extreme violation of their humanity, culture, customs, land and existence. This is a very serious point I am about to discuss: i.e., how, when and why this was done and is still being done; also, what was life, culture and customs of Africans in the South of Sahara and southern Africa like before and after the coming of the Europeans later-on deep and further into this Hub; and what this life is like today. In the process I will give a serious version of Modern African culture, and an even more deeper historical delineation and concrete historical cultural breakdown, i.e., the customs, culture and practices of the Nguni as narrated by themselves-and also using African-centered references to solidify and anchor the discussion I am about to lay out below.
The topic I am embarking on may not be popular or much known subject, [Maybe too long for the Internet], but I am going to try and unpack this historical phenomenon of a distorted and dysfunctional African society and picture[image] of African Culture and Customs that we read about today, and how the remnants of this African culture we see today affects Africans in their lives and existence in the past and at presently: that of being Oppressed, suppressed, depressed, repressed, enslaved, colonized and stripped off all their cultures, customs, tradition, languages, and have poverty and all types of diseases imposed on them; and, how their cultural practices and traditional rites have been relegated to the inferior status of being regarded as irrelevant, closer to child babble/barbaric and need not be paid any attention to, whatsoever: i.e., a culture best forgotten for it has never been of any use to the Africans themselves. As of the writing of this Hub, the level of subjugation, neglect, being ignored, having imposed ignorance hunger a constant, and a bleak future and dreadful intolerable existence, has gone into over-drive! Also, later in the Hub, we look as to how the remnants of the present African culture can be looked at anew and thus Africans be able draw inspiration from its present presence and manifestation; also, the past history[as taught by Apartheid] and cultural and customary and traditional historiography issues will be addressed in order to give a complete picture of the past and present-and scholars from the African centered perspectives will be used in order to add muscle to the skeleton of the history of Africans South Africans.
The History of South Africa will be linked to the Civilization of Mapungubwe to begin turning the tide against the lies that impregnate Historical books and journals written by those who are not Africans, or with African ‘collaborators”- that Africans of South Africa did not inhabit nor own the land known as South Africa today. There is this lie and myth that has been perpetuated that Africans migrated to South Africa from the North of Africa, and came at more or less the same time as the Dutch landed in the Cape: nothing could be further from the truth than this blatant ahistorical misinformation and lie which I plan to deconstruct in this Hub. The voices of those Oppressed multitudes in South Africa has been silenced, treaded-upon, scorned, dismissed, ridiculed, mocked, derided attacked, labelled as inhospitable and backward hosts, foreigners, Dogs(Read the history of Van Riebeeck on this issue), called “Bantu”, “Natives, “Kaffirs”, “Plurals”; the locals were labelled as being lazy, inferior, stupid, slow, not-worthy-of-their -land-and-its-riches-as has been touted by the Apartheid rulers, and today can be observed and said by the new foreigners now living in South Africa and disrespecting the local Africans and hurling this type of abuse at them from every quarter – that in the end we find the local Africans living in squalor, poverty, sicknesses and diseases of all kinds, ignorance, confusion and tension, uncertainty; and, in recent times, within an empty and hollow democracy- and being denied their humanity, democracy, culture customs, traditions, practices and ceremonies and basic human services and comfort; this has led to today’s Colonial Mental disorders that are now commonplace amongst the Africans of South Africa.
Meanwhile, their detractors have no full understanding and nor sufficient knowledge of all the issues at play in the lives of Africans in South Africa and in the southern regions of Africa below the Sahara. Africans have been as a people under Siege – Literally and Practically; daily and to date! Suffering all these social malaise and dysfunctional social realities, and adding insult to injury, the Local African people of South Africa are the least respected communities in South Africa(as noted above) in their land of birth, and this is also visited on them by their own elected ANC-led government: everyone[most foreigners and European and some Africans[from the countries north of South Africa, and Africans South Africans, in South Africa, DISRESPECT the indigenous native Africans of South Africa, and this has become the way of life under the so-called rainbow government, too. The Africans of South Africa who have moved up the social ladder, have some contempt for their poor brethren who are running confused and have no one to lead them or help them. If most of the tourists would begin to go into the townships, live with the people, and not see them through the lens of the past structures and strictures that were created for white dominance and pleasure, that is, meet these Africans in western-style cities, hotels and bars and shopping centers, does not make these people know who the Africans of South Africa are.
One can read the internet as much as possible, or visit South Africa for a month or year, but so long as that is the case, tourists living in five star hotels , and head to the townships through guided tours and take some pictures, this does not necessarily make them authorities on the Africans of South Africa-especially the posts they make on the Net(Facebook for one and other Social Networking sites, blogs and so forth). This onslaught is gathering momentum and the African people have already noted that this is one issue which the world will see heads rolling! I mean, at present there is this struggle for Africans of South Africa trying to make sense of all what is going, and the there’ll be action once they figure out what is happening to them. There comes a time, when African people believe in the affairs of men and nations, and it becomes necessary for them to engage in bolekaja ( “Come down let’s fight!” – a term applied in Western Nigeria to passenger lorries (“mammy wagon”) from the outrageous behavior of their touts). I would like to to make it clear, (without apologies to anyone!), I am a bolekaja pundit, like those outraged ‘touts for the passenger lorries, (South African Taxis!?), of African History, Culture and Customs, and that am administering a timely and healthy dose of much needed public ridicule to the reams of pompous nonsense which has been floating out of the stale, sterile, stifling caverns of academia and unequal and oppressive society such as the one in South Africa, which is smothering the sprouting vitality of democracy and freedom on Africa’s Historical, political, economical and cultural landscape.
This the African people will have to do as a united people, i.e., to drag the stiflers of their lives down to earth for a corrective tussle. A little wrestle on the sands never killed a sturdy youth. I expect that this will help the sprouting democracy redirect and control their sprouting democracy and freedom into a modern and thriving society, culture and all its naturally acquired wares to their own benefit enhancement and upliftment. African people in this article will be drawn to the act that they need to cure themselves from ‘colonial hangover’ ( setlamatlama ). The showing and writing about African culture, customs, traditions, languages and crafts will help and enble Aricans to begin to see their selves not as “tribes”, but as nations which are one and the same, and are made up of various and diverse, but the same culture, customs, traditions and practices and languages,which are not different customary and culltural practices as has been heretofore trumpeted by their detractors: This has been in such a way as to try to dismantle and debase the Nguni People’s cultural mosaic. Let controversy rage; may it stimulate creative discussion…! ” Ha eye Tau!(Let the Lion loose)
Mind Bending And Soul Wrenching Accessories
Education As Key
For the [past 500 plus-years], therefore, the world has been ruled/molded in the image and likeness of Europe. European history now becomes world history and the European experience now becomes the universal experience. One of the primary weapons Europeans have used to ossify, perpetuate, and maintain the myth and Big Lie of European supremacy, invincibility, and originality coterminous with the myth/Big Lie of African’s inferiority and nothingness is education, albeit, miseducation. (Clarke) I intend to use this Hub as an educational reference for those who would like to investigate some of the issues that will be raised herein. This will done so that a counter could furnished against those academic and writers of all stripes trying to tell the world about Africans in South, without really contacting them, living in their places of domicile, nor knowing very much about the African communities and the Nation of Africans in South Africa as a whole.
Paulo Freire reminds us, “what these educators are calling dialogical is a process that hides the true nature of dialogue as a process of learning and knowing …Understanding dialogue as a process of learning and knowing establishes a previous requirement that always involves an epistemological curiosity about the very elements of the dialogue.” Freire reminds us that “the awakening of critical consciousness leads the way to the expression of social discontents precisely because these discontents are real components of an oppressive situation.” But as noted in the paragraph above, these knowledgeable persons who talk about Africans, cull their information form Apartheid’s ideological projection of Africans, and from their own assessments which do not jive with the reality of Africans in South Africa.
We need to remember that beginning from the times of bombs, guns, bulldozers and brutal tortures, that the Europeans brought along with them when first colonizing Africans, Africans faced daily displays of state violence, beat downs on their bodies, with Apartheid operating with impunity through overt and covert political, economical, social and religious violence – conventional and counter insurgency warfare, forced removals, assassinations, “disappearances”, detention and torture – as well as through myriad forms of “structural violence.” Under the weight of this oppression, and the gaze of psychological surveillance that had previously pathologized the African mind as an object of White consciousness was reversed, African people had to ‘cope’ an still coping and surviving the constant and age-old onslaught on their humanity and human rights and freedom of expression and to live as a sovereign nation. In the 1970s a counterpoint to the destructive power of sovereign violence was secured into place.
Euro-colonial education was designed to produce people who would participate in the process of colonial rule; people who would participate in the process of their own oppression and in the oppression of their own fellow colonized people (neocolonialism); moreover “colonized schooling was education for subordination, exploitation, the creation of mental confusion, and the development of underdevelopment,” powerlessness and dependency. Africans are re-living this horror in manifold ways today under the ANC-elected government. It also reinforced the “notion of privilege” and the “notion of alienation” (divide and conquer). In other words, colonial and neocolonial education ossified the psychological dependency complex of the African colonized/oppressed to the extent that in the era of “flag independence,” the African “wasn’t preparing to be a sovereign nation” but instead was only “preparing” to imitate his slave master’s ruling of a nation(Clarke). The condition of the people of African descent is testament to the statements made above.
Ipso facto , Africans not only:. .take for granted the validity, truth, and superiority of the culture of the (European) colonizer but )also) assume that the behaviors, culture, values, life-styles, moral preferences and definitions of morality of the colonized as invalid, wrong, false, or inferior… (Moreover, they) have been infected and conditioned to invalidate and reject their own culture, value and philosophical individuality.. [They] tend to evaluate their behaviors in terms of whether or not they are acceptable to (European) colonizer. (They accept) the colonizer as the standard.[and] crave to be like their colonizers.. Clarke wryly adds: “European scholarship has darkened “The True Light of African History” and as a result we are brain-dead, brain damaged, and culturally comatose. What African people need to do as we are now in the 21st century is to de-Europeanize, de-mystify, detoxify, and de-brainwash their subconscious mind of this invisible drug called Eurocentric miseducation. In this way we can relocate our subconscious mind-set to its original locus/reference point – Mother Africa.” Prof. Clarke warns that: “..We have to realize that education has but one honorable purpose.. one alone.. everything else is a waste of time : that is to train the student to be a proper handler of power. Being Black and beautiful means nothing until ultimately your Black and powerful. The world is ruled by power, not Blackness and beauty..” I also add that power on behalf of an Imperial or deep pocketed Capitalist of Corporate potentates, is not power at all. So long as the education of African children and African society is not in their control, and is controlled by others, they will remain not only slaves and chained people, but also second hand poor copies of their masters. It would advisable to learn some thoughts and ideas about education from Jose Marti who writes:
1. Instruction is not the same as education: the former refers to thought, the latter principally to feelings. Nevertheless, there is no good education without instruction. Moral qualities rise i price when they are enhanced by qualities of intellect.
2. Popular education does not mean education of the poorer classes exclusively, but rather that all classes in the nation-tantamount to saying the people-be well educated. Just as there is no reason why the rich are educated and not the poor, what reason is there for the poor to be educated and not the rich? They are all the same.
3. He who knows more is worth more. To know is to possess. Coins are minted, knowledge is not. Bonds or paper money are worth more, or less, or nothing; knowledge always has the same value, and it is always high. a rich man needs money with which to live, but he can lose it and then he no longer has the means of living. An instructed man lives from his knowledge, and since he carries it with him, he never loses it and his existence is easy and secure.
4. The Happiest nation is the one whose sons have the best education, both in instruction of thought and the direction of feelings. An instructed people loves work and knows who to derive profit from it. A virtuous people will live a happier and richer life than another that is filled with vices, and will better defend itself from all attacks.
5. Every man when he arrives upon tis earth, has a right to be educated, and then in, in payment, the duty to contribute to the education of others.
6. An ignorant people can be deceived by superstition and become servile. An instructed people will always be strong and free. An ignorant man is on his way to becoming a beast, and a man instructed in knowledge and conscience is on his way to being a god. one must not hesitate to choose between a nation of gods and a nation of beasts. the best way to defend our rights is to know them well; in so doing one has faith and strength; every nation will be unhappy in proportion to how poorly educated ate its inhabitants. A nation of educated men will always be a nation of free men. Education is the only means of being saved from slavery. A nation enslaved to men of another nation is as repugnant as being enslaved to the men of one’s own.
That is why the writing of this Hub is important in that it attempts to bring to the fore-front of Human World history, respect for and knowledge about African South Africans and their history, customs, tradition, languages, practices and rites more serious and respect that it deserves. The intention of this Hub is to earn that knowledge and respect of Africans and their being recognized as a Nation. Education, which is now in decrepit state, needs to be addressed promptly and thoroughly otherwise Africans will remain enslaved, as Jose Marti so expertly observed: “A nation enslaved to men of another nation is as repugnant as being enslaved to the men of one’s own.” It is also important to note how “Ubuntu” is displaced by “Alienation” which we will explore below
Ubuntu! Botho! The Act of Being a Human Being
“Paulo Freire connects the thoughts of Professor Clarke above by writing: “While the problem of humanization(“Ubuntu”?) has always, from an axiological point of view, been human kind’s central problem, it now takes on the character of an inescapable concern…Within history, in concrete, objective contexts, both humanization and dehumanization are possibilities for a person as an uncompleted being conscious of their incompletion. Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human. This distortion occurs within history; but it is not an historical vocation. Indeed, to admit of dehumanization as an historical vocation would lead either to cynicism or total dispair. The struggle for humanization, for emancipation of labor, for the overcoming of alienation, for the affirmation of men and women as persons would be meaningless. This struggle is possible only because dehumanization, although a concrete historical fact, is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors,which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed.” It is very important that Education should be revamped and looked anew-education of a nation should be controlled and be in the hands of those whose interests it serves, and in this case, it should be controlled by and serve the interests of African South Africans.
One of the thrusts of this Hub is to essentially talk about the dehumanization that Fromm is talking about above. As has been noted in the other Hubs written about the lives of Africans under Apartheid. In this instance, one constant feature is the denigration and dehumanization of Africans in South Africa for the past centuries, and the modus operandi towards nation building is for them to decolonize, deprogram, de-colonize themselves, as Clarke has pointed out above; it is absolutely clear that the majority have been denied decent education and respectable humanity, and with the advent of an incompetent ANC-led government, we have and are witnessing the disappearance of several generations engulfed by ignorance, poverty, mental diseases[of which these are on the rise as we speak] – carried from the past[as dictated by Apartheid], and present, of course the future, as it is now being set up by the ANC. The ANC-led government is failing in its tasks to help educate the Africans masses because of the encroaching state and centralized control which is aggressively being pushed by foreign monied interests and governments (You can read the book “Confessions of the Economic Hitman” on this subject of operatives, governments and corporations in other countries). The root of the problems now facing African South Africans in education was the appointment of the intellectually weak Sibusiso Bengu and the blustering Ideologue, Kader Asmal, They introcduced “Outcome-based” education, and as they did so, both had no clue how to begin to overcome the effects of Apartheid’s eduactional legacy and its effects on Africans, and they have no idea what needs to be done for the present state of education amongst Africans today.
Jose Marti writes: “The general happiness of a nation rests upon the individual independence of its inhabitants. A free nation is the result of free settlers. Honorable and durable nations are not made out for men who cannot live for themselves but are attached to a leader who favors, uses, or abuses them. Whoever desires an enduring nation aids in establishing his country’s affairs so that each man may work in active labor applicable to a personal and independent situation. Let every man learn to make something which other need..” What, then, we have here is a situation turned on its head. The present leaders in South Africa do not adhere to the maxims above, instead they have seriously embarked on to the road of corruption, greed, nepotism, cronyism, cabals, demagoguery, being imperial lackeys, fostering of community and social underdevelopment and impoverishment of their fellow being who form the bulk of the nation of South Africa: Africans! Erich Fromm describes this condition as follows: “Reason is man’s faculty for grasping the world by thought, in contradiction to intelligence, which is man’s ability to manipulate the world with the help of thought. Reason is man’s instrument for arriving at the truth, intelligence is man’s instrument for manipulating the world more successfully; the former is essentially human, the latter belongs to the animal part of man.” This has been denied to Africans in South Africa since the coming of the Dutch seafarers/colonialists, and in the present day Democracy they have yet to be achieved and realized. That is why the Africans in South Africa today are saying that “We wanted Freedom and they gave us Democracy.”
The masses in South Africa are attached to leaders who ‘favors, uses,or abuses them.’ Although we know for a fact that ‘man will arrive at the truth, intelligence as their instrument for manipulating the world more successfully,’ as in the case of the poor African majority eventually will, the very negative actions of their own elected government is constantly making them feel alienated, and social security a remote possiility, they will always feel oppressed and suppressed. Erich Fromm informs us that: “By alienation it is meant mode of experience in which the person experiences himself as an alien. He has become, one might say, estranged from himself. He does not experience himself as the center of his world, as the creator of his own acts – but his acts and their consequences have become his masters, whom he obeys, or whom he may even worship. The alienated person is out of touch with himself as he is out of touch with any other person. He, like the others, are experienced as things are experienced; with the senses and with common sense, but at the same time without being related to oneself and to the world outside positively.” Africans are experiencing alienated life in contemporary South Africa as something that is not connected to them” The ‘elite’ who rule over the dominated African majority, makes one wonder if these educated ‘persons are actually equipped to face the real ordeal before them or unconsciously contribute to their own undoing by perpetuating the regime of the oppressor. (Woodson) This attitude of being blocked at every turn can be traced by taking a critical and seriously in-depth look at African South African history and culture and its meaning in the African society. This means that Africans need to learn and teach, control and design for themselves their education and culture, as they understand and know it and disseminate it throughout their people and a nation-as they see fit.
Erich Fromm informs us as follows: “The basic entity of the social process is the individual, just as to understand the individual we must see him in the context of the culture that molds him [this we will look at in-depth below]. To understand the dynamics of the social process we must understand the dynamics of the psychological processes operating within the individual, just as to understand the individual, we must see him in the context of the culture which molds him. Modern man, freed from the bonds of pre-individualistic society, which simultaneously gave him security and limited him, has not gained freedom in the positive sense of the realization of his individual self; that is, the expression of his intellectual, emotional and sensuous potentialities. Freedom, though it has brought him independence and rationality, has made him isolated and, thereby, anxious and powerless. This isolation is unbearable and the alternatives he is confronted with are either to escape from the burden of his freedom into new dependencies and submission, or to advance to the full realization of positive freedom which based upon the uniqueness and individuality of man…After centuries of struggles, man succeeded in building an undreamed-of wealth of material goods; he built democratic societies in parts of the world, and recently was victorious in defending himself against new totalitarian schemes(Hitlers debacles); yet, modern man still is anxious and tempted to surrender his freedom to dictators of all kinds, or to lose it by transforming himself into a small cog in the machine, well fed, and well clothed, yet not free man but an automaton.” This can be seen amongst the newly enriched Africans, albeit they be few in number compared to the whole African population.
Under the weight of this oppression, the gaze of psychosocial surveillance that previously had pathologized the African mind as an object of White consciousness was reversed. I have touched a bit on this mindset and set of social relations that were part of the reality of South Africa from 1652 up to De Klerk’s rule, above. In the 1970s, and as the single most prominent disciplinary counterpoint to the destructive power of sovereign violence, Biko’s Black Consciousness(BC) emerged to motivate an African Personality. Bantu instructs thus: “In my opinion, it is not necessary to talk about African culture. However, [in the light of the above statements], one realizes that there is so much confusion sown, not only amongst casual non-African readers, but even amongst Africans themselves, that perhaps a sincere attempt should be made at emphasizing the authentic cultural aspect of the African people by the Africans themselves. Since that unfortunate date – 1652 – we have been experiencing a process of acculturation. It is perhaps presumptuous to call it “acculturation” because this term implies a fusion of different cultures. In our case, this fusion has been extremely one-sided. The two major cultures that met and “fused” were the African culture and the Anglo-Boer Culture. Whereas the African culture was unsophisticated and simple, the Anglo-Boer culture had all the trappings of a colonialist culture and therefore was heavily equipped for conquest.” It is better we know concretely what took place in South Africa and its colonization. As Biko says, the fusion of cultures was one-sided, and there never was ‘acculturation’ taking place in South Africa. It was and it is still a one way street- with Africans being disadvantaged by that ‘fusion’.
Biko continues: “Where they could, they conquered by persuasion, using a highly, exclusive religion that denounced all other Gods and demanded a strict code of behavior with respect to clothing, eduction ritual and custom. Where it was impossible to convert, fire-arms were readily available and use to advantage. Hence, the Anglo-Boer culture was the more powerful culture in almost all facets. This is where the African began to lose a grip on himself. These oppressive and depressive laws and rules imposed on Africans have had some untold miseries and deadly effects over time. African people today need to know how and when were these policies imposed and forced on them and how and why they worked and are still working today. While acknowledging that not all oppressed persons were equally subject to the alienating effects of Apartheid, which are the same as Erich Fromm explained his take on “alienation”, which is in par with Biko and BC’s focus on how it[alienation] i nsinuated itself into subjectivity meant that all African people themselves constituted the pathology, and therefore that their cure demanded rehabilitation of the entire social body . Manganyi characterized the ordinary African as a “psychological paraplegic” as he wrote: “…in the African experience there was over time developed a sociological schema of Black body prescribed by White Standards. The prescribed attributes of this sociological schema has, as we should know by now, been entirely negative. It should be considered natural under these circumstances for an individual Black person to conceive of his body image as something, something which paradoxically must be kept at a distance outside of one’s self so to speak. ” In this instance, the disrespect of Africans was set in motion and has lasted the last more or less 360+ years. As I have noted above, this opened the flood gates of disrespect for Africans in South Africa that is still going on to this day, inside South Africa, under ANC rule It is important to keep in mind that what is needed now for Africans in South Africa is a whole social and psychiatric help for the needy and poor Africans now undergoing a seriously deadly siege of their humanity and existence as a people. Biko and Fromm inform us as to how this “alienation” was foisted onto the people, the outcome of that insidious action and , as have been pointed out in this hub, is adversely affecting Africans in South Africa as a Colonialism which is presenting itself, amongst the African collective, as post-Colonial Mental disorders. It is therefore important we cull from the existing but decimated culture and raise it up in order to learn from it.
Modern South African African Culture:
Thumb-Nail Sketch of The Nguni/Bakone’s Culture/Custom, tradition and Practices
There is there rampant belief that Africans in South Africa have no culture, no understanding of it and are essentially, culturally speaking, Europeans in Black skins who happen to be the indigenous or natives of South Africa. The term “Native” is used here to denote the original inhabitants of the part of Africa now called South Africa. There was and there still is the culture of Africans in South Africa.
Biko writes as follows on this issue: “One of the most difficult things to do these days is to talk with authority on anything to do with African[South African] culture. Somehow, Africans are not expected to have any deep understanding of their own culture or even of themselves . Other people have become authorities on all aspects of African life or to be more accurately BANTU life[as has already be stated above]. Thus we have the thickest of volumes on some of the strangest subjects – even “the feeding habits of the Urban Africans”., a publication by a fairly “liberal” group, Institute of Race Relations. As an inward-looking process, expanded the meaning of violence to include sociological and ideological factors which they identified as destroying the authenticity of African people and undermining African’s pride and diginity. He, Biko, then made this appeal: ‘… to come to himself; to pump back life into his emty shell; to infuse himself with pride and dignity; to remind him of his complicity in the cirme of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth.” If this is what Biko was saying about Africans under Apartehid, this has worsened now under the ANC-led government: they have made their African people who voted them into power, into “psychological Paraplegics”. In fact, the present-day African South Africans are getting the worst end of the national deal. Most people complain about the rate of mental diseases that are now a common theme. Disrespect has now become the norm, and the mantra of “dog-eats-dog” has become embedded into the cultural consciousness of the Africans in South Africa and in their national existence and conversations to the detriment of their authentic culture, customs, traditions, history, rites and practices.
One thing that should be noted here earlier on is the fact that “Inhlonipho”(in Zulu) or “Hlompho” in Sotho (Respect) is no more heeded nor the norm today, yet it is the basis of the concept of “Ubuntu”. Not only is one recognized as a human being and acknowledged as one, but that any human is to be treated with utmost ‘Respect’ as a human being and part of the human family. This is part of the customary practices of of the African culture of South Africa; the Anglo-Boer coalition made sure that they dismantled that part of the customary practices of African culture. Bantu states: “Thus, in taking a look at cultural aspects of the African people, one inevitably find himself having to compare. This is primarily because(talking about respect and culture), of the contempt that the “superior culture” shows towards the indigenous culture. To justify its exploitative basis the Anglo-Boer culture has at all times been directed at bestowing an inferior status to all cultural aspects of the indigenous people. I am against the belief that African culture is time-bound, the notion that with the conquest of the African, all his culture was obliterated. I am also against the belief that when one talks of African culture one is necessarily talking of the pre-Van Riebeeck culture. Obviously the African culture has had to sustain severe blows and may have been battered nearly out of shape by the belligerent culture it collided with.” Yet in essence, even today, one can easily find the fundamental aspects of the pure African culture, which Bantu points out that the culture was never “‘time bound’ nor stagnant,” as will be discussed in brevity below.
Religion: Biko decries the fact that Westerners had an aggressive mentality…He dismisses and draws a sharp line between the natural and supernatural and non-rational as superstition… “Africans being a pre-scientific people do not recognize any conceptual cleavage between the natural and supernatural. They experience a situation rather than face a problem. By this I mean they allow both the rational and non-rational elements to make an impact upon them, and any action they may take could be described more as a response of the total personality to the situation than the result of some mental exercise. We as a community are prepared to accept that nature will have its enigmas which are beyond our powers to solve. Many people have interpreted this attitude as lack of initiative and drive; yet, in spite of my belief in the strong need for scientific experimentation, I cannot help feeling that more time also should be spent in teaching man and man to live together, and that perhaps, the African personality with its attitude of laying less stress on power and more stress on man is well on the way to solving our confrontation problems.”
Biko continues to add: “All people are agreed that Africans are a deeply religious race. In the various forms of worship that one found throughout the Southern part of our Continent there was at least a common basis. We all accepted without any doubt the existence of a God. We had our own community of saints. We believed – and this was consistent with our views of life – that all people who died add a special place next to God. We felt that a communication with God, could only be through these people (Amadlozi/Badimo – my addition). We never knew anything about ‘Hell’ -we do not believe that God could create people only to punish them eternally after a short period on earth. Another aspect of religious practices was the occasion of worship. We did not believe that religion could be featured as a separate part of our existence…We thanked God through our ancestors before we drank beer, married, worked, etc. We would find it artificial to create special occasions for worship., that is why we did not see it logical to have a particular building in which all worship would be conducted. We believed that God was in communication with us and therefore merited attention everywhere and anywhere.”
We learn from Biko that the missionaries were the ones who confused the African people with their brand of religion..Biko writes: “By some strange logic, they argued that theirs was a scientific religion and ours was mere superstition in spite of the biological discrepancies so obvious in the basis of their religion. They further went on to preach a theology of the existence of “Hell”, scaring our fathers and mothers with stories about burning in eternal flames and gnashing of teeth and grinding of bone. This cold religion was strange to us but our fore-fathers were sufficiently scared of the unknown impending anger to believe that it was worth a try. Down went our central values!”
Biko takes some time to make a point as to the nature and characteristic of Modern African Culture, as it functions as a culture within the realm of European culture, and as it holds its own ‘concepts’ of itself as an authentic culture. Although some European scholars and scholarship pontificate about about the fact that African culture is dead and non-existent, Bantu has this to say about all these issues: “Yet it is difficult to kill the African heritage and culture. There remains, in spite of the superficial cultural similarities between the ‘detribalized’ and the Westerner, a number of cultural characteristics that mark out the detribalized as an African. I am not here making a case for separation on the basis of cultural differences. I am sufficiently proud to believe that under a normal situation, Africans can comfortably stay with people of other cultures and be able to contribute to the joint cultures of these communities they have joined. However, what I want to illustrate here is that even in a pluralistic society like ours, there are still some cultural traits that we can boast of which have been able to withstand the process of the deliberate bastardization. These are aspects of the Modern African Culture – a culture that has also used concepts from the White world to expand on inherent cultural characters.”
Biko expands on these ‘inherent cultural characters’ in the following manner: “Thus we see that in the area of music, the African still expresses himself with conviction. The craze about jazz arises out of a conversion by the African Artists on mere notes to meaningful music, expressive of real feelings. The [monkey Jive, soul, Mbaqanga.Scathamiya, Mohobelo, etc], some are suing a fusion of either purely African music, are some aspects of a modern type African culture that expresses the same original feelings. Solos like Booker T and the MGs, soul stars of the ’60s and 70s, a little Elvis Presley Pat Boone, Otis Redding, Brook Benton, James Brown, etc., all of them find expression within the African culture because it is not in us to listen passively to pure musical notes. Yet when soul struck with its all-engulfing rhythm, it immediately caught on and set hundreds of millions of black bodies in gyration throughout the world,” ( the same goes for Kwaito and Rap Music, today in South Africa – my insertion). These were people reading in soul the real meaning – the defiant “Say It Loud! I’m Black and I’m proud!” this was fast becoming our modern culture. A culture of defiance, self-assertion and group pride and solidarity. This is a culture that emanates from a situation of common experience of oppression. Just as it now finds expression in our music and our dress(see photo gallery), it will spread to other aspects This is the new and modern Black culture, to which Africans have given a major contribution; this is the modern Black culture that is responsible for the restoration of their faith in themselves and therefore offers a hope in the direction Africans in South Africa are taking from here.
The concept of a of modern African South African culture is at the heart of this Hub. What I am saying here is that it has been too long , as has been tabulated above, that Africans have been told that they are non-persons. But, as far as this Hub is concerned that is not true, and was never the right perception and the reality of the culture of Africans as has been pointed out, that African culture does not exist and died a long time ago. No, it is not dead and has never died. If one were to look at the Photo Gallery pictures, those that show the 10(ten) peoples or different groups that make the Nguni/Bakone Nation in South Africa, this Hub introduces the reality and fact that, if one were to look at the dresses, dances, Languages, initiation pageants, cultural festive performances, arts and crafts, houses and housing decorations, beads, different colors and the unity displayed throughout all of the material culture of Africans, events and performances, care and comfort, also entertainment of the tourists, visitors and the like are all greeted and welcomed to South Arica in the spirit of “Ubuntu” of the African people, can be seen as one united nations of Mzantsi: One or “Simunye”/”Re ngatana” (We are one People, community and society; everyone who reads through this hub will be enlightened and will be enabled to get a birds-eyeview of one nation of African people of South Africa – the Nguni/Bakone People-the 9(Nine) peoples.
South African Traditional Culture And Custom: Simunye: Re Ngatana – We are One
This Hub asserts that African South Africans have been under various forms of enslavement throughout their existence in South Africa. What I have attempted in the photo gallery is to present a small picture of the various clans or nations of South Africa, namely, the Zulus, Basotho, BaPedis, The Xhosas, The Batswana, Vendas or Tsongas, Shagaans, Swazis and Ndebele’s Khoi-San, dressed in the regal gabardine of their clans, and if one looks at them closely, one cannot fail to see and recognize one people as it concerns and relates to the way they wear and design their clothes; their dances, the type of drums they use; the music and singing[their musical styles can be heard on live365.com/stations/djtot12/]; their making of beads, arts and crafts, as pastoralists and settled communities, the architecture of their houses is similar,and so are their languages, customs, culture, traditions and practices. The photos are many, but the lesson is presented in such a way as to show the culture of the Africans of South Africa in its fulness[length, breadth and depth], beauty and dignity. If one were to casually read the short captions written by people who really do not know them on the Internet, one gets a disjointed picture of “TRiBES”. Indeed, where European and American scholars had argued that there were many different and disconnected cultures in South Africa. Diop talks about the varieties of African experiences that they “gravitate around a single matrilineal center like some massive magnet pulling the pieces together into one coherent whole.” His argument unfolds on the basis of linguistic, philosophical, and cultural evidence. Whereas, his cohort, Theophile Obenga and other African scholars have already used a “macro” approach to African history, and that the assertions and arguments and ideas are political or not have been considered political minimized the impressive scientific work accomplished by both scholars. But the debate over the nature of the scientific evidence is often reduced to an argument over the political nature of science itself. Of course, Diop and Obenga would object, as other scholars have done, to the “micro” studies that tend to view African societies or civilizations as dis-embodied,disconnected, isolated, discreet, and detached entities with no organic relationship to any other societies or civilizations. T he two gentlemen above encourage most African scholars to examine phenomena with all of the instruments at their disposal. This might mean linguistic, anthropological, historical, ceremonial, oral tradition or mythic evidences and so forth Diop debunks the established perspective that Africans are tribe because their being to referred as “tribes”, meant that they stopped developing, and that these cultures are different and not related to one another in any way whatsoever. So that, from the get go, this hub rejects the usage of the world “Tribe” as it is applied to describe the national entities that form the Nguni/Bakone people. I will only use the term, “tribe” whenever I am citing from someone who uses it, but will put it in quotations marks. Otherwise, I will interchange the names between clan , but preferably nations will be used more consistently..
The Crisis of Tradition and Identity
In the latter half of the Twentieth century, most African societies were struggling to resolve conflicts between the forces of tradition and change(foisted upon them by Colonization). In contrast to Westerners who found their societies mercilessly ravaged by the Industrial Revolution a few generations earlier, contemporary Africans are now more self-aware and conscious of the revolution restructuring their lives. Defining ways of life that will unite the technologies and material advantages of the present age with the precious heritage of African cultures is an urgent problem, perhaps the most urgent of all is in contemporary Africa. Both rapidly growing metropolitan centers and rural African villages teemed with anticipation and excitement about the future. But there was also a desire to preserve esteemed traditions. Most Africans were witnessing in their own lifetime a revolution of society and culture whose proportions were potentially Copernican; and the specter of such radical change produced its own antithesis, an intense struggle for [historical/cultutral] continuity in the midst of change. T his dialectical tension between [historical/cultural] continuity and transformation, this concern for assimilating the best of an emerging world culture without without in turn being assimilated by it – in short, this juxtaposition of how deeply felt but partially compatible desires – was the dynamic of social change in contemporary Africa. This will help us clarify as to why this Hub is so long, and why the information applied herein is important as it stands, because the time and nature of the imposed assimilation on Africans has been going on in South Africa close to four centuries- so that what will be needed is an in-depth historical and cultural accounting. When this Hub is published, its aims were to cover every culture and of South African Africans, it will still be elongated in the future giving other well researched cultures, custom, traditions, languages of those of the 10(ten) peoples not included herein, as of yet.
Urbanization has also transformed many African societies. Throughout the continent, men have migrated to cities in search of employment, motivated in part by the centripetal pull of urban life and in part by the need for cash to send back home to the villages. In the villages, the men’s absence created dislocations, modifying patterns of societal organization, and requiring redefinitions of moral codes and adjustment to culture, customs, traditions, languages and practices. For the men themselves, employment and urban life required the playing of roles that exacerbated alienation from traditional values . Even as unskilled laborers participating marginally in the affairs of the city, they acquired new conceptions of time, of work, of social relations with colleagues and kinsmen, and much more. Since the migrations are are temporary or seasonal, the return of workers to rural communities became an additional force for change.They brought along with the them ways and mores of city life back to their villages, thus effecting permanent change to the way of life(culture, traditions, etc.), within their respective communities, and changed them forever. When families followed the men to the cities, the scope of Africa’s social and psychological revolution expanded even further, and we begin to see and admixture of rural African cultural.traditional, linguistic and cultural modal and lifestyle, superseded by the European Western Cultures, thus we have what we all an “urbanized African South African”Creating a”twon-ness” that has been discussed within this Hub.
The forces for change are everywhere much the same, but their impact on individuals varies considerably. For some, the erosion of traditional life portends an optimistic future. Freed from the constraints of tradition and orientated toward a different world(the Western form), that the members of this vanguard(Africans pro Western civilization) welcomes the opportunity for new political and cultural destinies. To others(African cultural conservatives), however the possibility of change is fearful. Almost instinctively, these individuals realize that the experience they have acquired over a life time will count for little should the time-honored ways of life disappear. Backed by their conservatism, many of the traditional societies are putting up a determined and extraordinary fight for survival. Attachments to the old orders are strong(as can be seen on the picture gallery, where-in I show-off the traditional, cultural, customary, dress, arts and crafts of the different nine to ten groups of the south African nations), and that of Mapungubwe, that in the final analysis, even highly acculturated individuals are often ambivalent about new values which threaten to displace ancient and venerable traditions. This point is a common lore in the discourse of Africans about the way those Africans who extol the virtues of Western superiority, but clandestinely steal away and find their way to the respectable cultures, traditions, languages and the whole bit.
We pick up a more cogent and succinct explanation of African culture in its entirety from Cheik Ana Diop who writes: ” The historical factor is the cultural cement that unifies the disparate elements of a people to make them a whole, by the particular slant of the feeling of historical continuity lived by the totality of the collective . It is the historical conscience thus engendered that allows a people to distinguish itself from a population, whose elements, by definition, are foreign, one from the other: the population of a large city market is composed of foreign tourists who come from the five continents and who do not have any cultural bond with each other. The historical conscience, through the feeling of cohesion that it creates, constitutes the safest and the most solid shield of cultural security for a people. This is why every people seeks only to know and to live their true history well, to transmit its memory to their descendants. T he essential thing, for people, is to rediscover the thread that connects them to their most remote ancestral past. In the face of cultural aggression of all sorts, in the face of all disintegrating factors of the outside world, the most efficient cultural weapon with which a people can arm itself is this feeling of historical continuity. This erasing, the destruction of the historical conscience also has been since time began part of the techniques of colonization, enslavement, and debasement of the African peoples. The passage below by M. Peyronnet, cited by Georges Hardy, is proof of this:
“There is a subject I would like see disappearing without regret [from the program of our African schools] declares M. Peyronnet , senator from Allier, in a recent article in the Annales Coloniales : it is History. A few reading during the French course would be enough to give them the notion of our country’s power… There is an even simpler way to give a clear idea of our strength to the native youth, which is to decorate the classroom with the intertwined manigolos and to set a miniature 75mm cannon on the teacher’s desk. This, by itself, in some measure and for a given period of time, can replace history; but one should not forget that people very quickly get used to scarecrows: the sparrows end up making their nests in the pockets of the gentlemen who gesticulate in the cherry trees.” Diop Adds: “It is these possibilities of cultural aggression, linked to the vital importance of this subject matter, that have led the developing nations coming out of the colonial night, such as South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, etc., to make the teaching of history a national activity. In any case, the teaching of this material must particularly hold attention of the state.(Diop) In present-day South Africa, this is not the case.
Social and cultural transformation, because all aspects of a system do not change in synchronicity, produces dislocations and conflicts. Individuals who live in the midst of change must develop ways to cope with the inevitable conflicts if their lives are not to be consumed and destroyed by the change process. A common way of dealing with such conflicts is maintaining a stance of compartmentalizing one’s thoughts and actions. Keeping each thing in its proper place, and not trying to resolve all the conflicts, is proving to be a successful modus vivendi for many Africans in adapting to the contemporary world, a mode which works reasonably well when connections among the many spheres in which individuals operate are maintained and when movemement among them is possible.The breaking down of African culture above was not completed, and the present fledgling culture has the promise of a new and better future, anchored on the pillars of the past culture, which barely exist, but though barely fully functional,needs to be heeded and utilized by Africans.
Sociocultural changes raise inevitable questions about traditional identities and their relevance in altered environments, and, in many parts of the African continent, uniformities in the patterns can be discerned. This is one of the main thrusts of this Hub, although its focus is mainly within the South African African cultural/traditional, historical and linguistic orb, it also gives a thumb-nail sketch of other aspects of African reality and survival a deeper look. Traditional religions of small scale are giving way to membership of Christian and Islamic sects, which in turn become new bases of loyalty which crosscut traditional ethnic, language, and even national boundaries, and in most cases to the detriment of Africans themselves. The once relatively standardized cultural and traditional life cycles of many African societies are giving way to a myriad of new careers-foisted upon them by western civilization and its concomitant, accessories and condiments, for which both share only a few similarities with one another. Migration to urban areas, even if only for short periods of time, has itself made Africans more aware of the cultural differences and sameness among themselves, along with many similarities and commonness embedded within their variegated cultures. But a new and free South African should be able to learn from his/her culture that these differences and similarities are but a matter of the ‘degree’ not difference, but sameness, i.e., in relation to their culture-they are one folk. For individuals and for societies, such changes often precipitates crises of identity. This is the perplexing existential and precarious methods of coping that is a conundrum and causes of social dysfunction for the African peoples of South Africa today.
Clarifying the Cultural Material Cement
The Historical Prognosis
Diop writes: “For every individual his or her own cultural identity is a function of that of his or her people. Consequently, one must define the cultural identity of a people. This means, to a great extent, one must analyze the components of the collective personality. The historical factor is the cultural cement that unifies disparate elements of a people to make them into a whole, by particular slant of the feeling of historical continuity lived by the totality of the collective.” For Africans to understand and rebuild and redefine their culture, Africans in South Africa need to study and understand the cultural material that is presented to them and are presently faced with in the post-neo colonial period. They should not only look at what’s left of their past, but what does their left-over material culture has to offer and teach them about the themselves and their future, so long as they pay attention to the remnants of cultural indicators and the cultural material holistically, and as an aggregate, look at it in its entirety and present total historical/cultural manifestations, and what it does have to offer its charges as they deal with the future, in the 21st century.
Diop point out that: “It is the historical conscience thus engendered that allows a people to distinguish itself from a population, whose elements, by definition, are foreign, one from the other: the population of a large city market is composed of foreign tourists who come from five continents and who do not have any cultural bond with each other. This historical conscience, through the feeling of cohesion that it creates, constitutes the safest and the most solid shield of cultural security for a people. This is why every people seeks not to know and to live their true history, [culture and traditions] well, and be able to transmit its memory to their descendants. The essential thing for people is to rediscover the threads that connects them to their most remote ancestral past.” This can be seen by all these Africans in South Africa who will look into the pictures in the picture gallery to help them realize the point just made by Diop. Also, to learn from such Hubs how coalesce around their own history/culture and make it work for them
“In the face of cultural aggression of all sorts, in the face of all disintegrating factors of the outside world, the most efficient cultural weapon with which a people can arm itself is this feeling of historical continuity”, as Diop averred. The erasing and the destruction of the historical and cultural conscience also has been in existence since time began and was part of the technique of colonization, enslavement, and debasement of a people.
A second level, more general, further off in time and space and including the totality of African people, comprises the general history of Black Africa, insofar as research permits, restoring it today from a purely scientific approach will not be an easy task until information such as this one in this Hub can reach the vast majorities of South Africa and Africa, including the Western world, effectively and concretely: each history of the different clans of the 10(ten) peoples is thus pinpointed and correctly situated in relation to general historical coordinates within this Hub for the benefit of Africans and Westerners in the same manner. Thus, all the continent’s history is reevaluated according to a new unitary standard suited to revive and to cement, on the basis of established fact, all of the inert elements of the ancient historical mosaic.
Montesquieu wrote that: “As long as a conquered people has not lost its language, it can have hope because those languages are the unique common denominator of African history, and that they are characteristic of cultural identity par excellence. Some people say that Africa is a Tower of Babel, but this is not different from Europe which has 360 languages and dialects. Diop says that everyone knows that this superficial heterogeneity in Europe hides a kinship. Diop adds: “If we speak today of a European linguistic unity, it is only at this profound level, released and restored to science by linguistic archeology. Otherwise the French, the English, the Germans, the Italians, the Rumanians,the Lithuanians, the Russians, etc., do not understand each other any more than the Zulus, Tswanas, Sothos, Pedis, Xhosas, Ndebelels, Shangaaans, Vendas/Tsongas, Wolof, The Bambara, the Hausa, etc., do. It is therefore a necessity that a duly conducted African linguistic research bring African people to experience deeply their linguistic unity, in the same way as Europeans have, in spite of the apparent superficial heterogeneity. The result obtained already allow us to undertake the cultural education of the African consciousness in that sense.”
Africans would quickly discover, to their great surprise, that it is a typically Negro African language that has been the oldest written language in history of humanity. It began 5,300 years ago, in Egypt; Whereas the most ancient testimony to an Indo-European language (Hittite) goes back to the XVIIth Egyptian Dynasty(1470 B.C.), and this, probably under the influence of the political cultural domination of Asia Minor by Egypt. But this would take us too far. Let us only say that, all of a sudden, African linguistic research offers breathtaking possibilities to comparative linguistics and is about to reverse the traditional roles in this field. Be that as it may, it is through the study of the Egypto-Nubian languages that the historical dimension, up to now missing, is introduced in African Studies; the comparison that derives from it allows, with each passing day, reinforcement of the feeling of linguistic unity of the Africans, therefore the feeling of cultural identity and unity. The review of the historical and linguistic factors as constituent elements of cultural personality brings to light the necessity for a total recasting of the African program of education in the field discussed herein. and for a radical centering of these on Egypto-Nubia antiquity[including historical and cultural past of Mapungubwe-in the case of South Africa, in the same way that the Western educational system has its foundation in the Greco-Latin antiquity: there is no [other]way more certain, more radical, more scientific, more sane and salutary to reinforce the African cultural personality and, consequently, the cultural identity of Africans.” (Diop) Africans in South Africa should pay attention to the fact that since they still retain their nine languages, as we center and suture them around the Egyptian linguistic history, they should also learn how to link and fuse them into one “Nguni Dialect” by interfusing and transplanting important and historical linguistic utterances of the 9- Nine) groups into one whole continuous robust linguistic unity. These 9 (Nine) language have common words found in each language and these can be used into forming a unified language for the purposes of linguistic continual cultural unity. I have written a sequel to this Hub and called it “History, Culture, Custom, Traditions and practices of the Africans of south Africa: deconstructing Historical Amnesia” wherein I go into an in-depth look at the language and literature of Africans in south Africa in a much more expanded form.
Psychological and Cultural Invariants
T he Egyptian civilization, with its grandiose art, entirely due to a Black(African) people, because we only want to stress the fact that the intellectual and psychological climate created by all the writings of this type strongly conditioned the first definitions that the African thinkers of the period between the two World Wars, had tried to give to their culture. But today, in order to better grasp people’s cultural identity, a scientific approach to the psychic factor can equally be tried. For this, in the context of a socio-historical approach, one should try to answer the following questions: What are the psychological and cultural invariants that political and social revolutions, even the most radical ones, leave intact, not only among the people, but among the very leaders of the revolution? If one tries to answer such a question from the analysis of the historical conditioning of a given people and of the African peoples in general, one then already arrives at some results relatively better elaborated than before. One realizes that this communicative gaiety, which goes back to the Galen’s epoch, instead of being a permanent trait due soclety to the sun, is a result of the reassuring communally securing social structures that bog down our people in the present and in a lack of concern for tomorrow, in optimism, etc.; whereas individualistic social structures of the Indo-Europeans engender anxiety, pessimism, uncertainty about tomorrow, moral solitude, tension regarding that future, and all its beneficial effects on the material life, etc. Today, with the explosion everywhere in the world of these structures inherited from the past, we are witnessing a new moral and spiritual birth among peoples: a new African moral consciousness and a new national temperament are developing before our eyes, and unless the structures resist – and how could they? – this phenomenon of spiritual transformation of the people will become greater. The cultural on invariants we are talking about here are that the historical and linguistic factors constitute coordinates, quasi absolute reference points in relation to the permanent flux of psychic changes. In a worked, approaching national building through recognition of their cultures, Africans stand a better chances of shaping, sharing and reformulating their futures. This, as has been observed above, can be found in the sequel to this Hub that I have already pointed out to above.
The Deep and Excruciating Psychological Hurt
Recycling Apartheid: Western Civilization/Religion Negating African Culture
Biko writes: “The logic behind White domination is to prepare the Black man for the subservient role in this country. Not so long ago this used to freely said in parliament even about the educational system of the Black people, by the apartheid oppressors. It is still said even today, although in a much more sophisticated language. To a large extent the evil-doers have succeeded in producing at the output end of the machine a kind of Black man who is man only in form. But the type of Black man we have today has lost his manhood. Reduced to an obliging shell, he looks with awe at White power structure and accepts what he regards as the “inevitable position”. Deep inside his anger mounts at the accumulating insult, but he vents it in the wrong direction on his fellow man in the township, on the property of Black people…In the privacy of his toilet his face twists in silent condemnation of White society but brightens up in sheepish obedience as he comes out hurrying in response to his master’s impatient call. In the home-bound bus, taxi or train he joins the chorus that roundly condemns the White man but is first to praise the government in the presence of the police or his employers. His heart yearns for the comfort of White society and makes him blame himself for not having been “educated” enough to warrant such luxury. Celebrated achievements by Whites in the field of science – which he understands only hazily – serve to make him rather convinced of the futility of resistance and to throw away any hopes that change may ever come. All in all, the Black man has become a shell, a shadow of man, completely defeated, drowning in his own misery, a slave, an ox bearing the yoke of oppression with sheepish timidity..This is the extent to which the process of dehumanization has advanced.” It is as if Bantu is talking about the present-day Africans of South Africa and the condition, state and existence they find themselves mired-in.
Bantu continues to add: “This is the first truth, bitter as it may seem, that we have to acknowledge before we can start on any program designed to change the status quo. It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realize that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality. The first step therefore is to make the Black man come to himself; to pump back life into his empty sell; to infuse him with pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth. This is what we mean by an Inward-Looking process. This is the Definition of “Black Consciousness. One writer makes the point that in an effort to destroy completely the structures that had been built in the African society and to impose their imperialism with an unnerving totality the colonialists were not satisfied merely with holding a people in their grip and emptying the Native’s brain of all form and content, they turned to the past of the oppressed people and distorted, disfigured and destroyed it. No longer was reference made to African culture , it became barbarism. Africa was the “Dark Continent” and religious practices, customs and practices were referred to as ‘superstition’. The history of African Society was reduced to ‘tribal’ battles and internecine wars. There was no conscious migration by the people from one place of abode to another. No, it was always flight from one tyrant who wanted to defeat the tribe’ not for any positive reason, but merely to wipe them out of the face of tis earth. No wonder the African child learns to hate his heritage in his days at school. So negative is the image presented to him that he tends to find solace in close identification with White society…A People without a positive history[and culture], is like a vehicle without an engine [or a body without a soul- my addition]. Their emotions cannot be easily controlled and channelled in a recognizable direction. They always live in the shadow of a more successful society. Hence in a country like ours, they are forced to celebrate holidays like “Paul Kruger’s Day, “Heroes’ day, Republic day, etc., -all of which are ocssions during which the humiliation defeat is at once revived.” Africans are still forced to pay obeisance to their oppression by the present ANC-led government.
What we see today in South Africa has long been planted and well orchestrated. From the era of Bantu Education(which now seems better than the education of Africans in South Africa); to what I was just talking about in the paragraph prior, the so-called-model-C schools -and some mumbo jumbo Education blueprint and system today, both of which miseducate and confuse African children, are what has been displaced with exuberance by the Educational leaders, which ends up making people confused and ignorant. When Apartheid set up Bantu Education, they were working towards ensuring that the African children remain left behind in comparison to their white counterparts; today, in looking at the African education, both in the townships and in the ‘Model C’ schools, its products and those of Bantu Education formats on steroids; the former are completely assimilated, and the latter were driven by a high level of political and social consciousness. African children, today, have a disdain for their African languages and culture, and they also have a penchant for the English language and culture, that in the long run, they have become a disruptive presence within their households and communities. Parents are decrying the loss and lack of “Inhlonipho”/”Thlompho”-”Hlompho” (Respect) which the mostly ‘Model C’ display with their sheer arrogance and dismissive attitudes that ‘now’ is their time’ mantra, that the past was for those who lived it-and highly dismissive of the protocols of their African culture. In other words, what they see as ‘freedom’, ‘democracy, ‘dead Apartheid’(‘which, they ignorantly claim they have never experienced nor ‘know-about”, and are ‘psyched-out’ by international Television, new and ever-changing emerging technologies, that they arrogantly gloat and act like their parents are the backwards people who do not even understand “White Culture”, because these children trumpet the fact that they are attending the best white schools in the country, therefore they are better than their African cohorts(in the Townships and their parents and relatives).
Reading Bantu’s heavily quoted excerpt above , is like he was talking about South Africa today. What he talked about when he was writing in Frank Talk, is not only relevant today, but it really speaks to the confused and ahistorical Youth of South Africa about the things that they are doing today, believing and touting their present reality as if it’s the first time that this has happened in South Africa for Africans. What they are doing, they do not read Steven Bantu’s Work, Mda, Robert Sobukwe’s works in order to be able to supplement their becoming educated in present-day South Africa in an informed and positive historical and cultural perspective; and, also, and why it is that they are fighting with their elders, culture, customs and being African- com to understand why, in historical terms, they are acting the way they do now, they cannot fathom the nor wrap their heads as to why there is this continuous conflict with their own people.
One thing that has been noted above is the fact that one of the important cultural pillars that Africans have been able to retain, was their languages. According to this notion, since African people were able to retain their culture by speaking and sticking to their language, and that this shows that the colonization of African was never complete nor successful, on that part of the European colonizers, and that, their history is deeply embedded within their mother tongues, if they could only understand this fact,they could use the language to upgrade their history. African children today in South Africa converse in English, and most of them cannot spell nor write it cogently; neither are they intellectually functional to deal with their own history, culture, customs, traditions, languages and practices. They are also finding it tough to speak and converse in their mother tongue.
Yet, the reality remains hidden in plain sight. Africans in South Africa are still lagging behind in all areas. Little or nothing has changed much for them. One of the major obstacles faced by Africans today in South Africa are the proliferating different types of religious beliefs and institution. These have created a chasm amongst Africans, and many are confused as to what is happening to themselves spiritually as a society. Many are driven by desperation and poverty into some of these churches. There are many other reasons as to why many Africans are being fleeced, gauged and gypped by these “Fly-byNight” instant and mushrooming churches. To better understand these religious shenanigans, we will refer to Bantu Biko who has written a little bit on this subject. Biko writes: “What of the White man’s religion – Christianity? It seems the people involved in imparting Christianity to the Black people steadfastly refuse to get rid of the rotten foundation which many of the missionaries created when they came. To this day, Black people find no message for them in the Bible simply because our ministers are still too busy with moral trivialities. They blow these up as the most important things that Jesus had to say to people. They constantly urge the people to find fault in themselves and by so doing detract from the essence of the struggle in which the people are involved. Deprived of spiritual content, the Black people read the bible with gullibility that is shocking. While they sing in a chorus of “mea culpa” they are joined by White groups who sing a different version – ” tua culpa”. The anachronism of a well-meaning God who allows people to suffer continually under an obviously immoral system is not lost to young Blacks who continue to drop out of church by the hundreds[if not by the thousands and millions, [today too- my addition]. Too many different types of people and races are involved in religion for the Blacks to ignore. Obviously, the only path open for them now is to redefine the message in the Bible and to make it relevant to the struggles of the masses. The Bible must not be seen to preach that all authority is divinely instituted. It must rather preach that it is a sin to allow oneself to be oppressed. The bible must continually be shown to have done something to the Black man to keep him going in his long journey towards realization of the self. ” Further, according to Biko: “Blacks must be freed from spiritual poverty. What must be demonstrated for Black people is the absurdity of the assumption by Whites that “ancestor worship” was necessarily a superstition and that Christianity is a scientific religion. Also, they should be made aware that Christianity is an adaptable religion that fits in with the cultural situation of the people to whom it is imparted(Blacks, their religion and culture). Sekou Toure was right when he said:
“To take part in the African revolution, it is not enough to write a revolutionary song; you must fashion the revolution with the people. And if you fashion it with the people. the songs will come by themselves and of themselves. In order to achieve real action you must yourself be a living part of Africa and her thought ; you must be an element of that popular energy which is entirely called forth for the freeing, the progress and happiness of Africa. There is no place outside that fight for the artist or for the intellectual who is not himself concerned with, and completely at one with the people in the great battle of Africa and of suffering humanity.” As long ones religion that not serve its adherents, then it is useless as a spiritual vehicle if it handcuffs the spirit and development of a people, as is in the case of the oppressed, repressed and depressed people of south Africa
As I have pointed out above when I commented about the “Model C”-trained African youth and thoseinstructed in the poor and shoddy pedagogy used in the townships, these children are not anchored nor moored in the culturalAfrican cultural moorings and positions best suited for them to be able to lead and control their destinies within the African community. The Africans have been treated with contempt to the extent that they were necessary to provide cheap labour, to aver Biko, and ‘they helped raised the standard and lifestyle of opulent living for white people, and in the process they were set up to fail in any endeavor they might attempt to undertake’. The rising, minority African bourgeoisie at this juncture, is perched on the horizon and rolling with the riches of the Gravy Train, looking inside from the outside at White Wealth, of which a few are let in, the rest remain aspirants and wanna-be millionaires, barely licking the enriched froth from the end-tables of their masters. But, as Sekou Toure advises that they(Africans-wannabe-White) should be in the innards of the struggle, with the people, and that at the present moment they are not with the people and are criminally and greedily helping themselves with all the wealth they can lay their paws onto, and meanwhile, starving and distancing their African people at each turn of any new day away from their scrapped crumbs. As noted in some of my articles, the ANC-led government did not start the June 16th 1976 revolution and all the struggles thereafter, which according to Fanon helps promote “auto-self destructive behavior”, which the present government is content in helping and encouraging to perpetuate. Our not understanding and acknowledging, respecting and improve our practice of African culture, customs, opens doors for the destruction of African South Africans. South African African custom, culture, and practices are one issue that needs to be narrated based on what remnants of it can culled from today’s African culture. This mind-set needs to be the ‘modus operandi’ of the ‘cultural warriors’ and political pugilists along with economical facilitators, working in tandem to not only put this culture back on world cultural map, but bring respect, glory and recognition of their culture and pride for all the world to seek, understand and acknowledge.
In order to enable Africans in South Africa to reclaim, control and own their culture, they need to see it as it is, and work with it from what they see and experience, which will afford them the opportunity to produce and perpetuate the culture/history that will then ooze from their re-working and re-establishing their Cultural mosaic in their own image. In order for us to understand the culture of the Nguni/Bakone peoples of South Africa(Mzantsi), we shall have to establish cultural, traditional, linguistic, customary and historical background. What must be paid attention to is the fact that social cultural issues and changes raise some inevitable questions about the traditional identities and their relevance in the presently altered environments in South Africa and in many parts of African continent, and whether these uniformities in the patterns of change can be discerned. Traditional religions of small scale have in this day and age given way to membership in Christian and Islamic sects, which in turn become new bases of loyalty which crosscut traditional , ethnic, language and even national boundaries of Africa and the Africans. This is clashing with the local African culture and mores and creating a lot of confusion and the future does not look bright for the Africans of South Africa in this sector.
Those African societies that were once relatively standardized in the life cycles of many African societies are giving way to a myriad of new cultures which share only a few similarities with one another. African people’s migration to urban areas, albeit for a a very short time, has itself made Africans more aware of the cultural differences among their lot. In the case of South Africa, and in this Hub in particular, I am showing that the differences between the different indigenous people’s clans/nations is not very significant and real, but it is a created fiction,and in essence, it is the same, unified but as groups with diverse but unified cultures, customs, traditions and practices with variation of the same cultural manifestations in all spheres of the same cultural customary tradition [see the pictures in the photo gallery].
We also need to pay attention to the reality that within any particular society, that the absolutes and givens of yesterday are today’s variables. Our differentness is our wholesomeness; what has been seen as different cultures is instead the one big culture with greatness and a varying nature and variegated diversity of the culture of African people, which up to the point of this discussion, in this Hub, has been discussed as to how its detractors have presented it in an ill-defined characterization, especially concerning the African people’s culture: that they have gone up to the point of casting it as being separate, and ‘not the same’, ‘not related’, and lastly, perpetually “tribal”, and this is trumpeted by all those who know nothing about it.
The intention of creating this research is to begin to turn the dialogue around on the behalf of Africans in South Africa, and provide if not furnish them with building blocks in their learning about their history and culture, and how to talk and view, fully appreciate and promote their culture without apologizing to anyone, anywhere. Instead, they should be able to elaborate it in its magnificence and send other people to the Hub above in order to begin the process of allowing other people to understand their culture, and for their culture to morph with the present changing world, but still preserve and promote/perpetuate its essential, vital and well grounded elements, aspects and core customary traditional and practical values in fashioning a South Africa in their African image and reality-from their own African perspective and experience.
Ways Of Learning African South African Culture
Wilson writes: “Under certain social-economic circumstances, cultural identity can become an instrument for the expression of power of the predominant cultural system which molded it, and may also become the instrument used by the dominant culture and its members to further its survival and enhance its empowerment. Black cultural identity, even in its stratified and diffused state, even on the individual level, is a political economy or essentially an organization of lacks, deficiencies, interests, needs, desires, passions tastes, ideals, motives, values, etc., the response to which on the part of Blacks helps to maintain or enhance the social power relations, prerogatives, and integrity of the White dominated racial status quo.The salvation, empowerment and liberation of African peoples require an appropriate, thorough, pragmatic cultural analysis of the deculturation and reculturation of ourselves by dominant European peoples, of reactionary “Black culture,” and their social products as represented by reactionary Black identities. We must analyze how these identities, whether considered prosocial or antisocial, function to maintain the oppressive power of Whites and the subordinate powerlessness of black. Our salvation requires that we perceive White supremacy as the major social, political, and spiritual problem to be resolved by African peoples, and that we ask and answer definitively the questions: What kind of a culture must we construct in order to overthrow White supremacy? What kinds of social identities, relations, arrangements, alignments, institutions, values, etc., which when actualized, will allow us to attain and protect our liberty?; enhance our quality of life? what kinds of socialization practices must we institute in order to empower ourselves to become the kinds of people we must become if we are to secure our right to be free? Certainly, the answers lie in the direction of the reclamation of our African identity and the reconstitution of our African-centered consciousness supported by commensurate African-centered cultural, social, political and economic values, institutions and relations. It is very important to keep in mind that a culture is to a significant extent a historical product, a social product; a culture is socially manufactured, the handiwork of both deliberate and coincidental human social collusions and interactions A culture also manufactures social products, and some of the most important social products it generates include its own cultural identity, and the social and personal identities of its constituent group and individual members.” Africans must confidently build and recreate their own culture from the remnants of the culture that they have today. This Hub is a motivation for such actions that need to be carried out by Africans of South Africa to begin to rebuild their people who are steeped in dysfunction and confusion.
Putting The Concept and Meaning of Culture Much More Clearly
Wilson continues to inform us about culture and what it actual is and means. It is important that at this juncture Africans in South Africa pay closer attention to Wilson’s instructive points bout what they should know and understand is culture. “What is culture? Horton and Hunt provide a workable answer to this question,” Wilson cites: “From their life experiences, a group develops a set of rules and procedures for meeting their needs. The set of rules and procedures, together with a supporting set of ideas and values, is called culture.” Anthropologist Clyde Kluckhon has defined culture as all the “historically created designs for living, explicit and implicit, rational, irrational and non-rational which may exist at any given time as potential guides for the behavior of man. As a set of designs for guiding the behavior of its members, i.e., a set of guidelines for directing and regulating the behavior of its members, and a culture provides standards of proper cognitive, emotional and behavioral conduct; a set of proverbial precepts as to what reality is, and an accompanying set of rationalizations or ostensible explanations for its nature and purpose. Thus, culture, though a product of the actual lived experience of a people – the primal source of much of their daily personal and social activities, their forms of labor and its products, their celebratory and ceremonial traditions, modes of dress, art and music, language and articulatory style, appetites and desires – is essentially ideological in nature as it is on shared beliefs, customs, expectations, and values. Culture constructs definitions, meanings and purposes, these cultural constructs are used to proactively and reactively mold the mind, body, spirit and behavior of the constituent members of a culture. These active constructs become the cultural and social heritage of the members of a particular culture. Hence, culture does not exist outside and independent of its human subjects. Culture is represented symbolically and operationally in the minds and characteristically mental/behavioral orientations or styles of its members, and is incarnated in the customary ways they move and use their bodies [also the clothes they wear and the dances the do, the songs they sing and the instruments they use, along with the languages they speak - my addition]. that in the final analysis the culture is represented “in” the minds and bodies of its members, and expresses itself through the systematic ways they attend, experience, categorize, classify, order, judge, evaluate,explain and interact with their world. Mentally, culture involves the socially shared and customary ways of thinking, a way of encoding, perceiving, experiencing, ordering, processing, communicating and of behaviorally expressing information which distinguishes one cultural group from another. All these activities are dedicated to the end of adapting the culture to the consistent and changing demands of its physical and social environment and reciprocally adapting the environment to the demands of the culture.” What Africans need to do as the definition of culture is explained above, they need to plug in what culture, tradition, customs, languages and practices that are now still evident, and they might see something different, new but still the same old culture, just that it is being upgraded into the technological Age and societies of the world.
Wilson further adds: ” Socially, culture patterns the ways its members perceive each, relate to and interact with each other. It facilitates the ways they create, develop,organize, institutionalize, and behaviorally apply their human potential in order to adapt to the conditions under which they live so as to satisfy their psychological, social and survival needs. To the degree that the shared beliefs and behavioral orientations of the members of a culture are consensually consistent, reasonably rational and realistic, are effectively and consistently socialized and reinforced, the culture is characterized by coherence, somewhat low levels of internal conflicts and contradictions, relatively smooth, automatic, coordinated operation, and thereby effectively functional in the interests of its members.” And this culture, if revamped in the manner Wilson points out to, will uplift Africans as a nation.
The culture of Africans in South Africans has all these points that Wilson is making above to make the definition clearer, cohesive and much more cogent, to be upgraded in a disciplined manner. These social interactions and communal ways are still being practiced today in South Africa amongst Africans, and as the picture gallery attests, it is the same culture with many variations, and yet not losing its core and traditional, customary and uniquely South African; colorful and a lot of dancing and cultural wares that, if one were to look at it much more closely, is the same, albeit its variations. Why I quoted at length from Wilson and from Bantu is because there has been so much written about South African culture that it is imperative that I delved much more into the writing of those, who, in their writing, will impart information clarifying certain issues, like cultural identity, as to what is that Africans should know and do to advance their society’s culture and what are its components and building blocks that Africans need to learn, know, see, experience, understand and be enabled to change by their own culture as to where it fits in their lives and in the whole scheme of human existence and endeavors.
Those who colonized and enslaved Africans have worked assiduously hard to deny Africans their humanity and languages, customs, traditions and practices of their culture. By talking about culture within these two Hubs’ content, I am hoping to help raise and revive the trampled culture of a people from the grave yard of history, after being in the doldrums of real colonial historical timeline, creating a society that has been made dysfunctional in its form and existence for the present African people of South Africa. It is therefore my contention that the culture of Africans in South Africa is alive and well, and what needs to be done is to put it in a national perspective, South African cultural, customary, traditional and linguistic content and context, resuscitating it in the process., i.e.,this culture, in its manifestations shows that it is unitary, uniform same and united, although varied-giving it a sense of variety ,and that there is no difference but commonness/sameness about the culture as we look closely at the photo in the picture gallery.
What I am attempting to do in this Hub is to uplift the African nations in South Africa, as a ‘Nation’, with its many variations and it being lived, experienced and passed from one generation to another, and mainly controlled and disseminated., culturally, customarily, traditionally, linguistically, historically and in its practices. if this preoccupation is not made a national past time by the people of African descent in South africa, the hope of reconstructing their nation within these contexts, diminishes, and that, by looking and seeing this culture as a culture that belongs to and practiced by the African Nation in South Africa, as a social duty, for those present and still in the future, will have to be the task overtaken by all Africans of South Africans and hope to achieve national cohesion. It is at this point, again, that we defer to Bantu who will lays out the blue-print towards solving this conundrum.
The Innards of African Culture in Mzantsi(South Africa)
The cultures, traditions, languages and customs of African people in South Africa are not dead, nor was it ever wiped off the face of the earth.They are still alive and well and the people are experiencing a cultural renaissance, albeit slow in catching up, it is nonetheless on the rise. Because we are talking about the presently ascending African culture in South Africa, we need to broach the subject and get a cultural and customary historical foundation and clarification as to how the Culture of Africans worked in the past and is still working-like today. There still a lot of Boers and other White(irrelevant scholars) who are still insisting that Africans are made of “tribes”, are different and will never be one nation. This is a false assumption and argument because it’s intended to divide and conquer Africans, which has been the ‘modus operandi’ of the Europeans and Boers who have been domineering the indigenous local African people. When one looks at the picture gallery, it is evident that the culture of Africans is one big national culture. Even Europe, has one big culture for in their individual countries, and they are not uniform or monolithic, inasmuch as they are variations as they manifest themselves as European cultures. No one calls the different clans/nations in Europe ‘tribes’, and their ‘kings’ are not ‘chiefs’ and so forth. Semantics are used against Africans to show their culture as backwards, unscientific, diminutive and in fact, lost and nonexistent today. These spurious arguments made against a culture , not hidden in plain sight, but existing in plain sight, creates a need for a corrective cultural history to be re-written on behalf of African people who are so poor that they cannot, en-masse, obtain computers, let alone pay for the exorbitant fees that are charged for the Internet in their poverty stricken dysfunctional state of existence: coping in an insane society. Later on in the hub we will address the thrust of this, which is to make and create a sane society. As for now, we will cull a bit of Bantu’s Some African Cultural Concepts Sub-chapter, wherein he lays down a much more simpler, cogent, coherent and straight to the point cultural history of the Nguni/Bakone peoples of South Africa.
The Sane Culture of Africans in South Africa
African Traditional Culture
The Africans of South Africa lost their cultural orientations, environmental familiarity and their own surroundings due to the Anglo Boer belligerent culture and military mights and murderous warfare campaigns against the indigenous populations of south Africa. it is at this point where we read Bantu writing as follows:
“One of the most difficult things to do these days is to talk with authority on anything to do with African culture. Somehow Africans are not expected to have any deep understanding of their own culture or even of themselves. Other people have become authorities on all aspects of the African life or be more accurate on “BANTU” life. Thus we have the thickest volumes on some of the strangest subjects – even “the feeding habits of the urban Africans” a publication by a fairly “liberal” group, Institute of Race Relations. [Therefore,] in taking a look at cultural aspects of the African people, one invariably finds himself having to compare. This is primarily because of the contempt that the “superior”(Anglo/Boer) culture shows towards the indigenous culture. To justify its exploitative basis the Anglo-Boer culture has at all times been directed at bestowing an inferior status to all cultural aspects of the indigenous people. In other words, African peoples future propelled by their culture was set up to fail, no matter what Africans may try to do in regards to uplifting themselves and their culture in the future”(21st century ad infinitum…)
In his own words Biko further informs us that: “I am against the belief that African culture is time-bound, the notion that with the conquest of the African all his culture was obliterated. I am also against against the belief that when one talks of African culture one is necessarily talking of the pre-Van Riebeeck culture. Obviously, the African culture has had to sustain severe blows and may have been battered nearly out of shape by the belligerent cultures it collided with, yet, in essence, even today, one can easily find the fundamental aspects of the pure African culture in the present-day African. One of the most fundamental aspects of our culture is the most importance we attach to Man(Umuntu/Motho, or if you like, Human Being). Ours has always been a Man-centered society. Westerners have in many occasions been surprised at the capacity we have for talking to each other – not for the sake of arriving at a particular conclusion but merely to enjoy the communication for its own sake. Intimacy is a term not exclusive for particular friends but applying to a whole group of people who find themselves together either through work or through residential requirements,” [ I have partly spoken about this above when citing Wilson on African Culture and in addressing the concept of "Ubuntu" several paragraphs above - my addition]. In fact,” Biko continues, “in the traditional African Culture, there is no such thing as two friends. Conversation groups were more or less naturally determined by age and division of labor. Thus one would find all boys whose job was to look after cattle periodically meeting at popular spots to engage in conversation about their cattle, girlfriends, parents, heroes, etc. All commonly shared their secrets, joys and woes. No one felt unnecessarily an intruder into someone else’s business. The curiosity manifested was welcome. It came out of a desire to share. This pattern one would find in all age groups. House visiting was always a feature of the elderly folk’s way of life. No reason was needed as a basis for visits. It was all part of our deep concern for each other.” Even today, one still finds the traces of this perceptions and perspective of africans in South africa amongst themselves.
Bringing up Children
Maybe today many young boys might not be interested in looking after cattle and sheep, but institutions that are dedicated to youth upbringing and teaching could be made a reality and most youth be passed through that type of cultural pedagogy. Amongst the Africans in South Africa, there is an overwhelming socialization mannerism that were all part of the concern of Africans for each other. Bantu writes: “These are things never done in the Westerner’s culture. A visitor to someones’s house, with the exception of of friends, is always met with the question “what can I do for you?” This attitude to see people not as themselves but as agents for some particular function either to one’s advantage or advantage is foreign to us. We are not a suspicious race. We believe in the inherent goodness of man. We enjoy man for himself. We regard our living together not as an unfortunate mishap warranting endless competition among us but as a deliberate act of God to make us a community of brothers and sisters jointly involved in the quest for a composite answer to the varied problems of life. Hence, in all we do we always place man first and hence all our action is usually joint community orientated action rather than the individualism which is the hallmark of the [Western] capitalist approach. We always refrain from using people as stepping stones. Instead, we are prepared to have a much slower progress in an effort to make sure that all of us are marching to the same tune.” As we have noted, the situation today is no more what Biko is talking about. The Africans aptly call it “dog-eats-dog world”, today in South Africa amongst Africans, wherein these values have been trounced and not caring for each other has become the norm, anomie reigns supreme. Yet, as we have been saying above, these cultural mannerisms are still part and parcel of Africans, and the only problem they face is that there are no serious cultural warriors to “Re-set” the culture, but the present African opportunists and criminals are guided by their greed and want of material wealth, in their haste towards opulence, they’re trampling anyone in their rushing pell-mell into looting the land and people of its wealth, and depleting their public coffers but amongst the majority of the “poor” Africans, what Bantu is discussing is still aspects of customary respect and reality” “inhlonipho/Thlompho-Hlompho” (Respect) which still guides the relations amongst Africans and their neighbors and brethren: Man is still prime and considered to be the most important.
Celebratory, Work and Other Cultural Songs
To what I have just said above, Bantu adds: “Nothing dramatizes the eagerness of the African to communicate with each other more than their love for song and rhythm.”All the nine African nations of South Africa shown in the Picture gallery, one more other cultural aspect displayed in the photos is the dancing and singing amongst them. In effect, this does not make them ‘different’, but any person of African heritage in South Africa should be, and will be able to discern the common theme of dancing people, of any of the 10(ten) nations are doing the same thing: they have dances for women, girls and elderly women, they also have dance for young boys, teenagers and those for older me. All have them have dances that are performed by children of all sexes, teenagers of the same age, boys and girls, and those dances that incorporate dances of the grown-ups – men and women mixed. Biko continues: “Music in the African culture features in all emotional states. When we go to work, we share the burdens and pleasures of the work we are doing through music. This particular facet strangely enough has filtered through to the present day. Tourists always watch with amazement they synchrony of music and action as African working at a road-side use their picks and shovels with well-timed precision[or spontaneously sing in fantastic harmony a song for any occasion-those who have been to South Africa have come across what I am talking about]. Girls and boys never played any games without using music and rhythm as its basis. In other words with Africans, music and rhythm were not luxuries but part and parcel of our way of communicating- but of their cultural interaction and elaboration( of ways of culture, customs, traditions and practices – my addition) Any suffering we experienced was made much more real by song and rhythm.”
“The major tis to note about our songs,” writes Bantu, “is that they never were songs for individuals. All African songs are group songs. Though many have words, this is not the most important thing about them. Tunes were adapted to suit the occasion and had the wonderful effect of making everybody read the same things from the common experience. In war,the songs reassured those who were scared, highlighted the determination of the regiment to win a particular encounter and made much more urgent to the need to settle the score: in suffering, as in the case of the Black slaves, they derived sustenance out of a feeling of togetherness, at work the binding rhythm makes everybody brush off the burden and hence Africans can continue for hours on end because of this added energy.
African Community, Property, Animal Husbandry and Agriculture
The life of Africans people of South Africa, before the coming of the European was peaceful and very communal. “Ubuntu/Botho” reigned supreme, as has been discussed by Bantu above, wherein the emphasis of African was more Man-centered than what we see today as the Western half-baked version of an African who is in full flight trying to be accepted into the White community at the expense of his people and culture. But, before the advent of the belligerent White culture into the country now known as South Africa, Africans had different perspective about many things that concerned and affected their lives. Biko informs us thus:
Attitudes of Africans to property again shoe just how unindividualistic the African is. As everybody here knows, African society had the village community as its basis. Africans always believed in having many small villages with a controllable number of people in each rather than the reverse. This obviously was a requirement to suit the needs of a community-based and man-centered society. Therefore, most things were jointly owned,for instance,there was no such thing as individual land ownership. The land belonged to the people and was merely under the control of the local, minor “chief”, who was ruled by a “King” on behalf of the people. When cattle went to graze, it was on an open ‘veld’ and not on on anybody’s specific farm. Farming and agriculture, though on individual family basis, and many characteristics of joint efforts. Each person could by a simple request and holding of a special ceremony,invite neighbors to come and work on his plots. This service was returned in kind and no remuneration was ever given. Poverty was a foreign concept. This could only be rally brought about to the entire community by an adverse climate during a particular season. It never was considered repugnant to ask one’s neighbors for help if one was struggling. In almost all instances, there was help between individuals, clan and clan, chief and chief, king and king, etc., even in spite of war.” (This was the case when Shaka’s Impis attacked Moshoeshoe on Thaba Bosiu, and he successfully repelled the attacking warriors, who, when in the end grew tired and hungry, he sent them food and cows to slaughter, and they subsequently returned home, to Chaka – my example..)
As we are reworking the presentation and respect for the culture of Africans, we need to keep many things in perspective, as Bantu noted that it has been whipped out out of shape when it collided with other foreign and belligerent cultures of Europe. So that in presenting it as I am doing, this is done to to flesh-out and imbue it with matter and material that will cover its present state, and preserve it for many years to come for future generation of people of African descent. Bantu, generally speaking, is giving us the synopsis of the culture of Africans in South Africa as a whole, not of one ‘clan’. What he is writing about is the whole of African ten(10) groups as to what their culture is all about and is like. This is important for whenever the detractors of African South African people attack their culture, they discuss it as if one group of the Africans people’s culture is not related to the other group and so on. It is not a separate culture, and it is a viable national and cohesive culture which should be addressed as such and written about as being one, not different nor divided. Some of the enemies of African people in South Africa and those that are ignorant about the mind-set of Africans in South Africa, and they do not really know the state of mind and the psyche of African people in South Africa. Bantu Biko explains:
African South Africans State of Mind
“Another aspect of the African culture is our mental attitude to problems presented by life in general. Whereas the Westerner is geared to use a problem-solving approach following very trenchant analyses , our approach is that of situation-experiencing .” Dr. Kaunda illustrates this point thus: “The Westerner has an aggressive mentality. When he sees a problem he will not rest until he has formulated some solution to it. He cannot live with contradictory ideas in his mind; he must settle for one or the other two. And he is vigorously scientific in rejecting solutions for which there is not basis in logic. He draws a sharp line between the natural and the supernatural, the rational and the non-rational, and more often than not, he dismisses the supernatural and non-rational as superstition…. Africans, being a pre-scientific people do not recognize any conceptual cleavage between the natural and supernatural. They experience a situation rather than face a problem. By this I mean they allow both the rational and non-rational elements to make an impact on them, and any action they may take could be described more as a response of the total personality to the situation than the result of some mental exercises.”
These differences are often denied or dismissed by the Colonizers who maintain that African culture and ways of thinking and knowing are irrelevant, backward and unscientific, Yet, there is always a clear distinction between people of the world, different cultures and so on, who understand that we cannot think alike, and that colonization is immoral, unjust, and very detrimental to the humanity of African people and their right of being humans. Biko follows up the Kaunda citation above in the following manner: “This I find a most apt analysis of the essential difference in the approach to life of these two groups. i.e., as a community, are prepared to accept that nature will have its enigmas which are beyond our powers to solve. Many people have interpreted this attitude as lack of initiative and drive, yet, in spite of my belief in the strong need for scientific experimentation, I cannot help feeling that more time also should be spent in teaching man and man to live together and that perhaps the African personality with its attitude of laying less stress on power and more stress on man is well on the way to solving our confrontation problems.”
African Customary Traditional Religion; Western Religion
If one were to read some of the HubPages articles written by mostly, Afrikaner European people of South Africa, one would notice how demeaning and insulting they are. When the Afrikaner descendants of the Dutch Sailors and settlers every time attempt to write about Africans, their disdain and dislike of Africans often permeates their writing and they are also so paternalistic and looking down on Africans, their culture, customs, traditions, practices and languages, and insist on calling them ‘tribes’ and their ‘kings’ called ‘chiefs, and every African person a “Kaffir” that despite their dull efforts at doing this, one can simply see this from the Boer Trekker, Piet Retief and the Dutch sailor, Jan Van Riebeeck, how their attitudes towards Africans were vehemently racist and very mean towards Africans and the San. To really get a sense of this dislike of Africans, we will casually peruse the cultural/religious history of South Africa and how it came to be what it is.
Again, we defer to Biko who writes: “All people are agreed that Africans are a deeply religious race. In the various forms of worship that one found throughout the Southern part of our continent, there was at least a common basis. We all accepted without any doubt the existence of a God. We had our own community of saints. We believed – and this was consistent with our views of life – that all people who died had a special place next to god. we felt that a communication with god, could only be through these people. We never knew anything about hell – we do not believe that God can create people only to punish them eternally after a short period on earth. Another aspect of religious practices was the occasion of worship. Again, we did not believe that religion could be featured as a separate part of our existence on earth It was manifest in our daily lives. We thanked God through our ancestors before we drank beer, married, worked, etc. We would obviously find it artificial to create special occasions for worship. Neither did we see it logical to have a particular building in which all worship would be conducted. We believed that God was always in communication with us and therefore merited attention everywhere and anywhere.”
The are many reasons why all the above issues did not take hold in South Africa. The Africans in South African knew of all these issues and were living in accordance to their dictates. Some still do today, but, a whole crew of christian missionaries saw to it that the destruction of African culture, religion, customs and traditions were crushed under the iron boot of western-type of religion. It is at this point when Biko writes to inform us that: “It was the missionaries who confused our people with their new religion. By some logic, they argued that theirs was a scientific religion and ours was mere superstition i spite of the biological discrepancies so obvious in the bases of their religion. They further went on to preach a theology of the existence of hell, scaring our fathers and mothers with stories about burning in eternal flames and gnashing of teeth and grinding of bone. This cold and cruel religion was strange to us but our forefather were sufficiently scared of the unknown impending anger to believe that it was worth a try. Down went our cultural values!”
The effect was not nearly total and complete as the colonizers would have it. It is true that the ‘whipped African Culture out of shape’, but as this hub is showing, the culture still lives and has a certain authenticity and vibrancy to it. How did these African people become “TRIBES”, instead of ‘Nations’. Basil Davidson gives us a historical glimpse dealing partly with this issue below.
Africans Remain ‘Tribes” Even in the 21st Century
The Historiography of South African African Culture has been written about by many people who have never lived it nor know it. They observe the present life-styles of African people, and do some copious notes from unproven accounts abut African culture, then read up some obscure written account about the Africans , gather some oral account here and there, and overnight they are experts on African South African culture. Most of these experts always make a point of pointing out how diverse, but, very different cultures are there amongst the indigenous South African African people. Even though we know that there are10(ten) nations, and the other languages added to this are all foreigners who have to pay some respect to local culture as being the original and sturdy African languages, they are never referred to as one, but as part and parcel of the national languages of South Africa. South Africa is not a melting pot of cultures and the rest are and have always maintained their foreignness, and African and their culture were looked down upon and stagnant and not changing; as to whether it should be changed and become an appendage of European and other cultures – meaning that African culture should change and these other foreign cultures should remain as the are, they supposedly can accept African culture, and have it changed to fit their own foreign culture. This is why, even today, Africans and the culture are viewed as ‘Tribes’ and unable to come together. We have touched on this above as stated by Bantu Biko.
It is interesting to note the works of the likes of Krishnamurthy and Dejan Verdic who give an erroneous analysis of African South African, that to show their biases and ignorance, one will have to reject the syntax, wording and semantics used in trying to inform the reader about who and what African South Africans are, in terms of their inability to unite, have one culture, and not knowing how, when they become westernized they’ll need to face up to the need to either take up the newly acquired culture while remaining authentic. I have also pointed out this false premise above and discussed the fact as to how Africans are suffering from this twoness, and what its origins are. These two authors speak about the existence of a “deep discord” between cultural ‘preservationists’ and ‘developmentalist’ on cultural preservation. The former arguing that such a transition should not undermine the fundamental value systems of Black Society, which they claim is akin to the Afrikaners wanting to preserve White Afrikaner Culture and the Afrikaans languages. It is as if the Indian, Chinese, Greeks and other cultures do so, as a matter of fact, and this finally makes their observations biased, racist and devoid of African historical perspectives and knowledge about African culture in South Africa.
Most of these so-called pros on African history are ignorantly arrogant and do not respect nor know the culture , custom, traditions and practices of Africans are all about. They conveniently forget what the Apartheid regime did to African culture, which I have documented elsewhere in my Hub whilst I anticipated I will have to deal with. In this Hub I will only touch up on it as I have noted in this paragraph. I will be dealing with it in full using the literature as written by these experts and refuting them point by point they falsely and wrongly raise, highlight or point to in their writing-in some future Hub. One thing the authors mentioned above do not know is that the ‘lack of interpersonal, collectivistic social acumen, have been fostered by global the Apartheid culture, global culture, acculturation, media imperialism, the resurgence of cultural and religious conflict,intercultural communication(if there are any that are normal), That we see the conditions as they are in contemporary South Africa. For them to cite Boon whom it is claimed wrote extensively about racist tribalistic perspective is unconscionable. Boon’s tribalistic analysis’ is just as archaic as the old trumpeters of Apartheid ideology in misleading the readers about Africans and their cultural mindset and how it is relevant today, not as irrelevant as it is made to be by the propagandist against African people’s culture, custom, tradition and practices. We will take the liberty of culling from Basil Davidson about issues pertaining to Why Africans are referred to as African ‘Tribes’ and and how they turned that around to be regarded as Nation states.
If the ethnic diversities of Africa outlived the long medieval period of the regna, many subsequent revolutions and reorganizations, and finally the manifold upheavals of the nineteenth century, these diversities then found it relatively easy to live through the colonial period-as ethnic diversities, that is, though sorely often not as persons or constituent communities. The new nationalists of the 1950s would then embrace national-statism as the only available escape from colonial domination. Striving to transform colonial territories into national territories, they would find Africa’s wealth and ethnic cultures both distracting and had to absorb into their schemes. They would fall back into the colonial mentality of regarding it as “tribalism,” and, as such, retrogressive. This diversity, it seemed, had to be just another hangover from the unregenerate past. It should at least be on its way to museum shelves, and should be meanwhile handled as a temporary nuisance. That was to prove difficult. The nuisance was found, as in the earliest days of nation statist debate in centers as Cape Coast during the 1860s, to be stubbornly insistent. It refused to disappear into museums.(Davidson)
Foreign Enforcement of Africans as “Tribes”
Davidson further elaborates: :This was scarcely surprising: most of these precolonial political formations were communities with a venerable past rooted in popular acceptance. In the public mind they were living realities; they were identities to which people strongly held. Dismissing them as the regrettable phenomena of “tribalism” might comfort those, British or others,who preferred to think of precolonial Africa as a kind of savage backwoods, rather than the notion of a Scottish nation or a Welsh nation had long become an antiquarian absurdity to average English opinion. But that is not how the “tribesmen” were prepared to see it. Out of this came confusion. For there was also at work, from quite earlier in the colonial dispossessions, another meaning for “tribalism.” This was the new product of “divide-and-rule” policies, perhaps the only African political invention of those times that did or even could succeed, and as well promoted by the British and the French, major colonial powers, as a useful administrative instrument. Let related ethnic “units” band together and become “tribes” – a term probably applied in the African context by Officials educated in the classical tradition of Caesar’s Gallic wars – because, if they banded together, the costs of European Administration would be that much less.”
Davidson adds: “Segments of even substantial communities in more of less closely related communities, though historically separate and distinct fro one another, now declared themselves a single people; and new “tribes” such as the Sukuma and Nyakusa, rose fully formed from the mysterious workings of “tradition”.” Not being worried by such workings, whatever the Europeans supposed them to be, such coagulated clans and segments do not seem to have minded becoming “tribes” with exotic names – Sukuma, for example, is a word borrowed from the neighboring people of Unyamwezi – but rather pleased about it. A single agreed spokesman against the claims and demands of colonial power was easily seen to wield more argumentative clout than a mob of spokesmen from smaller units. And then, of course, Europeans believed Africans belonged to “tribes”: Africans built tribes to belong to.”Ilife adds: “And the effort to create such “tribes”, was as honest and constructive in those circumstances of apparently permanent foreign rule as the latter effort, when the appearance of permanence was gone, to create a Tanganyika nation,” Both were attempts to build societies in which men could live well in the modern world.”((Ilife)
Davidson tells us how this came about: “This was one situation. And as Africans from rural areas moved, ever more in the 1940s, toward the “melting pot” of peri-urban slums and shantytowns, this “tribalism” that was a genuine product of African diversity, but also an invented weapon of self-defense, became a potent factor in opening the route to nationalism. “Tribal Unions” and “Tribal Associations,” or other such manifestations of solidarity, began to flourish in the 1940s, and were to be powerful influences in the building of nation-statist politics. Their nature, of course, meant that they were destined to become divisive of national unities. They would then play the role, after independence, of opposing “tribe” to “nation. But that was still for the future. for the present, these “tribal unions” were able to rephrase and reabsorb Africa’s own history in times of great political change and challenge…Broadly, the educated elites in West Africa – for a long time, it would be much the same in South Africa – saw Africa’s own history as irrelevant and useless. The issue has been contradictory because so was their stance. They saw that the assertion of Africa’s having a history of its own must be part of their case against colonialist racism. They presented this assertion in books they wrote about Africa’s past glories. They lectured on the subject, composed brilliant and poetic evocations of great moments in Africa’s past. If they were clergy men, they recalled the Christian African bishops of Byzantine descent. If the were lawyers, they praised the writings of classical Greece in praise of Homer’s “blameless Ethiopians.” If they were politicians, they did their best to square the circle.”
But when it came down to brass tacks, to the question of who should take over from the British withdrew, they demanded a more or less complete flattening of the ethnic landscape. All that history then belonged to what Attoh Ahuma back in 1911 in his book The Gold Coast Nation and National Consciousness, had found no difficulty in calling the “savage backwoods.” Deplorable in the past, it could do nothing for the present; and the future would forget it. As the gathering force of national-statism in its guise of liberating ideology began to reap the fruits of argument and agitation around mid-century,what David Kimble has called the clash between “the inherited privileges of chieftaincy” and the “acquired privileges of education” – meaning Western education, and it derivatives – became acute and would soon become violent.
As for the culture of African people, it followed in the path of all the African states who in the end became post colonial nation states always appeasing their former colonial master. The ANC-led government does this very well: being a buffer between African people and their culture, and they(ANC) safeguarding of foreign cultures and people, and meanwhile neglecting their own indigenous Africans of South Africa in so doing. The point I am trying to make is that, those who write about Africans and their culture, do so without really understanding what they are doing to a people who are still not yet in the position of telling the world, “themselves”, what they want to say about themselves as African people of South Africa. Every time and anyone who writes about the culture of the Nguni/Bakone, they are mostly telling their readers about how different the African people are from each other culturally or otherwise. This serves their need to keep on dividing and conquering, if not debasing and deconstructing African people and their culture that in this Hub, I have utilized the pictures of the 10(ten) groups of African people within the Photo gallery, and without having to talk about the pictures in a direct way within this article, the photos speak for themselves. It is not a question as to whether there is any doubt in the minds of Africans in South Africa that they have to ease into the 21st century as do other nations, it is also true that they know that they can morph into their culture with relative ease and spontaneity that always amazes tourists and intellectuals alike that they cannot help but see this culture as alive and vibrant.
In fact, White people peddle African culture as a front in order to gain renumeration from the visitors or buyers of African Artifacts and other types of arts and culture. Many of the former colonizers have become the spokespeople, for the past hundreds of years which has now come down to the point where everyone today on the Internet is a ‘Kits’(Instant) Historians on South African African history and African South African historical culture. As Biko noted, ‘once an African starts talking about African History and African Cultural history, he assailed and projected as whatever choice words they choose to hurl his way.’ Yes, time has no come to set the record straight because once one begins reading such comments as those uttered by Boon as cited by Krishnamurthy and Vercic that: “For the Africa of the 21st century to succeed, that it must become rational and pragmatic. Underdevelopment is not a matter only of capital or resources, but it originates “inside the heads of Africans(P, 61) Boon(1998)…and that he wrote extensively about tribalism and ethnicity and stated that ‘tribalism exists in the present not only in distant rural areas but also in peoples heads. They say that Boon suggested that ‘people retreat into ethnicity when they are most threatened. Communities then form communications so that they could get the “tribe’s” perspective on the threat posed by massive change(What Change?, from who and how is it change?- my questions). This is just a smattering of all the hogwash by nattering nabobs like Boon, whose work inspired a book by both Krishmamurthy and Vercic, who ignorantly and in an ahistorical skewed, biased and demeaning way believe that pungent analysis by Boon, and edited a book they called “The Global TPublic Relations Handbook: Theory, Research, and Practice.” Africans are called a ‘tribal’ people whenever it suits the Europeans to divide, and all those who do not have respect for African. They expect that any African people, talking about his culture, should consult with other races because they themselves(Africans) cannot understand nor know their history by and about themselves. Africans retain and are endowed with the rights of writing and saying what they like or how their perceive their cultures as it suits them, only. Africans should not be asking for permission from anyone for them to describe and discuss their ‘own’ culture, however they choose to do.
African Culture is What Africans Say it is; Any Questions?
Af rican South African culture is Similar and the Same
Chancellor Williams write and tells us that: “The present-day confused outlook of the African people is the result of centuries of Caucasian acculturation, a quite natural process wherever one people come under economic, political and social domination of another people. The ideologies and value system of the oppressors quite unconsciously become those of the oppressed, even when the result is demonstratively against themselves. But all other oppressed peoples, whether Indian, Chinese or Japanese, were able to hold on doggedly to their own racial pride and cultural heritage as the last response for survival as a people. Unlike the Blacks, they were never completely cut off from this sustaining life-line of every people.”
Just what can we really find out about what actually happened to the Africans South Africa and the destruction of their culture. It is important that we use history to unpack and peal back at the hidden layers of what African people should know what happened to them as they will undoubtedly begin to see and talk about their culture from an informed African historical cultural backdrop.
The eighteenth-century commando frontier impinged on regions inhabited by the Bantu -speakers and Khoisan. (‘Khoisan’ includes both pastoral Khoikhoi and groups of hunter-gatherers whom Khoikhoi clans “San’ and whom the colonists called ‘Bushmen’). In central Namibia, south of the Ovambo peoples, were the Bantu-speaking Herero, cattle-keepers par excellence(H. Vedder) East of the Kalahari (which may not have been as extensive then as it is now) the HIghveld and central and eastern Transorangia were dominated by the Bantu speaking Sotho-Tswana peoples, who were cultivators as well as pastoralists. The southernmost of these in the eighteenth century were the Rolong(Barolong)(south of the Molopo) and, to their east, the Fokeng(Bafokeng), Ghoya and Taung(Bataung) spread as far south as the Caledon river(L.M. Thompson) South of the Bantu-speakers, and interspersed among them, were the Khoisan(I. Schapera). Prior to the eighteenth century there is evidence that cattle-keeping Khoikhoi were living adjacent to Bantu-speaking communities, at least in Namibia and along the middle Orange(Wikar and Gordon) by the early nineteenth century these Khoikhoi north and south of the lower Orange were known generically as the ‘Nama’, and those north and south of the middle Orange as ‘Kora’. In contrast, the region of eastern Transorangia (roughly present-day Orange Free State), was, in the eighteenth century,occupied only by the Khoisan hunter-gatherers alongside the Bantu-speakers(John Campbell). In all these cases, specifically regarding Nama and Kora, it is almost impossible to disentangle which elements were long-established inhabitants of the area, and which had retreated from the Cape during the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries, though there is fragmented evidence of both situations(J.A Engelbrecht). The resulting tangle of social relationships, exacerbated in the frontier zone period, makes it well-nigh impossible to link Khoisan political groupings in the nineteenth century to any earlier Khoisan political historyL.F. Maingard).
The obsession in the historiography of South Africa with the analysis of society in ‘racial’ terms produces endless attempts to differentiate Bantu-speakers from Khoisan, Khoikhoi and San, Sotho from Nguni/Bakone, and, within each, sub-’tribes’ from sub-’tribes’, and so on. It is only through an analysis which begins from the social relations of production that this tendency can be overcome(R. Moorsom). In deed, for the thrust of this hub has been that all the African nations in South Africa are the same and similar. All were small-scale societies in which persons were depended on forces of nature over which they had but little control. Some communities gathered for subsistence, others hunted, others kept cattle or grew crops. Some engaged in more than one ,or all of these practices.
The social relations of production in such communities have inadequately explored. Certainly there was a sexual division of labor, although this was more pronounced among agriculturalists and mixed production communities than among pure pastoralists or hunter-gatherers. There were also craft specializations (blacksmiths, herbalists, rainmakers) mostly in Bantu-speaking communities. Mining was carried on, both of metals and of a decorative yellow ochre called ‘Sbello’; it;s still unknown who did the mining, nor under what compulsions or incentives [Obviously it was the africans of South ho did the mining](Campbell). Relationships in all communities were expressed, neither economically nor politically, but in terms of kinship. Kinship was the language of social interaction,disguising the relations of production . The only potential for class relationships existed in societies where there was ‘chieftainship’. This office was inherited through lineage descent, and could therefore emerge or disappear in kin-based communities without any basic alteration in social structure. Where it became institutionalized, it was surrounded by a structure of government based on leading lineages: lineage-members were the councillors of the ‘chief’. The officers of government had the obligation to redistribute resources for the benefit of the community, but these obligations obviously required the appropriation of resources to redistribute(I. Schapera)
The prerogative of ‘chief’ to receive labor was well established in many Bantu-speaking societies by the nineteenth century (though this practice postdated the upheavals of the Mfecane in the 1820s and 1830s). Equally, the presence of mining products, handicrafts and cattle provided a potential basis for appropriation and for either redistribution or private accumulation.By the late eighteenth century, trade was already conditioned by merchant capital: Khoisan traded cattle cattle southward to the Cape; Bantu -speaker exported metals, karosses(Hides), finished furs, and increasingly, ivory to the Portuguese settlements of the East Coast(C. Saunders)
This trade was not carried out by long-distance traders but through a series of relays than the reverse. Exchanges of goods customarily took place either at the neutral frontier between communities or at the ‘Kgotla ‘(sort of Congress or forum) in the town center of the community. Where a chiefly structure existed, the chiefs and the heads of lineages, would gather around them ‘as many Men as their wealth would admit, to each of which they assign the milk of one or two cows which, together with the efforts of the Man’s wife in gathering roots, wild fruit, locusts, and the cultivation was generally sufficient to enable him to maintain his family.
At one level this relationship of clientage was simply one of the major ways through which communities could grow on a non-or-quasi-kin basis. At another level its a proto-feudal relationship of personal dependence which acquired the name of the fhisa or Mafisa system among Sotho-Tswanas in the nineteenth century. Hunter gatherers might also become dependents, acquiring dogs, old iron weapons or tobacco from their patrons in retun for supplying karosses.(Legassick).
One other thing I would like to add at this juncture is that it seems that the Iron age inhabitants of the Transvaal and Swaziland were agriculturalists and herdsmen, and they manufactured pottery similar to that known from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi; but what will surely disrupt the colonial theses that Africans came from Egypt, as characterized in Wikipedia, but one thing Wikipedia does is to recognize that the Nguni nations made up of clans, based on males ancestry(even female ancestry), and that they formed the highest social unit, led by influential men [and women] who were independent by creating their own clan
The Ways of Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices
Whenever most historians talk about the history and culture of the African people, they have inserted a false fact by trying to show that the Nguni(I guess they mean Zulu and who else?..as if they are different from the Sothos and Tswanas-are the only people worth studying. In the Sesotho language the Word for “Nguni” is “Mokone”. The language of the ’10 people’ of South Africa makes the history, custom, culture, tradition and practices easy to understand, it speaks to and of the traditions and customs; the language and the meanings are contained within its accentuation and intonation, including deflections is a great historical recorder and keeper; it decodes and encodes discourse, effects meaning systems; the language of Africans in South Africa has paradigms, idioms, codes along with the history of the people embedded within the core of their languages. In performing and living their culture, customs and traditions and customs, the are certain actions, observances, rituals, sayings and other related cultural artifacts’ usage, behaviorism, drum beat music, Africans performers and performances, sayings and idioms, singing, linguistic gymnastics, or, the making of African beer for the ancestors, food of all sorts, slaughtering and sacrificing of certain beasts, consulting with their ‘African Doctors, in matters concerning the instructions from their ancestors, the instruction relayed though the “Doctor” in matters of which they are dissatisfied with or suggestions of how families should deal and or live with certain social phenomena arising and causing social maladies and other related human concerns beyond their control; issues of magic and sorcery, instructions given to the “Doctors” on how to deal with those matters through the Doctor by the Ancestors. Africans need to know that all their social and cultural and linguistic utterances, activities or products are encoded, wired-into their biological, psychic, social and otherwise existence and reality, and they have signification(the denotative); this culture understands and recognizes dissonance , cognition, rhetoric, cybernetics, entropy, messages, redundancies and so forth, that are apparent in their linguistic-cultural(Isiko/Setso)-customary, traditional and ceremonial mannerisms and behaviors and beliefs.This is important to know, that there is no different “tribes” in South Africa, but a whole Nation of the Nguni/Bakone, no matter in what accents, context or diction it is uttered or said, or acted; all these 10 people adhere to the same customs, traditions, culture and practices which we shall look at closely in a short while.The history of the Africans in South Africa can clearly be traced back to some 170,000 B.C.[of which a separate Hub is going to be written about this time period and pictures to go with it. years ago, or even better, we can concretely trace it to between 1,000 to 13,000 A.D. This has reset the historiography of South Africa because most this history was hidden and kept secret by the Apartheid regime, whilst lying that African people came into South Africa when they(Europeans) landed in the Cape in 1652 (Jan Van Riebeeck, or 1492 or so with the passage of Vasco da Gama and Bartholomew Diaz. Some state that the Africans came and killed-off the Khoisan, and other such nonsense and ahistorical babble. Before we breakdown the cultural, customary and traditional practices and ceremonies of Africans in South Africa, I would like to insert the background on the History of Mapungubwe ad their material culture which some so-called-experts state that it started around 1,000 and 13,000 years ago after the Christian era. Well, as I have said above, the history of Africans in south Africa can now be traced back as far back as 160,000 years ago. This, as I have indicated, will be for another Hub in the immediate future.
Mapungubwe: As Nguni as You Like or Not
The Missing Link; African Historical and Cultural Renaissance
Mapungubwe is as important to African South African History and Cultural History, as is Egypt is important for the Whole of The history and culture of Africa. There is ample literature in the world that helps illuminate the culture of africans from derisive dismal which literally tried to write-off African Cultural history form the Map of World cultural history. The Apartheid regime tried very hard to keep the history of the civilization of Mapungubwe, but with the changing of the regime, the ANC-led government demanded the material and historical cultural heritage of the area of Mapungubwe be made known public.
According to the official Website of The University of Pretoria, “The story of Mapungubwe’s research and excavations is detailed and complicate because it has a long tradition that serves as the foundation o an African foundation that enables African people to be able to journey back into the past, where every rock and artifact was unearthed and studied and tried to learn about the secrets of the ancient civilization that was there. Over time, archeologists, botanists, geologists, paleontologists, anatomists, naturalist and many other scholars contributed,through their dedicated research, to the new understanding of prehistory and an in-depth studies of Iron Age communities in southern Africa.”
In order for us to try an find the common themes of the culture of Mapungubwe, and the Cave paintings The outlying mountains around the Areas of Mapungubwe, along with those “Izintaba zika-Khahlamba”(Drakensberg Mountains) as being similar to the Nguni/Bakone people, and helping this research to show the similarities and sameness of the Nguni/Bakone culture, we will unpack the History of Mapungubwe. According to Basil Davidson:
The finds at Mapungubwe are important for two reasons: they were rich in skeletal material and in gold and other objects, and since no Ancient Ruins Company had plundered here, nearly all were undisturbed and could be examined where they lay. A table mountain of rough sandstone precipitous on every side, the hill of Mapungubwe is only one of many such hills amid the blue and ocherous solitude of Northern Transvaal. It lies just south of the Limpopo River, which divides the modern states of South Africa and Southern Zimbabwe and south-eastern Botswana.” The university of Pretoria’s website picks up the story thus: “In the early 1930s, a teacher by the name of Emst van Graan heard rumors of riches at an ancient burial site in the far northern reaches of the country, known then as Northern Transvaal. Van Graan and his son Jerry and a group of friends pursued the legend of hidden treasure. “White men of this unchartered country, mostly of Boer stock, had long heard people of the country, who were the forerunners of the Venda People of South Africa, who were talking about the buried treasures. Van Graan, on deciding to find the the treasure, knew it would be difficult, for the people of the country had always thought of the Hill of Mapungubwe as taboo (some accounts said Africans wanted to keep it secret). This remarkable story were in the end reported by van Graan were in the end reported by his son to his professor at the University of Pretoria. As a result of research finding, and in order to protect the site from looters and treasure seekers, the university sought and secured rights and custodianship of all material recovered. The Parliament of the Union of South Africa was immediately informed about the importance on Mapungubwe that they in the end passed an Act for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments in 1934.On April 1933, The Illustrated London News reported a “Remarkable discovery in the Transvaal: a grave of unknown origin contain much gold work, found on the summit of a natural stronghold in a wild region. With Mapungubwe’s instant international recognition was set in motion a course that changed the course of South Africa’s “prehistory”, and therefore the beginnings of the Museum collection (see the Photo Gallery presented here for the readers viewing).
For historical record and reseting the moorings of African culture into clear cultural , customary and traditional historical perspective, we will review how and when the diggings took place and what happened. These phases have been provided for by the University of Pretoria
Phases of the Digs
Phase one lasted from 1934 to 1940, when exploratory excavations by the University of Pretoria were followed by large-scale excavations which were conducted on the main site at Mapungubwe and K2. Due to Malaria and World War, these events stalled the excavation, and the excavation done in 1945 were only published in 1963;
Phase two was intermittent, covering 1951 and limited excavations on the Southern Terrace during 1953 and 1954, and later in 1968 by the newly established Department of Archeology at the University of Pretoria. In the mid-1980s, the escalating bush war on the northern border of south Africa interrupted the fieldwork. During this phase, a reconnaissance visit to Mapungubwe by anthropologists for the University of Pretoria who were conducting oral (“This simply means they were getting oral history from the inhabitants of that area about the life of the people of Mapungubwe.[This will be further explored when writing about the 170,000 year history of South Africa in an upcoming Hub);
Phase three lasted from 1970 to 1995, when detailed research concentration stratigraphic recording , specialized site documentation and interdisciplinary research into the human and cultural remains(Meaning, African cultural material). Mapungubwe and K2 were declared as national monuments by the then National Monuments Council. In the 1980s, measures taken to protect the stratified deposits, sites and artifacts by means of legislation and conservation procedures, coinciding in 1990 with the ideas of establishing a National Park;
Phase four of the research lasted from 1996 to 1999, and included the official establishment of the National Park on 9 June 1995. This phase covered research pertaining to detailed studies on aspects related to settlement, chronology and human remains registered by the Department of Archeology and the Department of Anatomy with the South African National Parks as the new owners of Greefswald;
Phase five began in 2000 and is regarded as the most important phase since the Mapungubwe Museum at the University of Pretoria was opened to the public in June 2000. In July 2003 Mapungubwe received National status, and it officially became known as Mapungubwe National Park in 2004. Research for the past decade have become museum collection.
The University of Pretoria, in its website gives us this partial history of Mapungbwe by stating that: “Hunter-gatherers of the Stone Age roamed the river plains and cave sandstone hills of the Limpopo valley from time to time and left their stones tools there[TI think that was their place of abode-from time immemorial]. Paintings in /rock Shelters and a few rock engravings are evidence of San hunter-gatherer communities in the Stone Age landscape. The first communities who made iron tool and clay pots might have arrived in the Central Limpopo valley during the early Iron Age[I think that these people having lived there before 500 AD, might have evolved from stone to Iron usage by virtue of their having lived there much longer, and their interaction with the Monomotapa Civilization which covered areas from Maputo(Mozambique then) all the way to Angola]. This part of African South African history is going to be made much more clearer with the Upcoming Hub updating this present Hub I am onto, in terms of timeline and historiography
It is important for the reader to be leery and wise about the history of Africa and how it becomes the history of Africans, not written by Africans, but by any other people, built or created by any other people , except for the Africans themselves. Basil Davidson writes. “Time and again the achievements of men in Africa – men of Africa – have been laid at the door of some mysterious but otherwise unexplained “people from outside Africa.” It is not only “Hamites” who have given scope fro the “inarticulate major premise” of an inherent African (or black) inferiority. Over the past fifty yeas or so, whenever anything remarkable or inexplicable has turned up in Africa, a whole galaxy of non-African (or at any rate non-black) peoples are dragged in to explain it. The Phoenicians are brought in to explain Zimbabwe in Rhodesia(Now Zimbabwe). The Egyptians are produced as the painters of the ‘white lady’ of Brandberg in South West Africa. Greeks or Portuguese are paraded as the inspires and teachers of those who worked in terra cotta and in bronze in mediaeval West Africa. Even the Hittites had had their day Yet everyone of these achievements and phenomena is how generally agreed to have had purely African origin.”
I have cited Davidson above to make the point that, even the history of a place that has been ”discovered, and was unknown’, paltry evidence and vague references are made of the inhabitants there, The Venda, Shona(of Zimbabwe) Pedi’ and Tswana people is ever-so-slightly made vague and the people, whose oral tradition is is what helped the researchers discover and know more about the place, fail to mention them in full, and the researchers fail to mention that the discovery of this ‘mound’, was made possible by the Vendas/Pedis/Tswanas and so on who regard the people of Mapungubwe as their ancestors.
Anyway, be that as it may, we pick up the historical narration from the University Pretoria who write: ” The Iron Age sites at Mapungubwe and K2 were inhabited between 1000 AD and AD 1300. Archeologists believe that both sites were once capitals of the African Kings(Which?). Unfortunately the habitants identity remains a mystery since this part of history goes back before written record and no known oral traditions can be recorded over a period of a thousand years, therefore, the inhabitants are merely known as the “Mapungubweans”(who named them? Are there no Pedi or Venda inhabitants of the areas from whom this oral tradition was eked out from them? Are the people of Mapungubwe not Vendas of Pedis? What are the ramifications of answering that they were either or all of the people of the Venda, Pedi and Tswanas nations, on whose lands Mapungubwe land mass criss-crosses and intersects where the lands of these people fuse, and was where they lived?”
Davidson enlightens us as to how, and why the colonizers of lands and information present the history of Africa the way they do. “The problems of backwardness and progress – even when and where these exist, and are more than the illusion of Eurocentric frames of thought – cannot be explained along these simple lines. They cannot be explained along any racial lines, environment, nor race, provides the key. And that is why it will be found that even when African peoples have taken much from outside, at different times and places, their process of borrowing – whether of techniques or beliefs – has always undergone an adaptation, through environment and circumstance, into societies and cultures and civilizations which became specifically and uniquely African. Achievement and failure can be traced to the same complex and endlessly interesting source: the interplay of men and their environment..”
The Material Culture of Mapungubwe is that of the Nguni/Bakone
Unpacking The Mapungubwe Material Culture
Before we caricature the material culture of Mpaungubwe, one needs to point out that the similarities of this culture, though it be made of gold, glass and porcelain, baked clay being glossed , and their workings on steel, the reader should be reminded that the very nature and forms that these unearthed material culture can still be found amongst the various and present 10 peoples’ of South Africa who still design them in one form or another. Most of the information about Mapungubwe was provided for by the inhabitants of South Limpopo, and these people were the Tswanas, Pedis, Vendas and Shonas. According to Andre Meyer, ” Current research shows that the Kingdoms of K2 and Mapungubwe contributed to the current indigenous knowledge systems of the local communities in that region.” Meyer adds: ” Mapungubwe and K2 are often referred to in current public debate. They are prominent heritage elements within politicians’ vision of the expected ” African Renaissance” . The gold funerary objects and numerous other artifacts, the exceptional stratification, settlement features and settlement sequence are fundamental to their value as heritage sites that represent “African History” of almost a millennium ago.” Maryna Steyn wrote this for her abstract: “Skeletons form the Mapungubwe complex or sites form the largest single collection of Iron Age Human remains in Southern Africa, and are thus excellently suited for study of a whole population.” She further writes: “In this paper, an attempt is made not only to use the more traditional approach of determining population affinity, but also to assess various aspects of life-style. Issues such as the general health status of the population, demographic profile and dietary analysis are addressed. It is proposed that the unusual distribution, with an excess of juveniles, is due to rapid population growth rather than selective burial practices. Generally speaking, the people from K2 and Mapungubwe seem to have been relatively healthy, and this is attributed to their reliance on cattle herding as a supplement to food cultivation. Incidence of tooth decay point to an agriculturist as opposed to a hunter-gatherer diet. Analysis of population affinity basically confirms the conclusion of some earlier researc hers, that K2 people should be grouped with the South African African spectrum of peoples.”
Pointing out the fact that K2 and Mapungubwe, will require the scholars of African history to read all related literature, cull and deduce from the knowledge and cast a well rounded history of the peoples of African descent in South Africa. For example in their abstract Munyaradzi Manyanaga, Innocent Pikirayi and Webber Ndoro inform us as follows: “Recent research in the south-eastern region of Zimbabwe shows that it was intensively occupied during the early 2nd millennium AD. The hot, dry climate, the low, variable rainfall and the presence of tsetse fly have always been viewed as a major deterrent to human occupation in this low-veld territory. [Although tis was mere speculation]
Archeological surveys have produced a range of sites, including Zimbabwe tradition stone walls, two ‘Iron Age’ sites were excavated and the analysis of faunal an floral data gives pointers as to what happened between the decline of the state once based at Mapungubwe in the middle Limpopo Valley and the rise of Zimbabwe to the north.” [This also need to be clarified, verified and elaborated upon]
Cultural Loot Identification
Mapungubwe is a Venda term which means “place Where Jackals Eat” because the land was littered with human bones which attracted these scavengersIt is important that at this juncture to briefly cite Brian Fagan who writes: The Archeological Committee appointed G.A. Gardner as director of excavations. He worked on the ranch for six long seasons between 1935 and 1940, concentrating initially on K2, and later excavating a large trench at the Western end of Mapungubwe Hill.” The second volume of Mapungubwe was published 23 years later(due to Apartheid laws that were in-force to deny African people their true history). The material culture of Mapungubwe was saved from being looted and sacked when academicians like Prof. Fouche were working on it and tried to protect its material culture. Talking about Mapungubwe, Brian Fagan writes: “Immediately to the south of Mapungubwe is Bambadyanalo Hill, to the south-west of which lies the settlement named Bambandyanalo or K2 Stratigraphical profiles have revealed that the occupants settled in the Bambandyanalo valley, and, by successive or continuous occupations, accumulated the mound of habitat. Graan and his friends found large pieces of plate gold and some of them shaped; also, they foundation debris that survives today. The center of the village was used as a cattle kraal, around which the houses were built. Basil Davidson informs us that, “Working on his own in 1934, one of the excavators, Van Tonder, uncovered an extensive grave area and was able to hand to scientific judgement a large quantity of gold and other metal objects as well as the fragments of twenty-three – the first fully authenticated and more or less preserved ‘royal burial ground” of pre-European times in southern Africa(and in South Africa, in particular). One of these skeletons was associated with another seventy ounces of gold in various forms, and a third had its legs “wreathed in over a hundred bangles constructed of coiled wire”-[see photo gallery]. Several pieces of beautifully worked gold plating were also found, as well as about a thousand gold beads.”
The term “African Renaissance” carries great resonance, but for historians and archeologists the question will inevitably arise: “What was the original African “Golden Age” that will inspire the Renaissance – the rebirth of society and culture – in the new millennium?.” The European Renaissance, emerging out of the “dark” Middle Ages, invoked as its vision the “Golden Age” drawn from the classical cultures of Greece and Rome. What is it that southern Africa(South Africa in particular) can call upon in the postcolonial era to serve as an appropriate model from the past. According to Archeologist Tim Maggs, in 2000, simply stated: “It is Mapungubwe.” (Jane Carruthers)
Carruthers furthers her point in this manner:”This is reflected also in the symbolism projected by the Order of Mapungubwe, a national decoration that recognizes excellence in science and creativity. Of this, Mapungubwe is an indigenous example. Its claim to technological brilliance is the indigenous production of wrought gold, ironically and industry generally much maligned in South African history because its demand for cheap unskilled labor meant a level of coercion that played the major role in this integration of traditional African community structures(Making them dysfunctional), and the consolidation of racial segregation. The ANC need to make use of the issue of Mapungubwe to meet its Capitalist tendencies, is what some people says. Yet Carruthers writes: “Mapungubwe is an appropriate symbol because it salutes an early modern, technologically advanced state and economy that existed in the region long before the era of colonization. For South Africa, Mapungubwe is an important contemporary economic and cultural driver: it is well suited for birding and botanizing; it needs to be interpreted(as South African African, of course); access by the people of South Africa should be made readily accessible and information broken-down the meet the need-to-know reality; as Mr. Romokone asserted: “Limpopo is the home of Mapungubwe, the home of civilizationFestivals and arts have begun to put Mapungubwe on the International map.”
This is the right time to give some ‘kudos’ to the African National Congress. Carruthers informs us thus: “Before coming to power in 1984, the policies of the African National Congress, the Congress of the South African Trade Unions and south African Communist Party were based on a vision of a classless society, entrenching workers’ rights and [wer e going to be ] instituting anti-capitalist program of nationalization. Some rhetoric of this kind remains despite the introduction of GEAR(Growth, Employment and Redistribution) and government policy certainly aims to try to reduce the gap between rich and poor.” Although I might cite Carruthers and utilize her observations to help support some part of may narrative, I disagree with her when she states that, “Technology, mining, international trade, environmental and human ‘exploitation’ and ‘capitalist accumulation are integral to the cultural landscape that is World Heritage Mapungubwe.” I have given sketches of the culture of African people and in it tried to portray the way of life, culture and economy of Africans in south Africa, thus my reasons for negating what Carruthers asserts. What the ANC decides to embark on as their state national policies within South Africa, does not mean the whole population of South is what the ANC cadre behave-like. Since, up to this point, many writes are still depended on he local Venda, Pedi, Tswana and Shona people for some of their oral History, one cannot impugn from the material culture that the civilization of Mapungubwe was”Capitalist”, because it supposedly used ‘cheap or slave labor’(supposedly “must”have taken place”-but still no proof of this has been forth-coming)). Below we will be discussing the Practices, Customs, Traditions and ceremonies of the Nguni, which in effect are key to understanding the Africa South African culture, customs, traditions of the Nguni, whom we have expansively discussed above in the Hub, and the fact that they are the same, and Mapungubwe was the epitome and zenith of their civilizing and being made a civilization by the existence of the Culture of Mapungubwe. The civilization of Mapungubwe has provided us with the following, according to the University of Pretoria:
Mapungubwe’s Material Culture is African South African
Mapungubwe: Stratigraphic pages of African(South Africans)’ History. Mapungubwe Hill is a sandstone hill with vertical cliffs and a flat top approximately 30m high and 300, long. A substantial deposit with layers of soil covers it; remains of floors, burnt houses and household refuse(What?). The southern terrace below was inhabited from around AD 1030 to AD 1290(about 260 years). The hill top was inhabited for about 70 years from AD 1220 to AD 1290. These dates will be doubled-checked with the availability of new research information (See first or main[Hub] picture in photo gallery).
The Cultural Landscape: Settlement and cultural sequence in the Limpopo. According to the University of Pretoria Website, “hunters-gatherers of the stone Age [lived] on the river plains and cave sands on the hills of the Limpopo valley for a very long time. Evidence of paintings in rock shelters engravings was proof that the San people tarried there, too. [by the year 500 AD the communities in Mapungubwe were already making iron tools and clay pots right into the Early Iron age] Those that now live around the Limpopo River, the Batswana, Bapedi, Vendas and Shonas, are a left over of the people of Mapungubwe, that when it disintegrated, some of the inhabitants of that civilization were well mixed-up or intermarried with their Nguni Folks, and these were one community with the Nguni/Bakone people of the contemporary African communities of modern South Africa.[My point here is what if the the San people were living at the same time with the people of Mapungubwe as they do with us today?]
The Settlements : Mapungubwe is the site of three royal graves and was the center of terraced settlement. Stonewalls buttressed the slopes and homesteads were scattered [all] around. The King and his soldiers lived near the hill and lived in [a communal setting with their people, examples of this life-style can be gleaned from those of the Nguni/Bakone People, with their variation and sameness] The neighboring village of K2 is the large central refuse site, from which archeologists have been able to glean a assorted information. Human remains from various graves indicate that these communities enjoyed a healthy, varied diet. people were prosperous and kept domesticated cattle, sheep, goats and dogs. The charred remains of storage hut have also been found, showing that millet, sorghum and cotton were cultivated.
Technology and Trade: Findings on Mapungbwe are typical of iron age. Smiths created objects of iron, copper and gold for practical purposes – both for local use and for trade. Pottery, wood, ivory, bone. ostrich eggshell, and the shells of snails and fresh water mussels indicate that many other materials[Which ones specifically?] were used and traded with cultures as far away as East, North and South Africa, Persia, Egypt, India and China. Imported glass beads(and maybe made locally?) were obtained in exchange of skins(ivory? Gold?) [Some additional information is still needed on this accounts].
African Farming Communities and Kingdoms : Traditions, subsistence, technology and Trade. The traditions of African farming communities were central to their social life, settlement patterns, animal husbandry, agriculture, technology and trade. Many of these cultural aspects are reflected in the remains from K2 and Mapngubwe. A traditional african village is organized around family relationships, and creates household activity areas and places for special social occasions such as initiation schools and religious, traditional and customary ceremonies. The close relationship of the villages with their cattle is often symbolized by the position of the cattle kraal in the village. The domestic animals kept by African Iron age(people of Mapungubwe) included sheep, cattle, goats and dogs. The Mapungibweans cultivated plants such as varieties of sorghum,millet an beansThe people of Mapungubwe were skilled miners metal and other metallurgical knowledge. Some of the evidence can be found in numerous gold mines in Zimbabwe and there are many tin and copper mines.
K2 – An Iron Age Site : At the foot of Bamandyanalo Hill. K2 is 1 km southwest of Mapungubwe Hill in a mall valley surrounded by cliffs. G.A. Gardner, who excavated there during the 1930s, named K2. Between AD 1030 and AD 1220, for nearly 200 years, many generations of farming people lived at K2. The main site of about 5 hectares includes the remains of a central homestead area, a central cattle kraal and a central midden, surrounded by smaller homesteads.
Evidence Of Daily Life At K2 : K2 is a particularly large Iron Age site with vast deposits containing a wealth of artifacts such as glass beads and pottery, often found in the numerous graves of the villagers. Huge quantities of bone fragments from slaughtered domestic animals and burnt seeds of domesticated plants such as sorghum and bullrush millet indicate that the K2 people were successful farmers. They were healthy people due to their nutritious diet. They were skilled craftsmen who produced characteristic pottery, large glass beads, tools and body ornaments of iron, copper bangles and figurines of humans and domesticated animals. They hunted elephants and traded the ivory for glass and other porcelain objects via the East African coast by traders such as the Swahili and so on.
Gold Symbols : The gold objects from Mapungubwe graves, such as the rhinoceros, scepter and bowl(See picture gallery), were originally gold sheet or foil covering wooden carvings. the gold sheet was folded around the wooden core and held in place with tacks. In some cases, the gold cover was decorated with punched indentations or incised lines. Some of these objects, such as the scepter and rhinoceros. were ‘possibly’ symbols associated with a person of special significance or high status, such as a King(as we have argued above that Africans had Kings, and the use of ‘chiefs’ in naming them was underdevelopment of African culture. The person was eventually buried with these objects in accordance with traditional culture, customs, social and religious beliefs. Numerous beads and bangles from graves on Mapungubwe Hill indicate that some members of the community adorned themselves with different types of golden jewelry.
Clay Artifacts : Many objects were made of fired clay, or pottery. they were used for various purposes, some still unknown. Human figurines, usually with an elongated body and stumps for heads, arms and legs, were common at K2. They are often decorated with incisions or rows of dots. Some are highly simplified, like the conical figurine found at Mapungubwe. Animal figurines, mostly from K2,include cattle, sheep, goats, giraffe, etc. The conical figurines often found at Mapungubwe had some symbolic significance. Some everyday practical items include spoons, whistles, a funnel and spindle whorls used in production of cotton cloth. Large pottery beads and mould were used to manufacture large cylindrical glass beads, known as garden roller beads.
Artifacts Of Animal Origin : The Mapungubweans adorned themselves with numerous beads made of ostrich eggshells, large land snails, bone and ivory. They wore bracelets made of ivory, decorated their “clothes” and hair with pins made of bone and ivory, and wore perforated cowrie shells imported from the East. Some of the inhabitants of Mapungubwe made and used polished bone arrowheads and arrows used by the San, and Khoi. Some bone arrowheads from Mapungubwe have flattened front ends into which iron tips were fitted. The people used awls and flat needles made of bone, to manufacture clothes and from animal skins.
Glass Beads : Traditions and Trade. Thousand of glass beads have been found in the middens and graves at K2 and Mapungubwe. Burial customs show show that children and adults wore strings of beads in a traditional African way(Needs to be made specific-more research will still be done on this material culture).
K2 people manufactured large beads , known as garden rollers. Whole and broken trade glass beads were melted and the molten glass wound into a prefabricated clay mould to set. The clay mould was then broken to remove the new garden roller glass bead. These are the oldest glass objet made in South Africa.
Besides the rich cultural heritage of the Mapungubwe, most of the continents big game roam here. There is also a tremendous diversity of plant and animal life , and this will make for the place to be a serious an main attraction to tourists to South Africa.
Thus far, I have tried and attempted to cover the basic undergirding and solid foundational pillars of the Culture, Customs, Traditions, Practices and Ceremonies of the Nguni/Bakone People in South Africa, and asserting that it is one and same culture, and that Mapungubwe was the highlight of their civilization and culture. If one were to carefully study the culture of the people of Mapungubwe, in order for the social life of the inhabitants of this civilization to make sense, it will be best to look as several customary, traditional and cultural facts of and about the Nguni/Bakone people of South Africa much more closely so’s to get a sense of how these cultures are one with the culture of Mapungubwe. This will also help us to debunk and deconstruct all the lies that have been written about the Africans of South Africa and their culture. This hub is written from the perspective of Africans in South Africa, laying down and re-claiming and rewriting their culture and by wrestling it away from the clutches and interpretations of the colonialists and imperialists information and knowledge peddlers. It is important that the ‘lived historical and cultural experiences” of the Nguni/Bakone are consulted with and this will enable us to see that the culture is one, diverse and that there are no differences nor differentness about the African South African culture, at all. But, firstly, I would like to establish the fact that the civilization of Mapungukwe was a South African african culture.
Nguni/Bakone High Culture
Mpaungubwe is Us(african South African; We are descendants of Mapungubwe
The full story of the civilization of Mapungubwe is still being told and researched. I will now discuss the outside parameters of this biggest civilization in Southern Africa, akin to Egypt, in its glories, riches and advancement, technology and trade, peculiar and distinctly African specifically African South African(this, as I have alluded above, is going to be covered in the upcoming Hub which dates South african history, culture and archeology way back to 170,000 years B.C.). The information shed on this hub is about the Civilization of Mapungubwe as African South African. “What in any case is certain is that the men of Mapungubwe had evolved a complex Iron Age culture no different in its essence from similar phases of civilization elsewhere. Defended by their strong system of fortified kopjes to east and west, with the river on one side of them and the ranges of the Zoutpansberg on the other, these Lords of Mapungubwe in their solitary splendor throw down a curious challenge to posterity.”(Davidson)
Much of the literature written on this subject seeks to ignore the local Nguni/Bakone Culture and the information it has to provide in regards to the Culture of Mapungubwe. So that, “One cannot understand and know the culture, traditions, customs and practices of the Nguni/Bakone people when one does not know about the civilization of Mapungubwe; likewise, one cannot know, understand and appreciate the culture, customs, traditions and practices of Mapungubwe if one does not know, understand, respect and appreciate the cultures, traditions, customs and practices of the Nguni/Bakone people.”.
South African archeology, like any segment of our newly democratized country, lives under the expectation of transformation. But it has not acuatalized nor realized this expectation. In the new political dispensation, South African archeology remains untransformed. The hosting of the World Archeological Congress in Cape Town was done with the view that social and political transformation were occurring and would inevitably have an effect on archeology (Gero, 1999; Hall, 1990; Ucko, 1990). Sadly this has not been so. Even though both men and women of European descent have played recognized and important roles in South African archeology, the academic participation of Africans has been minimal. This exclusion has not involved formal qualification only (Shepher, 2005), but extends to restricting or preventing access to archeological sites for ritual purposes (Loubser and Dowson, 1987; Ndlovu, 2003, 2004, 2005; Ouzman, 1999; Rudner and Rudner, 1970; Taruvinga, 1995. There has also been significant lack of acknowledgement in any official accounts of roles played by African people, such as excavators, domestic servants, and interpreters (Shepherd, 2003b). Yet, these are the men and women ‘who dug, sieved, sorted, located sites and finds, fetched and carried, pitched camp, cooked and served food, negotiated with local chiefs and suppliers, and assisted in the interpretation of artifacts and events , yet who remain unacknowledged in official accounts of the discipline’ (Hodderb; see Langford, 1983; Shepherd 2003b;334). Challenges were not only about receiving acknowledgement but also about salaries paid to local laborers (Hall, 2001), [and informants]). Unlike those who advocate certain disciplines over other and all that type of real-politicking, I have chosen to explore the line of history-do everything to try and glue together the civilization of Mapungubwe and the Nguni/Bakone Culture.
What I am about to do below, is to shred and breakdown, in an explanatory way, the culture of Africans and in the process try to show how common everything one clan does it is to the other Nguni/Bakone clans of the 10(ten) peoples of South Africa. In practice, Apartheid was an ideology of violence in that it sanctioned the full use of the coercive powers of the state to preserve racial domination. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Fanonesque apocalypse: anti-colonial revolution in which the colonized seek to put into practice, through cathartic violence, the precept that “the last shall be first and first shall be last. African South African intellectual have by and large shunned extreme views” of this kind, yet at the rank-and-file level of the African political movements, and nowadays in the Townships and Shanty Towns, undercurrents of such thinking have always run strong and are still doing so to-date.
Before we flesh out the culture of the Africans, we can take some lessons from Fanon about what the oppressed people can do and what will motivate them to act against their oppressors. Based on his observations as a psychiatrist during the Algerian revolution, Fanon described the mind of the oppressed as set in a Manichean mold: everything pertaining to the colonizers is evil, everything about the oppressed is good. Morality and truth are defined to serve the cause of the oppressed. Truth is that which hurries on the break-up of the colonialist regimeIt is all that protects the native, and ruins the foreigners. In this colonialist context there is no truthful behavior; and the good is quite simply that which is evil for them. The masses have an intuition that their liberation can only be achieved by violence, for violence is the only thing capable of breaking the colonizer’s power.
Moreover,the oppressed since their own emotional health can only be restored through violence At the level of individuals, violence is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect. Notions of evolutionary change only inspire his cynical contempt, for he sees them as transparent ploys to buy his time for his oppressors. His objective is simple: eliminate the oppressor, “them,” the colonizers who have stolen his land and crushed his manhood. The native is in fact ready at a moment’s notice to exchange the role of the quarry for that of the hunter. the native is an oppressed person whose permanent dream is to become the persecutor… As his political sophistication grows he comes to realize that intellectual and bourgeois members of his own race are seeking ways to depolarize the struggle; but he still finds it difficult to consider any middle ground of compromise in the present or reconciliation in the future.”
The Africans of South Africa are aware of the fact that when they sought Freedom in their struggles against apartheid, the incoming ANC-led government has given not even given them democracy. It is this undemocratic democracy that they are now living under that they have now realized that they had been hoodwinked and told lies, on top of the unfulfilled promises made to them by the present ANC government. So that, when a hub of this nature is being written, what should be borne in mind is the fact that African people will reclaim their Freedom, as is now happening in North Africa-also, they will take over their cultures, and Hubs like these will provide the rudder to that destined end- Cultural reclaiming and perpetuation of their reality as it is their destiny to do so.
Cultural Material’s Nitty-Gritty
For centuries the rich History of South Africa dating back to more than 1000 years was hidden from its people. The fact that the Nguni/Bakone peoples of the region had a highly civilized existence hundreds of years before the first Europeans arrived was simply too much to bear[especially for the settlers, colonizers and Imperialistic Europe and America]. Mapungubwe then, is a testimony of a civilization that existed and flourished years before European occupation. Also, the findings in Mapungubwe provided evidence contrary to the racist ideology of African inferiority that underpinned Apartheid. As already indicated above, the Apartheid regime remained tightlipped for more than 40 years, specifically about Mapungubwe. The evidence was only made public a few years after the first democratically elected government came into power in 1994. In fact, in the annals of African history, this subject has been written and talked about, so that, this does not mean the historical community was not aware, but I concede that maybe’ in South Africa, ordinary Africans did know know much if anything about Mapungubwe, And this Hub is now going to make it possible for the first time that the ordinary African South African man has a chance of knowing about the civilization of Mapungubwe and its relevance to African South African culture, customs, history, tradition, languages, rites and practices.
We now know that Mapungubwe was the most advanced culture which can be traced back from 800 AD to around1400 AD. It was the center of the largest civilization in the sub-continent, from where the Mapungubweans traded in gold and ivory(as noted above). Carbon-dating back as far back as the 1950s, nearby Bambandyanalo it was settled for more than 300-400 years, seemingly, before Mapungubwe(still to be determined). It means that by 1000 AD, people had already been in continuous occupation for more that 200-400 years. Archeologists unearthed glass beads, copper bracelets, profusely decorated pottery bowls, pots, spoons and beakers. Animal skulls and jawbones also contained copper ornaments, seashells and pottery fragments and pieces of steel and gold ornaments. Gold was mined in haematite at Ngwenya, and iron ore and copper at Phalaborwa, formerly encased within the former state of Transvaal in South Africa. Virtually all the copper and tin deposits of the Northern Transvaal were worked, and hundreds of workings remain. The Moloko Pottery of the Later Iron Age was branded and stamped decorated, with tapered or out-turned rims, and occurs mainly at sites between the Witwatersrand and the Magaliesberg. Phalaborwa pottery shows little change in 400 or so years and bears simple, cut designs originally produced by the Venda speaking people, even up to today. What I am saying is that the need for Mapungubwe to be understood, it will be important to understand the culture of the Venda, who are of the Nguni/Bakone stock. Mapungubwe will remain an ‘enigma wrapped and shrouded in secrecy’, can become a knowable past, as long as the Venda people, who are the Nguni people, along with the other “9″ people, who all make the nation of Africans in South Africa, that all that should be understood about them and their cultures, custom, traditions and practices should be taken into consideration and and forever be it known that , just like the Europeans trace their history from the Greek and Roman civilizations, South Africans must link and trace their history, culture, customs, traditions and practices from those of Egypt and Mapungubwe, in particular. For us to know and understand African culture, we should try and reconstruct it(in part) from the different groups within the 10(ten) peoples of South Africa; they have to use their perceptions, and conceptions of themselves, through their languages, in order for them to begin to know and learn more about their peoplehood, and human-being hood, about the nation. In the description below we will start by exploring and learning from the culture of the Basotho and what it is that their culture is about. It should be borne in mind that this culture is the same and similar to other cultures of the 10(ten) people, and it is used to make that point even much more clearer. Citing Fanon was one way of also trying to point out that the way of understanding and knowing culture can be one way of liberating and helping African people to rebuild their cultures, customs, traditions, languages and practices in the process of building a nation.
This runs contrary to what those of the crew of Black Consciousness (excluding Bantu Biko) who consistently spoke against their traditional cultures and traditions. This was clearly articulated by Prof. Njabulo Ndebele is his early writings(Now the Vice Chancellor of Cape Town University) in the early 1970s that:
“The Blacks(Africans) must set about destroying the old and static customs that have over the past decades made Africa the world’s human zoo and museum of human evolution. When customs no longer cater for the proper development of adequate human expression, they should be removed. Almost all the so-called tribal customs must be destroyed, because they cannot even do so little as to help the black man get food” (1973: 82)
To believe that the present state of African culture, traditions, rites and practices show a total misunderstanding of one’ culture and its role in African people’s lives-neither is it Kosher for Africans to see the same person now a vice-chancellor of an elite European University(maybe by making such statements, the Professor was preparing himself for the kind of position he now holds today). Someone wrote that this reflects the a-historical view which has so dominated academic debate in South Africa, a perspective that believes that people want to lave their traditional roots behind for “development” or “modernity”. Such hogwash! Balderdash!
Before dealing with culture and so forth of the Africans in South Africa, when it comes to issues of ancestors, this really raises some questions about the African professor who says that Africans must discard of the old and decrepit culture for modernity. But,then, here is what Chief Seattle, in his 1854 Oration had to say about immortality and ancestors:
“Your dead cease to love you and the land of their ‘nativity’ as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander away beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return. Our(Red-man [so-called Indians]) never forget this beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender fond affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the happy hunting ground to visit, guide, and console, and comfort them. Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are powerless. Dead, did I say? There’s no death, only a change of worlds.”
In order to make my point clear about the importance of culture which other consider to be a ‘zoo’ and museum’ that should be discarded, we will cite Inayatullah who militated: “As American indians told the New Age appropriators, ‘if you desire to us our symbols, our names, our dances, our mysticism, then you must as well participate in our pain, in our defeats, in our anguish. You must also see us in humanity, good and evil, and not as ‘noble savages’. It is the arbitrary exclusion of certain dimensions of history and self that become problematic.”
It is there fore important for Africans to begin to re-evalutate and write down their lived cultural experiences and not asking for directions from anyone who really does not know anything about their culture. That is why below we are going to explore the real culture of Africans and using the actual wording to present it to the world, and this is open to correction form the African south African community and will be duly adjusted or corrected according to the input of the people who have a much more better understanding of the cultures about to be talked about and discussed below.
The Ways, Culture, Traditions, Customs and Practices of the Basotho
Historical Correction is in order here. The Zulus, Xhosas, Basothos, Batswanas, Bapedis, ManNdebele, AmaSwazi, VaVendas and Shangaan, Khoisan, are all Nguni/Bakone people and they are not different from one another except as to their way they talk, inflection, deflection, accent, tonal style or different words in the languages, but what they say and mean at different times in their languages, whenever compared, one to the other, they are the saying the same thing, and they practice the same culture, customs and traditions and so on. For people to claim that they know the African culture of South Africa, but not really knowing the “Lived Cultural, Traditional and Customary Experiences,” cannot really claim that they know the Nguni/Bakone of South Africa. When the 10(ten) people refer to themselves as Nguni/Bakone, it means the same thing to each of them, the work that needs to be done is to show the sameness, and no differences in the culture-and difference shown should be to highlight the diverse nature of the African peoples customs, tradition, cultures and language, but cohesively one big coherent whole, and that it is a national culture with various shades and forms, but one culture. What is missing from the analysis or historicity of the Nguni/Bakone cultures, is their emphasis and proping-up of the material culture(as shown on pictures in the Photo Gallery) history itself, and so on. The paucity of information and ignorance of the Culture, Customs, Traditions and practices of the various Nguni/Bakone people which we have posted on in the Photo Gallery, in of themselves show some similarities in dress and other dress, dance[with some variation for women depending on the clan, for instance, "ukuGiya or ukuSina ", in Zulu, "Mohobelo" and "Mokgibo " in Sesotho]; though the two be different in writing and pronunciation, and diction, this does not mean the Basotho are different from the Shangaan, but they are a variation of the other, but same at the core cultural values, practices and ways of looking utilizing the rules of behavioral governance and ways of comportment and so forth as the culture dictates; and the Xhosa “ukuXhensa” Basothos “Mokgibo” or “Mohobelo”; both have their own grace and movements, that is “Mohobelo”, “Mokgibo”, and ukuXhensa and “umTjitjimbo” both look more or less the same, different songs, but similar bodily movement, stick carrying and singing in unison or solo, duet or as a group. The myth is being perpetrated in trying to tell the Africans in South Africa that they are divided between the Sotho/Venda and Nguni, Zulu and What? Now, my point in this colloquy is to point out to the fiction that Africans in South africa are different without the writer knowing the language and core cultures of these inhabitants of South Africa. I am saying that Biko, and all the writers I have utilized here help me make a very confident deduction to the contents of my Hub, that is, The African South Africans, whom I have dubbed the “10 Peoples” are one nation and their culture is the same, and that, in effect, Mapungubwe cannot be understood without understanding the language, culture, customs and traditions of the Nguni people of South Africa. And the Nguni/Bakone people of South Africa cannot be fully understood without knowing and fully understanding the civilization of Mapungubwe.
Getting to know the Ways, Culture and Customs Of The Basotho, will be like knowing the tree and it s fruits, so writes Azariele Sekese. He goes on to say that ancient Basotho made commitment to the ways of their culture. He talks about the fact that if our ancestors, having left us customs, culture and traditions, they will sooner encourage us to deal with these issues of the future. He says we must use that which enhances our well-being and discard of the useless old ways of culture. He does not encourage the Basotho to forget their past and customs. He advices that if Basotho people adopt the news ways. That they should then not be surprised if they come across unknown accidents. But, as a warning, he says that we should not cast away our culture because when accidents happen, we do not have a back-up system, and the older ways of living life was safer and much more sturdier. Sekese says that he wrote the Culture, custom, traditions and practices to continue the work done by his ancestors in preserving the Basotho Culture. He reckons that it will uplift the Bakone known as the Basotho even though we may no more trust the ways of culture, customs and tradition, and me exports the Basotho to teach this ways of culture to their children.
To know a people better is to know their language. The languages of the “10 people” are choc- full of cultural meanings and explanations, idiomatic expression, sage factoids and other linguistic expression within which history is embedded and can be gleaned from that. There are “10 major”ethnic divisions of Africans in South africa. You can find some of their origins from Phalaborwa, the one where iron and copper were dug during the civilization of Mapungubwe.. The Sothos were skilled craftsmen, renowned for their metalworking, leather working, wood and ivory carving. The were some of the earlier stone builders, and they have been respected by historians as some of the most ancient people that have resided in south Africa, and the Bafokeng are recognized as the Nguni in culture, as well as the rest of the “8 people”; one is going to find every time the Nguni/Bakone people have one identification of themselves: Nguni/Mokone. Having repeated this so many times, we will now look at the Basotho as a case study of the Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices of the Basotho. the reader must always keep in mind that although we are discussing the culture, customs and traditions of the Basotho, we are getting a birds-eye view of the entirety of the culture of the Nguni/Bakone peoples of South Africa, because I have maintained and still do up to the writing of these lines that it is the same culture and one nation with a variety brand as its hallmark and traditional longevity.
Nguni/Bakone Culture is Alive; Lived Cultural Experiences
Cultivated Cultural Speak
1. Marriage, Pregnancy, Bringing up the Baby and Infant Orientation( Lenyalo, Kemaro, Kuruetso)
Marriage(Lenyalo): This has customary procedure through which this takes place. When a young man indicates to his elders that he want to get married, he does by symbolically kicking the milk bucket. He wakes up in the morning, to let them suckle their offspring, whilst everyone is sleeping an he. The parents know immediately on seeing him do that and begin asking around about possible mates; and if they approve of her mannerisms and how she holds herself in public, they send someone, who when he gets to his destination asks for water, which signals to the girls parents the intentions of the messenger. The father then confers with the wife, and if they agree that their daughter can marry, they smear the messenger with some special ‘fats’, and the parents of the boy will see this asa signal that the news is good even if he had not yet told them. If their proposal had been rejected, the messenger would come looking like before he went. A cow is given to block anyone from taking or asking the girl’s parents for have hand in marriage. And any woman who is taken when she is small, the cow that is given is called, roughly, sort-of lay-bye[Insurance](it means they have her taken and they are waiting for her to grow up). The cow is called “tebeletso” (the cow that has her marked as ‘taken’ If there was no cow to be handed over to ask the hand of the woman from her family, a ‘hoe’ or necklaces and beads were used and accepted.
Guarantee or Insurance – Cows for the Family of the Bride-to-be; [Kgomo Tsa Selelekela- ( Male and female cows for the bride’s Parents) : The brides father makes the marriage plans known to his family, and the father of the groom makes the news known to his side; i.e.,the grooms father tells is father, or the boy’s uncle and they are the ones who will be the chief negotiators with the bride’s people( “Ho ratha) )The grandfather are the main people for the boy, even if they might invite someone prominent or eminent in the community, the first two remain the main negotiators. The cows that are going to be handed to the ‘bride-would-be’ people, are driven by the by their neighbors and all those who have something to do with the coming wedding. There are then those cows that are hidden in case the talks do not go as hoped for. When the cows that are intended to be handed to the brides family, the aunt, his father’s sister or the boy’s mother, who then shouts, “here, take this walking stick (“Tshwarang lere’ ), and the beer for the handing of the ‘walking stick’ is drunk first( Jwala ba lere’ ) The bull and the milk cow are for the father(bull) and the mother(milk cow) of the bride. In Sesotho these are known as “Kgomo tsa Selelekela”[ In short, in Sesotho culture these are called “ya seholo-holo(ya ho tswala- the one that is the bull-to give off offsprings ); the female one for the mother (“ya letswele(ho antsha- For suckling the young ” ). These two cows are hurriedly driven by young boys, who when they enter the homestead, the women of that village ululate and gather some sticks(‘ ba phalla mekoulwana(Mefeng), and hit these animals to turn them back, whilst the shepherds push them hard to insert them in the brides people kraal( ‘sakeng’ ); when the shepherds eventually manage and lock the cows in the brides people kraal(‘ sakeng’ ) they approach the men of the bride’s people and say, The one for the one is the red one, and the black one is for the mother. They are thanked by being given a calabash of beer, and on their way home then meet with the others from their homestead who are driving the main body of the cows towards the ‘bride-to-be’s’ place. The children from the grooms village, pair the cows according to their groups, and walk both in front and on the sides of the herd, this is done so that the brides’ people would not be able to count them until they are locked-up inside the kraal( ‘sakeng’ ) Those they come upon in the sanctum of the village,because they are intent on marrying the girl, they then proclaim that “A son born is like the first bull of the herd( “Ngwana was moshemane ke pholo ya letlaka.” ). But the women standing outside compound and claim that the kraal(Lesaka) is not full but it is empty( “Ha lea tlala(lesaka), le mariba”) With their ululation they proclaim that the wedding can now take place. On that day the owners of the homestead wear rags so that they can be stripped of them by the groom’s people. Once the cows are interned inside the kraal(‘lesaka’) they all sit down by the door of the kraal and greet their neighbors and the visitors9′Dumelang being’},whereupon they enter the kraal and count the cows, and silently headed back into their house. Afterwards they send two men with the cow that that they count as not being there, and increase the lot already sent which by now is inside the kraal(‘ lesakeng’ ) And heads of the brides’ people say, “Rea boka kgomo eo, nyalang E-reng funya-funya, re bona(di hlahiseng ka bongata re di bone) [just keep on adding and show the cows to us in the large numbers and let’s see them) The start counting from 25 cows and three goats(‘ Dipodi’ ) The father of the bride has two people to pacify( ‘thetesa bohadi’ ) the grooms’ people; at the same time, it is he, the bride’s father,who will tell the groom’s people when to stop in terms of how many cows they’ll need to have to marry. In the latter modern days, a horse is used and is called the ‘shepherd’( ‘Modisana ‘). And this horse has become a requirement at the end of the deal with cows and goats. When the cows from the grooms’ people reaches eleven, they sort of ‘fine’ them with one bull by the bride’s father; twenty cows, the fine is two bulls. the cow of Selelekela(the one that was sent ahead before ll the cows were sent to the bride’s place, is never explained. The ancients used to permit those with many cows to marry, and they also allowed those with a few cows to marry. all this was depended on the bride’s father so long as he does not burden his neighbors(grooms people) who want to mary his daughter. But as for nowadays since the cows are used so much, it is much out of greed rather than being an outcome of our cultural, traditional and customary laws. The kings used to offer many cows for their marrying someone, and those who married the king’s daughter. In the ancient days, our great-great-grat, great-gandmothers were married even if her family was given hoes for tilling the ground as part of her hand being asked in marriage of their son. A lot has gone awry in many marriages as a result of cows being used as cash nexus or having been introduced in the agreements involving people getting married. Some marriages in the ancient times were successfull even when a healthy dosage of snuff was offered as part of what their family could afford. Some met and got married in the hustle, bustle and confusion of the “Difaqane”(Scatterings),and the off springs were named according to the conditions its parents finds themselves in.”
O ne can see from the descriptions of Azariele Sekese that there were formal traditional and customary manners through which married became a community activity and much jostling that takes place in different stages of the whole marriage process, like the offering of cows as a means of combining different communities, peoples and families. Sekese also observes that modernity, with its greed patterns has destroyed the marriage customary set-up by introducing cows and greed, and yet, he confirms that the older generation used whatever was necessary to seal the marriage union, and that was what mattered: hoes, snuff and other gifts were often used and accepted, and the marriages lasted longer. One can also see the community and its reaction, participation and involvement in the marriage of their neighbors, i.e., how Africans(Basotho- who are Nguni/Bakone) we really living like, and some of these cultural-traditonal-customary and language are still being used today, as they now can be traced to antiquity by really understanding Mapumgubwe as an extension of South African Civilization in its various forms and manifestations . We also learn the patterns and approaches young men performed whenever they felt they were ready to get married. We also learn about the “Difaqane”(Scatterings”), how they tore-apart the culture, customs, traditions and practices of the Nguni/Bakone people in South Africa. The society of the Basotho, like the other societies of the Nguni/Bakone people, were cultured and had bonafide customs and traditions which were the heartbeat of these societies and existence. Marriage as described above, gives flesh to the notion that Africans in South Africa are one, as we shall see with the Zulus, Xhosas, Pedi’s, Tswanas, Swazis, Ndebele, Shangaan, Shona/Venda people, it might be the language that is different, as I have already discussed this point within the Hub above, but the customs, traditions, cultures and practices (and languages too, if it can be really studied in a holistic manner, will prove what I am saying about language to be true) are the same. So that, if we were to understand what the culture and social life was like in Mapungbwe, we will be more knowledgeable about the culture, customs, traditions and languages of the Nguni/Bakone people in full. Most people who write about South Africans do not know that at the core of their cultures there are ways and means through which the culture breathed, sustained and perpetuated itself. Yes, the African ‘city slickers’ behave in oddly Westernized manners which is in sharp and stark contrast to their Nguni/Bakone lived culture; yet, most of them when they head back to their village, weekends, holidays or leave and off days, suit up in their traditional garb and live like or become immersed within the culture of their people as I have discussed above, and shown in Pictures in the Photo Gallery, with a tinge of change here and there; but it is mainly, the same cultural, traditional, customary and linguistic reality that is still alive an kicking in South Africa that we are concerned with here. It also going to be important that we study the effects and affects of “Difaqane” [Scatterings] and how this cataclysmic catastrophe destroyed all societies in south Africa[in a later/future Hub], and this may have even affected Mapungubwe, because, South Africa was its wealth, backyard and social engineering which was still in a process of developing when it was disturbed by ” Difaqane” (Scatterings) and “The Boer Trek” and the coming of Colonization, Apartheid, and Imperialism, is what is of interest here. We will look further into the culture of the Basotho further again.
The Portioning of Slaughtered Cow Parts to those whose Right it is to be Apportioned for, and Issues Related to RESPECT- (Dikabelo Ka Ditho ho ba Nang le Ditshwanelo, le Ka Hlonepho)
Seyakabaeng;(That which will for the Brides’ or That which goes for those married or are senior to the family) Ke Letsoho ,meaning that this part of the cow special cut (” Letsoho”, the cow’s hand(foot and hoof) is fried on the fire for the groom’s in public; the husband to the birdes sister, if he hs donated a cow towards the the bries people, or the head of the houselhold(who is considered a ‘king’), if he too has contributed a cow to those whose daughter is being married. When the dues to the bride have been completed, the groom and his people welcomed with joy, and fed brewed some home-made beer, the brides people peoclaim to all and sundry that they have to be given respect and love. When the groom is around, he and his bride are brought together and they use the ‘bile’ of the cow that was slaughtered on behalf of the brides people, and this bile ceremony is called “Mohlana” (of-the bile), it is well packaged or boiled, it is then taken to the groom’s household along with all the other parts of the slaughtered cow that was given for that purose to the bride’s people.
The one who was sent by the groom’s people to go and ask for the in marriage with the groom is given ‘ mohlanana-o-monyane(sefutsi, kapa [..or] nkonotelo’) . The part called “Meletsa” i s cooked for the boys and girls(girls are served before the boys are fed. This is the meat they will eat when they and the girls are corralled. they play the game all night, although nowadays this game that was played ends up with some girls pregnant, usually it tis the the girls who are brides bridesmaids and others who are her friends This game was ended and stopped because the fathers of these girls refused to send their girls in the corralled setting, due to the result of having the girls ending up pregnant.
Di ya ka baeng:Those parts that will go to the grooms’) These are the two hoofs (feet or ‘maoto’ ) of a cow that has been slaughtered. One part is for the bride’s people; they can either cook it there or in their own homestead, and that is their choice to make.The innards that go to the bride’s people are: 2 jaws, a thigh, one frontal leg ( ‘letsoho ‘ ), the cow’s skin, and the head with jaws. At the groom’s place, they get: the chest, thigh; joints and bones, frontal foot, for the frontal legs( ‘Matsoho’ ) are going to be fire fried for the men, the other frontal leg is for the men in at the groom’s. The intestines, heart and liver and other innards are left behind. During the might is when the women eat the intestines and the innards, and it is at this is time when the women will eat the left-over innards; if they are the thieves, the silently call on each other without ululating. The women who ate the innards, intestines and spleen and kidneys, are the ones who are going to cut the grass and this will be used refresh and support that which is going to build house or something else.
‘Matlala’ is the name given to all the parts listed: 1. Mala a bitswang Manyeme (special parts of the Intestines ); 2. The contents form the part that is called “Mohlana”; 3. Lump of kidney and all these are cooked for grandfather and grandmother. This the meat that when its cooked and given show the respect for the parents. If the grand parents have passed away, they still get to be cooked “Matlala” (all the named parts named 1 to 3, above. After these have been dished-up, they will be taken to the room where the grandparents will eat it, in the evening when everyone is asleep. The following, the people of the house will say: “The Ancestors(The Dead) have eaten, and as we eat what they had, we will just only lick the sides of the pots, that is, where the elders have left us the “left-overs”, when they were eating. If the “Matlala are not made, then will come the day when our young girl gets sick while living as a married person at her new place of abode (at the groom’s homestead), the seers/healers will say the cause of the illness as: “That the grandfather and grandmother who have passed are displeased with her, and they are complaining and pointing out the were not given their ‘ Matlala’ , and would have felt that they were being “Respected”, if these were cooked for them. If the son has built himself a house or homestead away from his father’s home, and he gets married and also eats of the “Matlala” he is supposed to take a cow from his herd to his father and mother, so that they can eat the cow, instead of the “Matlala” that were designated for them.
Pholo ya Moqhoba: The Primary bull that is slaughtered In May when the hair of the cows begin to grow, and it is at this time the woman is taken to “Moqhobeng” , at the boys home.When they get closer to the boy’s homestead, early in the morning, they sit down, and the people of the boys homestead will come out to meet their brides by sending their own girls carrying beads which they give to their bride, and help her up. The bride and her entourage carry on this act of sitting down, and every time given something until when they tire, they are given the child (infant) to the people of the boy.
Once they enter the home of the boy, they are given food(the bride and her little party), the refuse it and sleep hungry. Very early the next morning they go down to the water well, they sweep their home and the yard, they grind corn, the prepare cornmeal, and even though they will finnish cooking, they do not eat until a goat of “Kwae” , which is put in their food for them to consume. The only agree to eat once this goat has been slaughtered. It is still being done today.
In the evening, a house is cleared-up where the girls will meet with the boys, and they play the whole night, in the meantime they will feasting on the “Kwae” ‘ s goat meat, in their corralled habitat. In the morning, the women who had accompanied the bride to the boys’ place( “Moqhobeng” ), the family show them the cow of “Moqhoba” , and if it is too small in size and does not satisfy the women, they refuse to take it; and if they are given a big one, they agree and it is slaughtered, they take the inner parts and other special meat cuts to the girls’ homestead(to the girls’ parents and people), ; be that as it may be, the bride will not have long to stay at her parents’ homestead. After they finnish the meat of “Moqhoba” , they send the bride to the grooms’ place and homestead.
When she returns permanently to her marriage, and lives with her husband, she wakes up in the wee-hours of the morning, goes to the watering-hole, grind the corn or wheat, sweeps her place nd the whole yard, and she cooks. Upon her arrival at her husbands’ homestead, those at the grooms begin to eat “Thaha-meso” (hot fresh morning porridge). She will will sleep together with her husband’s mother. They will meet and sleep together as man and wife when their house (“Leqatha”) is built and finished. But nowadays, it is no more like that. The day her house(Leqatha- [the new house built peers for the newly-weds]) is complete, they go about building the wall ( “ho batehwa lebota” ), the bride,at that time leaves and heads back to her parents’ home, and as she does so, it is claimed that she is scared of the wall ( “o tshaba lebota”), and when she come back to her new house she will carrying a lot of beer and meat and gives all that to her groom’s people, and the only thing whe will take to her new house ( “Leqatha), when the sun goes down, will be a jar of beer.
Her husband will then have to invite a man he knows drinks beer or has been drinking beer with him. When the sun goes down, the man and the boy propose a game, or should I say sleep together. In that way if the girl is not a virgin, early in the morning, when the man realizes this, he quickly moves away from her; the next day, early in the morning and he opens up the gate for the cows and takes them into the field (“Mohoba”) to eat without allowing the young ones to suckle, which will enable them to return home when the sun warms-up.When they are in the open grassy ‘velds’, “Mokhoabong” by the watering-hole, he smears (“Neta”) the one he loves most with mud, and proceeds to make a big hole on his blanket along the area of his shoulder (see photo gallery, Basotho like to wear blankets because the Malulti [Khahlamba] or Drakensberg mountains are full of snow and cold, and Lesotho, their country, is nestled amidst those high mountains – my two cents). When he arrives at home in the evening bringing the cows to the kraal ( “Lesaka” ), he goes on to sit on top of some protruding rock( “Lefika’ ). When the elderly man see his actions, they know that the bride is not a fvirgin nd may have been sleeping around or had an affair or affairs. They take her back to her parents home and sort of fined( “Hlahlwa”- “Kweneho” ) cows because the will now be a need to look for someone else. The new bride might be subject to the same process if found out that she has already slept with another man, these women are called “dinokwane” (akin to cheaters)s , because they may have had pre-matrital sex and the new one would have been checked after three months of her arrival in her marriage. The second woman will suffer the same fate, and she will have to crate an fil a jug with beer and with humility, and when she return come back a different jug filled with beer, to pay the one who gave her the first jug. This is still being done today.
The Young Men Who Have Made to Marry and Those Who are eligible Bachelors (” Bahlankana Ba Nydisitsweng Le Masoha” ) The father of young men are supposed to encourage and make them get married, because they young bucks are prone to breaking up established homes. In ancient times such cases and charges by the young men used to embarrass their fathers. If a young man or eligible bachelor is found guilty of prostitution (“Bofebe” ), the accused becomes the father, becasue it said that the guilt/wrongdoing perpetrated here is that the father did not make his son to settle down and get married even though the father could see that he was in the state and stage of getting married, so the young is bound to run fowl because of the shortcomings of his old man. A young man who runs foul of the customs and traditions of the clan when he is married, does not render the father as being the accused nor guilty, just because his son is seen as having committed this crime, in fact, the son who is the accused is regarded as a prostitute( “Sefebe” ); even when the son decides to get married the second time, even though the first one he was helped by his parents to mary, but with the new and second bride does not bind his father to the son’s choice to marry a second wife, and the son takes out his own cows, but, the old man will always pitch in because the boy is his child and loves him very much. “Even though I do not know what is happening throughout Lesotho today, I will simply talk about what I have actually seen with my two eyes in ” Leribe”, which is in Lesotho. I once saw a man standing in front of the council in front of his accusers who was made to answer for the misdeeds of his married son. In my heart I said they are spoiling and destroying a just custom with an unjust made-up custom.” The father of the girl was angry and hopping mad at the son’s father who was a man in his own house and married. Even the council was mad at the father because he could not answer the questions they were asking and the problem for the father was that he was not present when the son committed these offense of which the father is now being accused of. The son was there sitting amongst the lynch-mob-like men that was attacking and accusing his father.” (Sekese).
The Son-in-law at his Wives’ home ( “Mokhwenyana Bohweng”). Whenever the son-in-law visits the home of his wife, they do not call him with his name meaning all those of his wife’s people. To call him by his name is to show disrespect (“ho sa mo hlonephe” ). The bride, is called “Mmanyeo” (Mother of Someone, even though she might not yet have had a child), and this is done so that those of her father’s people will be able call the father with the name of his child.the man who has had children rom his first marriage and brings them to his second marriage, he continues to be called by the names of the children of his first wife. some women run away from their husbands even though they live with them. These ways of behaving are a modern manifestation, amongst the “Batlokwa”, “Mkholokwe”, “Maphuthing” and the “Matebele” (amongst the Zulus) This is perturbing and disturbing trend nowadays. The siblings of the bride, the girls, they help her to be able to maintain respect amongst her in-laws and to her in-laws. Those names that are directly related to the son-in-law but instead use unknown names not related to him whenever they are addressing him.
The Laws for Daugters-in-Law( “Melao Ya Dingwetsi”) When a girl is taken to her in-was, she is given a set of laws by her elders, and by adhering to them would help and enable her to respect her in-laws. 1. First of all she must listen to and hear her mother-in-law( “Matsalae “) who is older than her, and her mother-in-law who is female; she must listen to all the things and instruct her on as if it were her own parents who gave birth to her; she must also respect all those who are related to her husband in-laws in all forms and manner of their relationships; she must feed all and any of them by showing kindness and caring and respect( “Hlompho” ) and finally, must love all and everyone of them. 2. She must never make her parents hear embarrassing and shameful things about her from her mother-in-law or from her husband.She must always remember that when she got married, cows were given to her and her parents by the father and mother of the son-in-law, and these by now may be wasted in many ways, and thus, in this way, may be putting her parents and people in big trouble. 3. She must try her utmost and apply all her knowledge, experience and working hard to please her man, his parents, and must love them as if she was born in that house. 4. She must be energetic and efficient in her working schedule at her in-laws. 5. She must listen to the instruction of her mother-in-law. 6. She must feed her husband in a timely fashion, and she must not be greedy for food; she must feed the children at her in-laws like they are her siblings. 7. She must keep her house clean, presentable and respectable, and, she must keep her husband happy at all times. 8. “Yes, my child, a daughter’s fate is to go and die amongst strangers or foreigners, and she will be lost or buried according to the customs and traditions of those people and that place” ( “Eya Ngwnaka! Ngwana wa Mosestasana o shwela ditjhabeng, o lahlwa ka lehlalo la moo a nyetsweng teng”) 9. Oh my child, do not spoil our name and custom in the houses of those that have married you and brought you into their families; and they should not be asking: “who actually is her father? “Who really is her mother”?
Pretense and the Tricks of the Bride ( “Boiketsiso Le Maqheka A Dingwetsi” ) There are two or three ways that are used by married-women whenever they come to live with their in-laws. some girls grow up with some weird and ugly mannerism when they are younger: or maybe its the type of inherited mannerism, of which it is said that ( “Ngwana Tadi o Bonwa Ka Mereto(mebala) – You can see and tell a person’s character/beingness by the way they were treated and behaved/brought-up in the presence of the presence and when they show their true colors(rough interpretation); or some idiomatic expression which goes: “Leshala Le Tswala Molora” Out of solid black coal one gets ash [This sometimes means out of a good family sometimes comes out a horrible and devil-like child]. The brides come to live with their in-laws carrying their own personal character flaws( “Dirwala” ["Phahlelo" ]) ‘Serwala sa pele’ (the first baggage is that which is not spoken about by the brides’ people, an unusual characteristic embedded within that particular lady unusual for ladies her age. This baggage that the elders do not speak about, or the carelessness of their daughter, or that she might be a kleptomaniac or very aggressive bordering on meanness. That is the baggage that even the bride herself tried to hide, and just because these mannerisms are are not in accordance to cultural norms and norms, she is always overcome by her being used to them, that they eventually prop-up and rear their ugly head and mannerism, and makes it difficult for her to hide it. Nonetheless, in the early days of her arrival, as she gears herself o at cordially, but trying to be kind eludes her, she cannot pretend or grasp the act of being good, it is foreign to her and the act itself! she is incapable of pursuing these norms in a loving way so that she may live like a person who has love for all around her, she merely lives the custom culture so far as it takes her to the point whereby those might not yet be familiar with the towns or village people
We have seen above how a bride was advised and instructed before she left her home and went in to live at the in-laws with her husband. She has worked her way into her new family using tricks of being kind and the like because she was as a new member of the husbands’ family that was also standing in her way. In this way she looks promising like a bird that is called [” Thetsa Badisana['tsatse']” (The bird that fools the shepherds). Even tough she might work that way, pretending to be be doing good and kind things and exceptional behavior all round, , those at her betrodal are made away by the passers -by((“Mafeta Tseleng” regarding her behavior and they say: ( “Le se ke la re khola, empa le tla mo bona le lona”) You should not necessraily believe us, you see her yourself – an if their bride keeps on repeating and acting as the (” M afeta ka Tsela”) Passers by who act as informants”) had cautioned them that they ‘should not believe hem, but they’ll see her themselves’, that as goes up and down her cores, the in-laws start winking at each other and realize with embarrassment and sadness all what their ( “Mafeta ka Tsela”) passers-bye who acted as informants told them was true. At first they thought that it was all gossip and jealousy, or that they hated their bride. And it was with those doubts and giving their bride the benefit of the doubt that they set out to marry her for their son. Now because they caused their own misery, “no one is going to cry for them” ( “Baiketsi ha llelwe”) Those who refuse to listen when told or cautioned is noticed by the result of having bloodied with blood” (“Se hana ho bollelwa/ho jwetswa se bonwa ka madi”). So when they see for themselves that she is a prostitute (“Sefebe) , a kleptomaniac (“wa utswa”) , thieve (“Leshodu” , very lazy (“Botswa”), very careless and clumsy (“o lehlaswa”), liar (” o leshano “), conniving, (“ke molotsana”), Treacherous and trickster-conman, full of tricks (“o mano”) , and so forth. All these are terrible and bad because the bride will have embarrassed herself and shamed her parents,her husband parents,her husband, along with her own parents.
What is being spoken about here is the month she goes back to her in-laws, where she then begins her pregnancy (“Letladi, kgwedi e a boetseng morao ka yona” [qalo ya kemaro]). From that day onwards she is not allowed to cut her hair from her head. On the six or seventh month, she is then returned to her parents’ home to ( “bipa”) – to hide her pregnant stomach with a small cloth. At he parents they proceed to hide her stomach with an cloth or skin of a sheep or cow. When the time comes for her parents to take her back to her place of her in-laws), they slaughter for a sheep or cow and then put around her neck a special tail-string (Kgweetsa”) , which is a small tail of a small baby cow/sheep directly opposite her throat(this means the Basotho believe is wearing that tail in her hear this is strung along with the frontal feet of the “Nakedi” along with its nails). At this stage, no one is allowed to stand or walk behind her, it dos not matter who it is. When she is back to her in-place, the same month the in-laws send her back to her parents home to go and give birth, on the seventh month. On the eighth month of her pregnancy called “Motlahadi” (time of expectation). When his wife bears a child and it is a boy, the man is informed whilst he is relaxing and him being told that his wife bore a man, and those of his family members will hit him hard with a stick, and say ["we give a child who is a boy"]- (“re o nea ngwana wa moshemane”) If it is a girl, one of the women will pour water all over him whilst he is still sleeping an say: “We give you a girl” (“Re o nea morwetsana”) Such was the manner of announcing infants, and it seems like it has vanished now. When the child is born, he or she undergoes what is called (“ho Lomolwa”- “ho Qethiswa”) before the infant is suckled on her mother. Immediately afterwards, beer is brewed ( “Ratholwa” ) and it is called “Leswatsa”) . On the pregnant woman a reed (“Lehlaka” ) is put on wha, to block peoople from coming into the room she is with her infant, at the same time, the it retains a symbolical meaning that man has emerged or riginated from the reed (“Motho o tswa lehalkeng”) it is called “Seotlwaneng”). The fire in the room of a woman who has just given birth to an infant is never allowed to die or flutter out. The reason why the woman who is about to give birth is sent to her parents, is because since giving birth is such a difficult process, and she might fail to give birth, it has been thought better to be in the care of her parents, so that if any mishap takes place, the will not be able to complain that if it were them who were present, this or that would not have happened. The parents and the people of the bride are given all the chances to do all that they know to help her giver birth successfully. This has been done purposely so that the woman giving birth should be well taken care of by her mother who will fed her properly. It is also observed that the bride, from the days she was growing up has always pined for and always longed for her mother, and particularly in times of trouble and chaos and pain.
Women during the period of their Pregnancy (“Basadi Motswetseng”); When the woman has given birth, she is handled with care and love, and they help with all that she needs in her having given birth-state; they take water for her to wash, corn meal to make her special morning porridge (“Lesheshele”) , they cook it for her and even feed her. The food for the husband and the children are cooked along with hers because they left their homes to come to her birthing occasion. Others who ‘put in a hand’ end up in the end going back to their homes. The pregnant woman inside the reeds is fed offered that tastes sour, like a special porridge called “Leting” and beer (“Bojwala”) – made of mielie corn fermented over some few days). Mostly they give “Lesheleshele” – fermented corn meal served as soft porridge, and this is fed to her for a full month. The women who are helping the pregnant woman show joy and happiness in the celebrations that are carried out during the time of her pregnancy. Before they disperse, the women helping the bride grind corn, a stuff and pack the powdery corn into cans and granaries , so that the pregnant women should not be grinding and putting too much pressure on her back and the developing infant in her stomach. The woman who does not help at the place the pregnant woman is or lives, she too will not be helped they day she becomes pregnant and need such help. Any person who comes from there then they are allowed to meet in the village is not immediately accepted nor allowed to go in the “L ehlakeng “(Reed). The custom is such that the person should wait some alloted time, then they meet the woman who has just borne the child; but if they are burning to see her, they will have to wipe their feet on the ember of a dying fire, they they can go in and see her. The people who come from adjacent villages, this is because it is believed that on their way to seeing the pregnant woman, they have jumped over bewitching stuff, those that have been placed on the way for evil purposes. The infant top of the had has drawn on it a cross, lest the evil witchcraft that has been lain and plied along the road the visitor passed might squash the child’s little brain, and it never heals nor grows until the infant dies. This is not only limited to the visitors, but as in the case of a woman who has given birth to a baby and goes and worked in the cornmeal fields, she has to do the same customary pattern of cleansing herself like a visitor, because some people burn evil medicine to increase their crops(this can be seen practiced by the ( Matebele) , these too affect the pregnant woman and detrimental to the baby.
The Customary Way of Helping fed the infant Porridge by Making it drink it (“Mokgwa Wa Ho Nwesa Ngwana Motoho”). When the child has just been born, it is made to be made to drink the milk by a woman who has just woken up from sleeping in her house, wake up early, with no one seeing her, and not wash herself and hands yet, and make the infant drink the milk long before it started suckling from its mother, from her hand. This is done in order that whoever comes in the “Lehlakeng” , (Reeds) coming from wherever, according to whatever custom, that the child will not suffer the ” Lebote” (the slow implosion and not healing of the top of the infant’s head where the skull has not yet gelled), but is still pulsating), which will have been prevented by the woman who inoculated ( “Entwa”) the infant in the manner described above. This is done because anyone who comes and enters the “Lehlakeng” (Reeds) carries omens and other bad things that,if the woman had not fed the infant in the manner as already described above, that child will get sick, because anyone who come into their rooms might be carrying all the evils or has been doing evil deeds and things. Dirt has been the inoculation ( “Ente”) of the people of old, that even today this is still as an innoculation (“Ente”) method. Sekese say that it was embarrassing when it was done by the ‘Christians”. This is also partly why the culture of Africans,if interpreted in a Western cultural and way of thinking and seeing things, we get to have cultural clashes, misunderstanding, and interpreting African culture using the cultural prism of western culture. Christianity, as we have talked about above citing Biko, created a lot of confusion when it came head-to-head with African culture.This is what The Basotho customarily say: “If the child was not given the porridge in the manner discussed above, and it so happens a woman enters his/her room after doing bad deeds, the milk the child had been suckling from its mother coms out pouring through the nose.
The Blessing, “Thanking” and “Appreciation” of the infants (“Dikananelo tsa Masea”). Children when they are are ‘blessed” (“Ananelwa” – “[Diteboho"]) and those symbols or cultural blessings are done in accordance with anyone’s birth, and this is done customarily. The Bakwena’s bless/thank the birth of their babies with a sheep or cow; yet other africans, Nguni/Bakone cultures they bless/thank the birth of a child using a goat, specifically. The acceptance of the child and blessing it gets called in the name of the “Kananelo “(thanks and appreciation) is one of the indicators that go to show how happy, and joyous are the parents. It is said that a child who has not been “Kananelwa” [blessed and appreciated] in this way will forever make her mother morosed by crying a lot all through the day.The skin of the goat, sheep or cow that was used for ” Kananelo” [blessed/appreciated] ends up being used as a “Thari” [infants sling back]. In other cultures of the Bakone/Nguni these types of blessings/appreciation for children do not exist nor practiced. In the olden days babies were made to wear a part of what was used for his “Kananelo” “[Thanking/celebrating], along with the animal’s bile. In these modern days this practice has been ignored and avoided by many people. An yet, the “Dikananelo” [blessings/appreciation] are customarily being used today and are being practiced even today, and nothing diminishes them even if they were to be compared with progress that we see today.
The strings that are put on the necks of the children- “M a thapo A Rweswang Masea Molaleng”. Infants are made to wear certain strings on their necks to make sure that he should not tilt its head onto the back, front and sideways. These strings are made in knots or plaited and their main function, according to the custom of the Nguni/Bakone, is to prevent the infant’s neck from breaking up. The shaking and tilting of the child’s neck will not result in its breaking, but a serious medical condition. Sekese feels that the danger in seeing so many strings hanging around the child’s neck, with their weight notwithstanding that might be the likelihood that the infant’s neck might have problems. Nonetheless, as of the writing of these customary practices, which are not necessarily perfect, Sekese adds: “If it was still practiced the same way today, the parents of that child needed to be arrested and sentenced to jailed. Another reason being that just because these strings have been kneaded with wet clay caused a lot of dirt to be stored on the infant’s neck, and invites ticks. Filth and dirt invite teaks which bring diseases to the infant which will cause it to die and will never have stood a chance. These strings were kept damp and ended up weighing two pounds, and that moves whilst hanging on the infant’s neck. The infants dribble, full of the porridge that’s fed the infant, and all these stay on for long periods up to the time they stink.” Some of the cultural practices were never understood as to why they existed, and this was due to the unchanging nature of the culture, and the need to discard some of these ways of culture met with stiff resistance and no compliance from the members of these societies, and this was a set back in terms of how infants got treated, but most of them, grew up to be strong lads and ladies within these communities.
The second month since the birth of the baby (“Kgwedi Ya Kuruetso”). This is the second month since the baby was born; the third moth is for “Tshehiso” , ["laughter and smiles"]; the fourth one is “tlhaba-mokhosi”. On the month of “Kuruetso”, the second month of the baby’s birth is how the infant baby is socialized into his being and existence as part of his reality amongst his peers and for himself. When it is a boy on the month of “Kuruetso” , at evening, before the rising of the moon from the south, young boys of the village are invited and form a play and they say to the child: ” Kururu! Kurruru” Molekane wa hao ke elwa”. (Kururu! Kururu!, there is your equal or peer), and the child is spun around and made to face the moon, and if it is a girl they say: “See there is your equal, your same-age-group is over there.
If it’s a boy, he is fed meat by a man of credible morals and standing, so that he might be like him. The meat that was to be given to the child, it was firstly had to be spit upon by the man. If it is a girl, they they choose a woman of good deeds, who is not disrespected by children, she too will spit on the girls meat. She must also be a very energetic and meticulous woman, listens to her husbands, not one who is rude and disrespectful, who keeps the home fires burning by staying at home, and so on.
The . Moreover, the boy whol milks the cow -second month of the birth of the child is the one involving those who milk the cows (“Kuruetso Ka Mohami wa Digomo”), on the second month of the child’s birth, and if it is a boy, or a girl, a boy is chosen who is still pure and never defiled or defiled himself(with women), is the one who will be chosen to milk the cows. Even the cow that is chosen to be milked, it should not have had copulation with a bull during the time which it nursed its calf. If the boy who milks the cows is seen to have done one wrong, this should be overshadowed by the good deeds he/she has done all their life.
The use of the first rains of the second moth to orientate the infant with nature (“Kuruetso ka Pula”). Ever since the baby was born, they have never been subjected to a drop of rain; the people say that if a drop would would land on the baby, not yet having being exposed to it through customary law of the ancients, they day he grows up up he will become a thief. For that reason, on the second moth of the baby’s birth, or the third month, on the day the first rains of that month come, the child is then put up and exposed to the rain, Even though the child may cry out loud and hard, they just laugh and simply say it is “Kuruetso”. Some playfully say to the baby: ( “Leshodu ke leo! Haiaha! Leshdu ke leo! Ke leo!) There is the thief! Haiaha! There’s the thief! The it is!”. They then quickly remove the baby whilst it is screaming and hollering from the rain.
The day of the “Koroso” is the day the young baby is taken to to its parents home. There, a cow is slaughtered. That day they say that they are eating the cow for the “Koroso”(the cow that is slaughtered), for the child’s being brought to the parents homestead. As I have said about the “Letladi” , the child’s mother was forbidden from cutting her hair; it is on this day that grown-up hair is cut at its longest points, as the ceremony of the “Koroso” of the child is taking place. Meat is taken to her by those put there to help her, and from that day it more talked about the child more than his/her mother.
The Cow that is slaughtered when the “Meja” are returned. (“Kgomo Ya Meja”) Meja are the strings that had been used to wrap the meat for the “Koroso”, and these are being returned to their owners, but this time they have tied the meat that has been slaughtered and are known as the “Child’s puke” (“Mahlatsa a ngwana”) Making the just draw a spittle is done by the elders of the of the son to his first born. This act will not be done at will of her parents.
The second child to be born or she be born when her siblings before her died before she was born is Called “Seqoma”. “Seqoma” is a child who is the second born in the family, or born after those who died before she/he was born. This type of child has been known to be very emotional, and whenever these crop-up, there is usually no reason for such outbursts of emotions, and what would help would be when the child begins to know how come he/she has such volatile emotional bursts. Many-a-times when she is seen or heard crying, there is usually no reason as to why the child would be crying.
When A man dies and leaves his wife as a widow, the brother, according to the Basotho, can step inot the role of his brother as husband and take her as his wife, this is called “Ho Kenela Mohlolohadi” ( “The taking over of the role of Husband to a widowed woman). The Basotho, when a woman becomes a widow, the assign the role of husband to the younger or older brother, of husband; but if she does not want to commit themselves to remarry amongst those of her in-laws, but he must make clear what it is he will do to help with such a situation (if she opts not to be remarried after she was now a widowed woman). and if the woman refuses to “Kenelwa” (have someone of her in-laws re-marry her), there is no one who can do anything about that should she so decide she does not want to do it). All the people will say is that, “There is nothing wrong if Mma-Peete refused to be “subjected to the custom” of being “Kenelwa” . Sekese opines that anyway, this custom of having widowed to be made to accept to “Kenelwa” , is bad, and is fraught with dangers which usually cause the breaking of homes and homestead of those already long and well settled.
1. The first danger is that maybe the man might be overcome by love of his dead brother’s wife, or she might have been the younger wife of the dead brother; this might make the heart of the incoming wife very happy, but create jealous and hatred to the man’s original wife. With that, the wife would pack her belongings and head back to her home, and uttering unspeakable denunciations directed at her man, and his relationship with the incoming widow now turned wife and the foul state of the newly-wed widow now turned wife. 2. The second danger: the second husband (Mokenedi”) might abuse the widow-now-married again partner (“ya kenetsweng”) , and also extend that abuse to her children; this in turn makes the widow-now-married wife to live in misery, and wish that when her real husband passed away, she too should have died.; and these in reality become her feelings henceforth. She ends up being teary all the time, loose significant weight and look frail as if to implode and collapse on her skeletal system. She stays in this relation because she firstly considers her children’s survival chances and the importance of her being around them because, were she to leave the homestead, the children will have to remain with the man she left. This whole could have been avoided were the relationship, at its origins, been made to balance from both sides, that of the man and the widowed wife.
Sifting Through The Ancient Embers of Culture
Culture as Communications
“What is Culture,” asks Thomas Hall. “Culture is a word that has so many meanings already that one more can do it no harm. For anthropologists culture has long stood for the way of life of a people, for the sum of their learned behavior patterns, attitudes, and material things. So, from the beginning, culture has been the special province of the anthropologist, who usually gained a firsthand experience of its pervasive power in the field during internship which follows the prescribed period of a classroom training. Most of the difficulties experienced by anthropologists is that most of them are ignorant. Honest and sincere men in the field continue to fail to grasp the true significance of the fact that culture controls behavior in deep and persisting ways, many of which are outside their awareness and therefore beyond conscious control of the individual…There is no way to teach culture in the same way that language is taught. Until recently, no one had defined any basic units of culture. There was no general agreed-upon underlying theory of culture-noway of being specific- no way for ‘B’ to get to the field and check ‘A’s results. Hall and Trager developed a method of analysis of culture. Their ultimate obbjectives incuded five basic steps:
1. To identify the building blocks of culture-what we later came to call isolates of culture, akin to the notes in a musical score.
2. To tie these isolates into a biological base so that they could be compared among cultures. We also stipulated that that comparison be done in such a way that the conditions be repeatable at will. Without this, anthropology can lay no claim to being a science.
3. To build up a body of data and a methodology that would enable us to conduct research and teach each cultural sitiuaton in much the same way that language is taught without having to depend upon such qualities as “empathy” in the researcher.
4. To build a unified theory of culture that would lead us to further research.
5. Finally, to find a way to make our discipline tangibly useful to the non-specialist.
Hall continues to make his point much more clearer as to the definition and meaning of culture thusly: “Culture hides much more than it reveals, and strangely enough what it hides, it hides most effectively from its own participants The ultimate reason for studying one’s culture is to learn more about how one’s own system works. Simply learning one’s culture is an achievement of gargantuan proportions for anyone. The best reason for the layman to spend time studying culture is that he can learn something useful and enlightening about himself/herself. This can be an interesting process, at times harrowing but ultimately rewarding. One of the most effective ways to learn about oneself is by taking seriously the culture of others, and also one’s own. It forces you to pay attention to those details of life which differentiate them form you. The complete theory of culture as communication is new and and has not been presented in one place before, and it stresses more than anything else, not what people talk about, but what people do and the hidden rules that govern people. The language of culture speaks as clearly as the language of dreams Freud analyzed, but, unlike dreams, it cannot be kept to oneself. When I talk about culutre, I am not just talking about something in the abstract that is imposed on man ad is separate from him, but about man himself, about you and me in a highly personal way.”
Culture And Its Social Origins and Power
It is at this point that I use the definition of Culture and power as explained by Wilson in this way:
“One of the most important contexts in which the alignment of individuals and groups is utilized to generate and exercise social power is that of culture . A culture is a type of “power system” which includes all of its members and the various groups and institutions which constitute it. A society or culture as a power system may be subdivided into a number of smaller and smaller power systems nested within, or organically related to, one another. The overall power of a culture or society operationally emerges from these smaller power systems which may include familial, kinship,communal, regional, and other types of social and institutional organizations.”
Wilson further adds that: “Culture is man’s adaptive dimension. “man alone among the forms of animated nature is the creature that has moved into an adaptive zone which is an entirely learned one. This is the zone of culture, the man-made, the learned, part of the environment”(Ashley Montague). If societies are to survive, they must minimally satisfy certain biological, psychological and social needs of their members. they must successfully counter those forces of nature and man which threaten their well-being and their very biological survival. Culture is the social-institutional instrument which is crucial for facilitating a people’s adaptation to the complexities of their world. Therefore its functional structure, cohesiveness, resilience, flexibility, responsivity to reality, evolutionary growth and development, or the relative lack thereof, to a very significant extent, determine its longevity and quality of life. Culture is learned and is the result of historically and conceptually created designs and patterns for living with and relating to to others and the cosmos.
The Structure Of The Family As A Power System
We learn from Wilson that, “Culture is a social machine, a power grid or system. As a holistic system it is composed of a number of sub-systems,power systems in tier own right. the family is one such fundamental cultural subsystem. It is a system of social relations, hierarchically in structure, where different members exercise different privilege, prerogatives and different levels of authoritiy. The family is a primary organization, a fundamental generator or source of power where the human and non-human capital resources of its members are pooled and shared as means of achieving its vital goals. These goals include sexual reproduction, socialization of its children, securing a common habitation, providing protection and affectional relations among its members, maintaining and enhancing the social status of its members and providing for their economic well-being.”
Wilson goes on to add that: “The family is a system where power is customarily and legally exercised; where its members are not only related by kinship ties, by blood and a shared history, but relate to each other in terms of membership rights, duties, behavioral expectations and authority. The character and personality of individual family members, especially the young, are developed, shaped and continuously influenced by the organization and exercise of power and authority inside and outside the family unit. Consequently, the family as a power system markedly influences its members’, particularly it s youngs’ attitudes toward and relationships to power and authority both within and without the family. Thus, there is an important continuity between the nature of power,its quantity, quality and organization within the family and the nature of social and power relations between the family and its physical and social environment including other families and institutions which together constitute a larger social system such as a clan, nation or culture.”
Hence, the effective nature of power generated and exercised by a culture is intimately and reciprocally related to and dependent on the effective nature of the power generated by its family and other subcultural uits. Generally, the power generated by a culture derives from the structured coalescence on interdependent family kinship groups, clans and nations for mutual defense against outsiders and other mutually beneficial outcomes. This coalescence of subcultural social units is usually organized and motivated by a mutually recognized leadership or governing establishment. This establishment usually fulfills its responsibilities through the creation, issuance and enforcement of policies. At this level of organization a culture may be defined as a political organization which exercises political power in its defense, economic and social interests as a whole, and in the interest of its subcultural group and individual members. (Wilson)
… A culture generates effective power when it aligns its subcultural, social and individual units, especially its family and communal units, in such ways that they can most effectively create and exploit its human social and material resources to its own advantage relative to its environment and other groups or cultures. What is culture” Horton and Hunt provide a workable answer to this question. “from their life experiences, a group develops a set of rules and procedures for meeting their needs. The set of rules and procedures, together with a supporting set of ideas and values,is called a culture.” Whilst Clyde Kluckhon has defined culture as all the “historically created designs for living, explicit and implicit, rational, irrational and non-rational which may exist at any given time as potential guides for the behavior of man.”
Wilson elaborate further on this point by adding: “As a set of designs for guiding the behavior of its members, i.e., a set of guidelines for directing and regulating the behavior of its members, a culture provides standards of proper cognitive, emotional, and behavioral conduct; a set of proverbial precepts as to what reality is, and an accompanying set of rationalizations or ostensible explanations for its nature and purpose. thus, culture, though a product of the actual lived experience of a people – the primal source of much of their daily personal and social activities, their forms of labor and its products, their celebratory and ceremonial traditions, modes of dress. art,music, language and articulatory style, appetites and desires – is essentially ideological in nature based as it is on shred beliefs, customs, expectations, and values.
These cultural constructs are used to proactively and reactively mold the mind, body, spirit and behavior of the constituent members of a culture. These active constructs welcome the cultural and social heritage of the members of a particular culture. Hence, culture does not exist outside and independent of its human subjects. Culture is represented symbolically and operationally in the minds and characteristically mental/behavioral orientations or style of its members, and is incarnated in the customary ways they move and use their bodies. The culture is represented “in” the minds and bodies of its members, and expresses itself through the systematic ways, they attend, experience, categorize, classify,order, judge, evaluate, explain and interact with their world. (Wilson)
Mentally, culture involves the socially shared and customary ways of thinking, a way of encoding, perceiving, experiencing, ordering, processing, communicating and of behaviorally expressing information which distinguishes one cultural group from another. All these activities are dedicated to the end of adapting the culture to the consistent and changing demands of its physical and social environment and reciprocally adapting the environment to the demands of the culture.
African South African Primary Messaging Systems
As presented above, the culture of the Basotho has its own language, meanings and way of perceiving and dealing with their reality from birth to death. Hall informs us thus: “In pursuing this problem of how one culture differs from another and ho one can communicate this difference in general terms, I first decided to accept the fact that there was no single touchstone which could be used to explain any given culture. I realized that there was no between the past and the present, in which man acts as a culture-producing animal, and the past, when there were no men and no cultures. There is an unbroken continuity between the far past and the present, for culture is bio-basic-rooted in biological activities. so, since culture is learned, it also seemed clear that one should be able to teach it. ” As hall would explain what I have just done above by describing the Culture of the Basotho is “based on [in this particular case] the informants (Basotho, talking through their culture(as noted with the actual words being used to name everything they were doing), which is their Primary Message Systems, because, as Hall says, the part of the culture of the Basotho I have broken down above involves (i) Language and some of the non-linguistic forms of communication process, and because their enmeshed in others, one can start the study of culture some of these Primary Message systems(language included, (ii) Interaction; (iii) Association; (iv)Subsistence; (v) Territoriality; (vi) Learning; (vii) Play; (vii) Defense; Exploitation(use of material).”
If we clearly understand what Hall is saying, we have then partly done that with what was the first deposition of the cultural framework of the Basotho from Marriage to Childbearing; the customs and rules that the men and women to be treated like; how a child is orientated by the members of the family and the other village community. Culture, as it begins to reveal itself, narrated in the Language of Sesotho, unfurls the hidden meanings and helps them reach their intended audience and the world-wide-virtual community After we finnish the synergy of what we have tabulated as the way of the Basotho above, and made dominant their language to say what their culture is, that on its own is putting the culture on the World Wide Web Virally and have partly helped bring about a better understanding of the culture of Africans in south Africa. What this Hub has consistently maintained is that this culture is one and the same. So, if we use, for arguments sake, the Primary Message Systems as delineated by Hall, we can thus begin to see the flesh on the skeleton of a culture that has been denied itself and denied the right to exist and damned as dead and no longer exists. Since the past in its present form is a continuum, then, the culture we see today can be better understood as a viable culture and can be adapted to the present without loosing its core. The same cultural practices, ceremonies and other cultural manifestations, are commonly found amongst the other African peoples of South Africa: The Zulus, Xhosas, Pedis Tswana, Vendas/Shonas, Basothos, Shangaan, Swazis and the Ndebele. Once we move and digitalize and make virtual the real culture of a people, by so doing we are putting and facilitating permanence by showing the language that is used by the Basotho to explain their culture, the intermingling which is made possible by communal subsistence(in the case of giving out cows in the case of a boy desiring to get married), or, Territoriality, which according to Hall, “is a technical term used by ethnologists to describe the taking possession, use, and by defense of a territory on the part of living organisms, where, in the case of man, he/she uses space for all the activities he engages. Territoriality reaches to all nooks and cranny of life. From reading about the ways of the Basotho, thus far, one can see how the territory is being used for various social activities, for humans, cows, and other spaces which we will see are being utilized by the Basotho.
So far as the culture of Africans in South Africa describes itself to the reader above, there is no way that it can be claimed, by anyone, that African South African Culture is dead and unrecognizable because the many features of the culture that has been described above, clearly show a vibrant culture, and a culture that has longevity because the remnants of some of the customary practices still persist to this day, and can be revamped to meet the desires of its owners any way they choose to engage themselves in it. One’s knowledge of one’s Cultural History gives them an option against and an antidote towards countering the myth that Africans have no past, and that they came to South African when the Dutch landed on the Cape in 1652, and that Africans killed-off the Khoi and the San to own the country and the whole bit. The people of South Africa have a chance, through this Hub and others like it, to set the record straight, and use the information, acting like a Nation of the People of South Africa, to begin to place solid foundations in their reviving of their beautiful and varied culture, which is the same and one culture. This leads us to what Hall has to say about culture: “Culture not only has great breadth and depth in the historical sense, but that it also has other dimensions of equal importance. Culture is saturated with both emotion and intelligence. Many things that man does are not even experienced, for they are accomplished out-of-awareness. But a great part of human activity is either the direct result of conscious thought of suffused with emotion and feeling. The way behavior-and culture-can be divided by the degree of awareness of feeling which attaches to it.”
If we now look at the issue of Mapungubwe, we cannot make any sense of it so long as it does not interrogate African South African Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices, which, as I have been pointing out, is the culture, custom, traditions of the people of Mapungubwe. The problems that beset Africans can be solved by reconstructing the deconstructed cultural history by clearly adding to the social life of the people of Mapungubwe, African South African history and cultural history. If, for instance, we wanted to know more about the customs of circumcision of Boys and girls in Mapungubwe, we would do well by revealing and plying them to the eons of South African African history with the contemporary circumcision schools of the 10(ten) people. Hall has this to say about the nature of the rules of culture: “Entire systems of behavior[culture] made up of hundreds of thousands of details are passed from generation to generation, and nobody can give the rules for what is happening. Only when these rules are broken do we realize that they exist. So that, too much awareness of the process of writing or speaking can get in the way of what one is trying trying to achieve, in terms of inhibiting Informal awareness. Because, we should remember that formally aware people are more likely to be influenced by the past than they are by the present or future. Formal awareness is awareness of what Appley would call “What’s right, what ought to be there”.” Like African people who have a culture, meaning a past, they are bound to be ‘influenced by the past’ than the present or the future. If one were to listen to grunts and sighs of the poor in South Africa, some think that the return of the Apartheid government would be better than what they are facing(not the majority, really); and on the other side of the coin are those who seeing that they have now gotten their freedom from Apartheid, are working assiduously to renovate and ply it with some renaissance, especially the claiming of Mapungubwe and showing its connection to the Africans of South Africa.
Surrounding all this binary oppositional points is that old regurgitating of the old mantra that Africans in South Africa have no viable culture and it has since been lost when industrialization, modernization and colonial Apartheid took over. Well, in order to give more flesh and muscle to the new conception as pursued and argued by this Hub, we will now add the second deposition about the culture of the Basotho as it involves Circumcision. It is clear that the people of Mapungubwe were practicing the same culture of circumcision as it was done by the Nguni/Bakone of ancient times and today. This should be borne in mind: the Venda/Shona of South Africa are part of the 10(ten) people of South africa and they are of the Nguni/Bakone stock, so is are their customs, traditions and culture. When we deal with the vhaVhenda/Shona people of South Africa, we will come back to the Vendas and their relationship to Mapungubwe and their being maNguni/Bakone who are African people of South Africa.
Speaking Through Culture: Spreading Customs; Practicing Customs
Lebollo La Bashemane le la Banana (The time and Period when boys and girls go for circumcision (“Lebollong”) , schoo l.
When the time came for the young men to go to circumcision school (Lebollong”), the community planted corn for them a year before they were interned the following year in “Lebollong” (Circumcisition custom), when the corn planted for them is ripe. The day the time comes for them to go to the mountains for “Lebollo” , a soldier of the people is sent to deliver a special message (“Ho mathisa Thebe”) , and when he enters the “King’s” quarters , (Moreneng) homestead, he then calls the kings genealogical history ( ‘ho roka morena” ), and says the kings’ praises, and walks through up to the council singing and reciting the king’s praises (“Dithoko” ). From then onwards, he goes on to announce to the king, (“Morena”) about the day for the celebrations.
Out of the corn that was planted for them a year ago, a huge amount of home-made beer is brewed (“ho rathwa”). Firstly, when the summer comes, the young begin to go in secret hiding. Wherever they’ll be hiding, cows are doled out to go and fetch them and these cows are fetched by the young boys. On their arrival at home and start to play a game called “Kata Macha”. This game paying is begun in the late afternoon and it is stopped when the sun goes down, when the late-early morning (“Madingwana”) is given way. They go back after three days.
As already mentioned, when the boys prepare to go in for the period of time in the mountains for customary circumcision and learning the ways of the culture as it befits men, a lot of home-made brew, and a bull is slaughtered which will be used to begin the initiation (“ho lekiswa”) , of the boys. An African doctor (“Ngaka”) is brought around to consecrate and fortify the (“Mophato wa Lebollo”) the quarters of the intitiates and initiation ceremonies, and which will also be their domicile. When the wee hours of the early morning (“Masasa”) creep in, it will be the evening when the “katwa macha” will be played, on the day and time of “Madingwane” [evening], and meanwhile await the morning hours singing a night song. The next morning some, not all of the boys are sent back to their homes. Most of the many boys that had come to the ceremony remain behind with the few that was not let off to go home, and they do so while singing the songs. When the men come from the compound (“Mophatong”) , which they had been building for the initiates, there and then the song of “Mohobelo” (a Basotho customary way of singing traditional songs), is then sung: these includes step dancing (“Kgato”) and other jives or dances (“Motjeko”).
Usually the boys are circumcised during the months of December (“Tshitwe”) or January ( “Pherekgong”) , and they are taken out in June (six months later), during the winter season. When they are “Makolwane” (Young Initiates), they cannot eat yesterdays porridge; nor they do not eat “Kgwahla” (dried corn). During the second year, they are no more required to eat “Kgwahla” (dried Corn), and thus end up being callled “Maphura-Kgwahla”- Those who have matured beyond the state of being “Makolwane” (young-incoming-initiates).
The Day of the initiation of the young Boys (“Mohla Polotso Ya Bashemane”). On the early morning of that day, when the boys enter their home, and before anything else is done, a bull is slaughtered, and those who open (“ho bua” ) the carcass, after carving-up (“ho rala”) the lines on the legs and the belly, and they afterward, very quickly, remove the frontal leg and is roasted on the fire very quickly, becasue it is going to be used for the initiaion ceremony of the young boys, and it must be cooked/fried thoroiughly, and when it is well cooked (“tlabohile”) , then they “hoba” or “tlotsa” [smear it with African natural medicine] which had been used to marinate with other parts of the cows body parts.
They then choose the strongest man who show strength and prowess during war, and is well know for his good work. Sekese says that he and his peers were initiated (“ho lekiswa”) by Ramotjamne( the thief of “Dichaake”), who was famously known to have stolen corn form King Moshoeshoe, in Butha-Buthe he was related to “Lethole” , a warrior in the battle-field.
A person who is so chosen for the one to “Lekisa” [initiate]-the boys, is the one who will feed them that meat. The are made to eat the meat in the following manner: the man stabs it with a “Kwebe” kapa (or) “lerumo” (spear) with “manaka a mabedi” [two horns], and after the meat has been cut, and made into large chunks (” madiboho”) , the man carries the “Kwebe” (spear) on his shoulder, whilst the meat will be hanging on his back; and the boys, in a kneeling position, with their hands clasp on their backs, chop-off the meet with their teeth, and they are not allowed to hold the meat in and with their hands; all the while, the man is shaking and moving the “Kwebe” (spear); whilst the boy fights to chop the meat with his teeth, someone is behind him with a stick. Once he chops off the meat, and he no longer is stubborn of cheeky, they then cut off the meat from the “Kwebe” , and then he takes it to his spot to eat it. He is now allowed to touch and hold it with his hands. Each and everyone of the boys undergoes the same customary exercise and ceremony. On this particular day, that is the day they they are fortified using the powerful medicines used for the warriors are the medicine for the warriors, because after the initiation and fortification with the medicine used for soldiers, they are expected, after their circumcision (“Lebollo”) to be trusted and be ready for war. King Letsie Moshweshwe and his peers actually fought the war in the quarters of “Lebollo” (within the circumcsion school quarters), this was at the time when King Sekonyela had tried to raid Thaba Bosiu (Basotho people’s mountain fortification), was at the time when Moshoeshoe was away to “Bolla” (to be circumcized).
Day day the boys are taken out from the compound for the those to be circumcised, and where they spent their day- (“Mohla Bashemane Ba Ntshuwang Mophatong”). The day they burn the compound, the initiates (“Makolwane”) are instructed that when the “Mophato” (Compound], and they hear a sound going “Ju!” , they should run run home in way that they have never run before, and they should never look back at the “Mophato” [compound] they are from. They are strongly warned that should if they look back, they will encounter danger.
This is nearly akin to the story of Lot who was warned that he or anyone should not look back at the burning city, and Sekese is wondering where the Basotho got theirs from, obviously the bible story had nothing to do with the custom and practices of the Basotho.
When the “Makolwane” -[initiates] are very close to their village, elderly men stop them so that they should enter the village being totally surrounded by the men; they are then taken right through the homestead and into the council square, and when there they will be given new blankets. When they arrive in their homes, they are fed hot mealie meal cooked like the one they ate at the “Mophato” [compound]; but this is not kept up for long, since they will now be back from being “ho bolotswa” [circumcised], because they will be home now and finished with it.
When A young man dies in the “Mophatong” (circumcision compound)- ["Ha Moshemane a Shwele Mophatong"] In ancient times, “Lebollo la bashanyana” -the circumcision of boys- has a sad aura; because when a boy boy dies at the “Mophatong” [circumcision compound], he is not put to rest at his home, his death will be made in secret so that his mother is kept ignorant of how he passed away. His death was kept hushed-up until the day the boys are released from the “Lebollo” (circumcision school). Even the rites of “Bokolwane” [being an initiate] are carried on in his behalf as if he were alive. This is done to keep his mother unaware (“ho lotha Mmae”) , that he has already passed-on.
The boy is taken care-of by his father until he dies in his hands; even if that were the case, he makes a concerted effort to hide it from the boy’s mother, and the deliverance of the news about his death. The going-ons of the “Mophato”(initiation compound) is never allowed to go out into the community, unless it’s issues like the death of one of the initiates. Today the custom has been spoiled, and this happened during the rule of King Moshweshwe . This is so because in 1865, when Theko Letsie went in for circumcision, with his uncles, the sons of Moshoweshwe ; so that, in that “Mophato” (circumcision compound),, the son of Pauluse (Mokheseng) died, the elder of both Lenkwane and Mokhameledi , the sons of Mokhachane . The boy was buried at home, contrary to the rules of “Lebollong” (circumcision school customs).
Just at the same time, when Theko was at the ” Mophatong” (circumcision school) in Thaba-Bosiu, Jonathan was at the “Mophatong” (circumcision compound) in Leribe . During his time there, two boys got sick, and they were taken out of the “Mophato”, and they were taken to some small caves where they were doctored,medicated and taken care of, and these caverns were near to the “Mophato”. When they were there, the were taken care of and doctored by their fathers and their mothers, and they died in their hands. The Batlokwa are the ones who had followed these ways more than the “B akhalahadi”( ‘Basotho’ )
Lebollo la Banana (Girls circumcision school) When the girls are prepared for “Lebollo”, in the beginning they are orientated (dikiswa) ) by by women. The explanation of “ho [to] “dika”: During the time when the moon is in full bloom, a man, or a woman who saw it first, he then screams at the top of his voice and says, “You did not see it in the house!” Immediately, at the tail end of that loud voice, all the women due for “lebollo” (circumcision), and wherever they might be when they hear the cal, they then take of running ( ka sekaja” ), very fast to the fringes of the village. The women of the village gather themselves together and run in the direction of girls. When they arrive amongst them, a song is composed and sung for the next two hours, and hence head back to their village in a more robust song, amidst ululations (“modidietsane”) and praises. When they enter their villages, they quickly spit to their houses or homes. When they split up, they sing a song with sayings and adages that they employ when heading towards the women who were left behind when the rest of the women followed the women initiates ( “Mathisa” ). In groups of twos and threes, headed towards their own homes in their homesteads, they go on singing a song with these words:
( “Mamela wee! Sefebe ke Mosadi!” ) All listen, a prostitute/bitch is a woman!”
Others answer: Mamela wee!” Sefebe ke Monna!”. ” All listen! A prostitute/ Bitch is a Man!”
The first of the singers retort: “Le Mosadi of jwalo!” (O ne a sa hane ke eng ha monna a re a sale!)”. “Even a Woman is like that! Why did she not refuse or disobey her husband when he said he she should remain behind and not follow or go with other women?” Then the chorus chimes -in and shoots back: “Mamela Ka tlung.” “All of you in the house, listen.”
“Thojane” (young women initiates) Those who await “Thojane” are the boys from “Disema”, Bataung the “Bapedi”, and “Batshweneng”. Although the “Bahlakwana” , “Bataung” , and “Hlalele” do the same thing. The day “bale” are dressed up on grass straws tied with hair that was cut from them since they have been “Bolotswe” (intitiated). that day is called “Ditswejane” , when their hair is cut on the sides of the head, and a crop (“tlopo”) of hair, and leave it as exposed hair since they have been “bollotswe” (initiated). The sides of the hair on the head remain shaven (“beotswe).
The side of the head is smeared with ochure-like salve, and some other fatty salve called “sekama”, and the one on the smeared on the sides of the head is called “letsoku”.. T hese two parts are done in this way, and are waited-upon the whole day and night, until the sun comes up.The young initiates (“ditswejane”) and their peers are kept awake all night all the time without being allowed to sleep at all. The “ditswejane” , on the day of their initiation, are made to hold reeds. They are careful when they sing their song not to shake( “nehena”) their heads, for the fold-knot) on the head will spill onto the side of the head with the “letsoku” , or the tallgrass-tied-like contraption will fall onto the side-head with the “letsoku” mixture,due to its length. If this would happen, that would be a very big mistake for the “setswejana” ). Young initiates would have to come back with the new intitiates debuting their bout and rites within their custom, sculpture, traditions and practices the next year.
Those who are awaiting “thojane” (inititation) realize or notice that one sleepy “thojane” initiate, they look amongst the relatives of the “thojane” if none of them is sleeping. Once they find the one sleeping amongst her relative, they wake them up and encourage them to continue singing. It would be because of the sleepy “thojane”. Some of the “ditswejane” are prolific (“dikgeleke”) singers thus enabling others to be very sleepy. Those who are “mapepele” (chronic) in singing, they are temporarily removed from the core of the singers and put on the fringes of those singing, to wake them up from their stupor. They are thus returned to the center of the singers to resume singing, The day the “thojane”, “ditswejane” are stripped naked, with no cloth covering even their shoulders, even if there is a lot of rain that night. If there is a lot of liquor provided for, the hangers-on are bound to stay longer, but if it is little, they leave and go to sleep in their houses, and all who will be left will be the relatives, only. Some of the songs of the “thojane” are many, but this one chosen goes on like this..
“Ngwana Mohlakwana, ka ila boroko. Bahlakwana ba leta thojane; Bahlakwana ba tshwana le Bataung. Bahlakwana ba bina pina bosiu; Bahlakwana, hale batho, le baloi! ” (Child o a “Mohlakwana” , I struggle with sleep. Bahlakwana tend care and await on the “thojane”; Bahlakona are like the Bataung; Bahlakwana sing the song the whole night; Bahlakwana, you are not human, you are witches!”). Those who are burdened by the ways of their homes, always like to rid themselves of these ways, they are advised to slaughter some cows sacrificing the cows to their gods/ancestors who will acknowledge the shedding-off the family unseemly ways for the person asking for such. But it is said, anyone who was not brought-up the right ways of her people, long before she sacrificed anything to the ancestors, she is always going to be plagued by hard luck and carry on the bad omen. The girl who was not made to wait as a “thojane”, she will bear no children.( “nyopa”). Even though if she might sacrifice many cows to be free of the omen, her things may still not work out for her.
How the clans grade each other and also in accordance to their having been initiated (“Lenane la hlahlamano ya meloko, ka mabollo”). Concerning and regarding both the boys and girls initiation, ancient Basotho applied age and seniority according to the clans customs and traditions, differentiating between the younger ones and the old ones. When the cutting rites wherein medicine is inserted into the cut (ho phatswa) , they follow age gradation. If a mistake is made and the reverse order is mistakenly performed, a younger one before the elder person, more emphasis was placed on the age gradation and descending order as dictated by custom, and the one who confused issues is expected to observe this tradition. It was believed if the kings sons were subjected to this error, that boy was said to be going to be disabled. Therefore, those who were performing such rites and ceremonies took care to follow the old ways of carrying out this rite. “Mokhotlwane”, the son of “Matowane” , who when the “Mankwane” in Lesotho, split, he went over to” Moshweshwe” and joined his people. The day when ” Molapo” and ” Lesawana” ,were to “bolla” King ” Moshweshwe” ordered that, ” Mokhohlwane” be initiated before before his sons,” Molapo” and Lesawana, becasue he was the son of his King, ” Matowane”; “Moshweshwe” pointed out that ” Matowane” was his senior if not his elder. Mokhotlwane was put ahead of the King’s sons when he was being initiated (“bolotswa”).
“Lebollo la ngwana wa matsibolo, seila sa lona”), The initiation of the first born child and its customs. When the girl who is the first born as been initiated (“boloditswe” ), her mother is expected not to her hair until she had been released from the “mophato” (initiation compound/school). She is not even supposed to touch the soil until the initiates have done “hlabare” ( smeared themselves with the white substance) Additionally, she must not smear herself with the “letsoku” (red ochre), until the initiate (“ngwale” ) is taken out of the “mophato”, ( initiation school)
It is the same with boys: the mother does not cutoff her hair, does not smear herself with “letsoku” (red/white ochre). She finishes half the day’s job. She becomes distinguished in her routines from that of her peers in accruing material for the “lebollo” (inititation) of her son. During those days, she’s like a woman in mourning (“mosadi wa sekgwahlapa”). Women behave themselves in the same manner when their men go to war. It is said that if the woman beautifies herself she is making ["hlonamisa"], makes the gods/ancestors unhappy when she is doing many disturbing things, and is taking her child out of luck (o montsha “serokolong” or ["lehlohonolong"], and subjects her child to punishment or censure. But the woman who mourns (“mosadi ya ikgwahlapisang invites the grace and compassion of god to her child and to herself, “ho rapela, kapa ho phasetsa” to pray and to pay obeisance to one’s ancestors or gods you invite gods compassion and blessings to one’s son and even to her husband who might be at war. That is how the ancient Basotho used to pray like.
(“Hlompho Ya Makunutu A Lebollo”) The respect and secretes of “Lebollo” (initiation). Women are not allowed to insert (“nyarella), themselves into the affairs of the “lebollo” (initiation) of the males. The men are not allowed, totally, to peek into the secrets of the of initiation of the women. But amongst the the youth and their peers, there are the “diotswa/Difebe (prostitutes) who teach each other the songs of men and women on the sides of the homesteads where they had schemed to meet. The women had said to their husbands their are going to gather wood, or for some entertainment (“tsikitlaneng”). But this may not be so because the men may be set up for pranks some called “maphakwe, ma-leba-kwana, ha Ramokhele.” “mahodi a patile maeba.” When they come back home, they enter their homesteads carrying wood on the heads, the wood that has been collected by the young men early in the morning. The bundled-up wood that is being taken home by the women is one game in which the men must figure out the meaning (“selotho”) which is “ba kakatledisitswe lehaha, ba ile le kgongwana hodimo!” The men were left guarding and watching the cave, and in the process they were suckered into the ploy or ruse.
Selemo Le Digwedi ( The Year and Months):- The year for the Basotho people starts in (“Phato” ), August. They did so because it was the start of tilling the soil and planting, it was also the time when they let their cows loose to go and eat the new and fresh green grass, and because the weather or climate was beginning to be warmer. Although it is a very dusty (“Lerole”), it is wind that is void and barren of the bitter winter winds(pre-Spring). The Basotho then say, “serame se se se boetse metsing (leqhwa)” – “The wintry chill and cold has changed into water(defrosted)
Dikgwedi Tsa Ngwaha (The Months of the Year)
1. August: “Phato A’ Mokwtle, Pudula-Madiba”: “Kgwedi ya Moshanyana”‘ ( The month of the boy), and that he should not cry to go and tend to the sheep and cows because May and July (Motsheanong le boPhupu”), are still coming. It is at this time in June when the cold and the chill has receded and melted into water. It is when the warmth returns This is when the domesticated animals are corralled (“Sarelwa”) this also includes the wild animals. This month is called “Pudula-Madiba” , becasue of the dusts that are blowing over the land come around and abound, the month of ploughing; the cows are hooked-up for ploughing within this month of “Phato” (August).
2. September “Lwetse; Le yona ke Pudula”): This is the second month of the Year; it is called “Rasetlaka Lwetse, sentsha mafi (It is called September the producer of fatty milk). It is also called “Pudula-marole” (the moth of the dusty winds) It is said it is “Sentsha – Mafi” (the month of excess production of Milk. It is also the month when it is warmer than “Phato” August.)
3. October: “Mphalane ‘A Leshoma”, Tswetswana”: “Mpalane ‘A Leshoma . It when the “Phalana ya Leshoma” are seen. It is on this month of a lot of dust (“leroleng le leholo” whereby the tilling of the soil and the planting of the corn and maize mielies. This is the month when the cows give-off surplus milk. (“ke twetswana”) – “a suckling”- it is when the off-springs of the cows , goats and sheep are born.
4. November: “Pudungwana” : This is when they point out to the ‘kids’(sheep lambs) are born on this month, and other yearlings. It is when “setloonono” crows which makes others mistaken the month to be “Tshitwe” (December).
5. December: “Tshitwe”: It is the name of a small locust which when it cries it goes: “Tshitwe-e! Tshitwe-e! Tshitwe-e [the sound it makes] having hidden itself in the green lush grass. It is the month when the milk in the cows lessens and the Basotho say that “it is affected by “Tshitwe” (“e anngwe ke ‘Tshitwe”). The beauty of the summer is encapsulated within this month. A visitor walk partly naked, and carrying his blanket on his shoulder. it is the month that White people say it is the beginning of they year, January( “Pherekgong”).
6. Pherekgong the month of
,At this juncture, I would like to address the issue of the initiates dying in the “Mophato”, amongst the 10(ten) peoples of South Africa.The various 9(nine) people of South Africa, all have the same circimcision custom , except the Zulus , who have recently reinstated the circumcision custom, are now practicing circumcision which was banned by Chaka during his reign. Now, as I have been discussing the issues of circumcision above, as cited from Sekese who wrote the “Customs of Basotho”- “Mekhwa Ya Basotho” in 1893, and when it came to discussing the custom of circumcision, in the time frame the book was written in, as stated above, he discusses the deaths that were occurring in the “Lebollo”. It is not like one is excusing the deaths that took place then, or are taking place now, but this is the same ‘neat-picking’ outcry that the detractors of African culture can hang their argument on, and the truth of the matter is that, circumcision as it is being pointed out that it is causing the deaths of many boys, is a non-starter becausse firstly, within South Africa, the worst case of this issue and it is in the Eastern Cape cause by unscrupulous and fake doctors in pursuit of the cash nexus. But it is not really something that is endemic within the Nguni/Bakone culture in general. The nation of the Nguni/Bakone see and/or treats or regards circumcision as a rite of passage into manhood as part of the culture of the Africans in South Africa.
Cashing-in on Cultural Ignorance
The Custom and Rites of Passage to Manhood
News Africa reported that in 2010, over a period of 12 days, 20 boys were killed in the Eastern Cape and 9 of them over 24 hours. Some 60 boys have been rescued from 11 initiation schools which have since been closed. BBC News reports that 100s have been injured and some have been severely beaten during the initiation rituals. Every year young men go into the bush alone, without water and many do not survive in these initiating schools. Illegal initiation schools have become common in the Eastern Cape, especially in the rural schools. Unregistered surgeons often set them up as a way of making money. Some seven and under -aged initiates were rescued from an illegal initiation school run by a 55-year old unregistered traditional surgeon who had been arrested several times for the offense. “He was recently given a three-year suspended sentence but he continued doing the same thing. In the past five years, close to 20 initiates died in his schools and 15 had their penises amputated,” said the Eastern Cape Health Department. Health department officials are meeting the police, members of the justice Department and Prosecutors to discuss the prosecution of those of those contravening the Traditional Circumcision Act, which regulates the custom in in the province.(SAPA) This law was recently introduced which required initiation schools be registered and licensed and only allow circumcisions to be performed on youths aged 18 and older.
AfrikNews Reports the following about what Phatu said: “I have never been to Pondoland, and I do not even know which side to point it, but reports indicate that as of 21 June 2010, 28 boys died of botched initiations and my more died around the greater Eastern Cape area, not Johannesburg or Nelspruit (where one finds the Swazi, Shangaan , Ndebele , Venda and Tsonga People), neither the Pedis in Limpopo nor in the Sotho areas of the Free State including the Zulus in Natal (of which King Zwelithini has just re-instateated the circumcision custom amonst the Zulus), but the Eastern Cape. This is nothing new, (as noted in the deposition of the Basotho Initiation schools as written by Sekese in the 19th century; we read and hear about these reports every year. The problem I have at the moment is that no one in the political sector is standing up and saying something. I know it would be improper for a Zulu president to question this Xhosa practice, but how many Xhosa men sit in parliament and say nothing? Vavi is very vocal when it come to striking, why is it that people of his calibre are not asking questions and trying to find solutions to the matter.” It is the contention of this Hub above that we are all the same and are practicing the same culture, with a variation here and there. But one cannot impugn the culture of one clan as if it is peculiar to itself rather than aligned to the Whole South African cultural mosaic. Information being accessible to Africans in South Africa about the whole cultural history and knowledge is fast fading because the people are not reading and and learning about their culture from books that deal wholly with this question of circumcision or , rather, the wholeness of the differentiated and various culture that make the Nguni/ Bakone cultural kaleidoscopic mosaic.
Anna Smith Writes: “In the Limpopo province, the often disastrous initiation rites led the local government, in 1996, to put a legislation in place to govern the conduct of the province’s more than 200 initiation schools, but cultural taboos that prevent initiates from talking about their experiences, and the involvement of local officials in running the schools has made the law difficult to enforce. The Province recorded 5 deaths in 2007 and another 5 in 2008 among young boys between June and July[which is winter in South Africa], while attending initiation schools. The boys flock to these initiation schools, because the faster and less painful medical method in hospital can result in a lifetime of social rejection”: one will constantly be reminded how much of a boy, and not a man, they remain, even after a hospital performed circumcision.
Phatu writes: “Circumcision has been part of our culture and it is not about to fade away any time soon. I am from the Limpopo area, where circumcision is practiced by the Vendas , Tsongas, Bapedis , Shangaans , and Ndebeles and Batswanas. You rarely, if ever, hear stories of boys dying while at the mountain school. I am 26-yars old and in my village we have had more initiations than I care to remember and here is a fact – NEVER – NEVER HAS ANYONE EVER DIED IN THE MOUNTAIN SCHOOL. That means that there is something that people in Limpopo are doing right. I am not in any way attacking the Xhosa culture [and customs, which, by the way, are one and the same thing- my two cents]. The reason that this rarely happens in Limpopo and other areas is because the circumcision is still being done by the custodians of culture, that is, those who have been doing it for years and not anyone can just start an initiation school. In Limpopo, the ‘chief’ is the one who opens the initiation school and the selection of the best snip-master. The most important thing about the whole process is the aftercare of the initiate and that person’s private part. If one is not experienced enough to make sure that the initiate and his circumcised part gets the right care, it becomes septic and eventually falls off or has to be chopped off (Phatu). “This customary circumcision session is done in the winter because it heals much more faster than in the summer. The problem in the Cape is that the custodians of of culture remain silent and attack journalists for not respecting culture or of being not African enough,” writes Phatu.
One of the problems which Africans in South Africa are facing is that the culture of the 10(ten) peoples is not taught well and excellently enough to the ordinary folk, that in the end, the ignorance of the masses is being exploited because of that. It is important that Africans begin to write and talk about culture, first and foremost, for the Africans in South Africa, then to the world, and this is what this Hub intends to achieve and affect. The lack of historcal cultural information directed towards Africans in South Africa is causing all these problems we see streaming on the Web, about how Africans are committing genocide on young boys- that is a function of ignorance about the culture of the Nguni/Bakone people, and a lack of knowledge and as to how one begins to see the Africans in South Africa as a “Nation” , and not ‘tribes’- because it impedes one seeing the 10(ten) people as a nation with a kaleidoscopic cultural mosaic
Biko explains why it is that Africans are being assailed in regards to their culture: “One writer makes the point that in an effort to destroy completely the structures that had been built up in the African society and to impose their imperialism with an unnerving totality the colonialists were not satisfied merely with holding a people in their grip and emptying the Native’s brain of all from and content, they turned to the past of the oppressed people and distorted,disfigured and destroyed it. No longer was reference made to African culture, it became barbarism. Africa was the “Dark Continent”. Religious practices and customs were referred to as superstition. The history of African Society was reduced to ‘tribal battles’ and internecine wars. There was not conscious migration by the people from one place of abode to another. No, it was always flight from one tyrant who wanted to defeat the ‘tribe’ not for any positive reason but merely to wipe them out of the face of this earth.”
For a people who have been treated in the manner described above, it is instructive at this point to listen to Ibn Batouta who visited Sudan in th the thirteenth century:
“What I have Seem To Be Good In the Conduct of Blacks”:
“Acts of injustice are rare among them: of all peoples, this is the one least inclined to commit these and the sultan (African King) never forgives anyone guilty of one. Through the length and breadth of the country reigns perfect security; people can live there and travel without fear of robbery of depredation. They do not confiscate the goods of white men who die in their country; even when they value of these is immense, they do not touch them; on the contrary, they appoint trustees of the inheritance,chosen among the white men and it remains in their hands until the rightful owners come to claim it.” Of these moral conceptions and the social solidarity resulting from them gives Africans the moral high ground; it is the only continent in the world where man is poorest, that is, who at the present time, possesses the least; but it is the only continent in the world where destitution does not exist in spite of this poverty, thanks to the existence of rightful solidarity. In South Africa this is called “UBUNTU” , and this term has been hi-jacked by foreigners and colonialists and they have put their spin on without really understanding the African Culture which undergirds it.
The Nay Sayers: Detractors of African Cultures, Custom and Traditions
“Little Knowledge is dangerous,” so say the Africans in South Africa. The saying pinpoints directly and exactly what I have been discussing above in regards to all the people who find it “necessary” to be the harsh critics and detractors of African cultures and custom. Before we talk about other aspects of African Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices further, I would like to segue into some historical material as written by Basil Davidson to thoroughly make the point that all those people who are writing about, and pretending to know much about African South African cultures are really ignorant and know very little, if anything, about the Culture, Custom, Traditions and Practices of the Nguni/Bakone or the 10(ten) people I have been referring to an discussing above.
Basil Davidson writes: “The African, many thought, is a man without a past. Black Africa – Africa South of the Sahara Desert – is on this view a continent where men, by their own efforts, have never raised themselves much above the level of the beasts. “No ingenious manufactures among them, no arts, no sciences,” commented David Hume. “No approach to the civilization of his White fellow creatures whom he imitates as monkey does man,” added Trollop. Even in the last twenty years a former Governor of Nigeria could write that “for countless centuries, while all the pageant of history swept by, the Africans remained unmoved – in primitive savagery.” Even in 1958 Sir Arthur Kirby, Commissioner for British East Africa in London, could tell the Torquay Branch of the Overseas League that “in the last sixty years – little more than the lifetime of some people in tis room – East Africa has developed from a completely primitive country, in many ways more backward than the Stone Age…”
Africans, according to this view, had never evolved civilizations of their own; if they possessed a history, it could be scarcely worth the effort of telling it. And this belief that Africans had lived in universal chaos or stagnation until the coming of Europeans seemed not only to find its justification in a thousand tales of savage misery and benighted ignorance; it was also, of course, exceedingly convenient in high imperial times. For it could be argued (and it was; indeed, still is) “that these peoples, history-less, were naturally inferior or else they were ‘children who had still to grow up’; in either case, they were manifestly in need of government by others who had grown up.”
The denial of Mapumgubwe as being African had been in the works fro some time. According to David Fleminger, “when the National Party took over in 1948, there was a further clampdown on anything that might glorify the African peoples. This was the dawn of Apartheid and history was rewritten to suit the needs of Afrikaner politics. As such, the entire educational system was manipulated to become a crude tool for indoctrination and subjugaton. Archeology was often frowned upon as ideologically inappropriate, and Mapungubwe disappeared into the shadows.” Martin Hall elaborated further on this issue by stating: “Immediately the National Party’s ascendence into power in 11948, they instituted Apartheid and formalized years of racial discrimination in the web of legislation that became notorious. They carried forth the notion that the Dutch Settlers who declared that when they came into South Africa in 1652 they saw and belied that South Africa was empty of civilization. Later on, children were taught in school that, save for the primitive “Bushmen,” southern Africa had been empty before the Europeans had arrived, and that black Africans had only entered the subcontinent from the north at the same time that the Dutch had arrived in the far south(western Cape). The have claimed that in an epic battle between civilization, superstition and dark violence, Christianity had prevailed over the indigenous people and [their backward] culture. A similar denial of history was offered in Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980]. Africans, it was said, were incapable of building stone or of fashioning fine gold. The Bible was used to offer proof that the gold brought in homage to Solomon came from the south, and where else than from the long-used mines that the white pioneers had found in abundance. Anyone arguing otherwise was accused of being unpatriotic or, worse, in secret conspiracy with ‘black terrorists’ intent on overthrowing an ordered colonial society.”
Part of what I am discussing above has been partly touched on within the Hub above. But the aim of plying this information is to consistently show how and why African culture has been attacked, and at issue, is the history of Mapungubwe as it it is related to Mapungubwe being a South African African Culture and Civilization. One issue that is not raised is the fact that the rest of South Africa was under the rulership and in contact with Mapungubwe, and that the culture of Mapungwe cannot be understood without knowing about the culture of African South Africans; as one cannot understand the culture and civilization of South African Africans without knowing or linking it to the civilization, culture, customs and practices of Mapungubwe. There is an assertion swirling around that the culture of Mapungubwe is not known, and mostly, it is linked to the culture of Great Zimbanwe. This might be true, but also true is the fact that the Venda, the Pedi and the Tsonga people , along with the Shangaan and Swazi’s and Tswanas were all part and parcel of the South african river cultures and and the groups mentioned are part of the cultural mosaic of the 10(ten) Nguni/Bakone stock of South Africa. Lest this point be missed, we will now continue to cull from Martin Hall’s article when he writes:
“Today, with literally tons of evidence of African civilizations that stretched back centuries before Europeans even knew where the subcontinent was, it was difficult to give credence to this colonial version of history. One wonders how these fictitious versions of history could have taken root. Partly, it served the political and economical motives of white settlers to believe that the land of southern Africa was empty and the colonial enterprise was high-minded. But the denial of Africa’s true history was also due to the pervasive effects of widespread assumptions about the “dark continent.” And although few South African Africans know much about the past of their country before colonial settlement, this is changing as the far-reaching tenets of Apartheid are dismantled. But the world’s more general assumptions about Africa – the contemporary connection with the popular writers of the 19th century – are still pervasive. The tourism and leisure industries thrive on fables that are unchanged as those of Haggards’ in more than a century ago. Haggard’s view was that Africa was little more than the foil for Europe’s history, and that the idea of cities a thousand years old would have been incredible. That is why shows like the Lion King produced in Hollywood still rules the timeless landscpape, empty of history.”
Symbiosis of Culture and History in Southern Africa
Reclaiming African History
For us to better understand the history of Mapungubwe and its connections and interconnected to other civilization of southern africa, we need to be informed, instructed and guided by African history. To put together a historical picture of the civilizations of the southern part of Africa, we might catch a glimpse from what Davidson has to say about it:
“East and Southeast Africa had become an integral part of the widest trading circuit the medieval world would know. If it is true, then, that the crucially formative period of the eastern and southern African Iron age can be narrowed down the middle centuries of the first millennium A.D., it is also true that the crucially developmental period was already far advanced by the middle of the twelfth century, when Edrisi wrote. Within these centuries an Iron Age in eastern and southeastern Africa gave rise to new societies andcivilizations: along the coast but also in the hinterland. These societies and civilizations were native to eastern and southern Africa. Yet they no more developed in a vacuum than the kingdoms and empires of the old Sudan or the states and city states of the forests to the south. Progress relied, in both regions, on the installation of iron-extracting industries within their own culture, just as it relied, in both regions, on continuous and expanding trade with another technically more advanced part of the world and expanding. Kush and Carthage seem to have played towards West Africa, in diffusion of iron technology and the evolution of social and religious ideologies that received this new knowledge and grew out of it, the same stimulating role as the Mediterranean, a few centuries earlier, had played towards western and northern Europe. In southern Africa this same stimulus may also have come from Kush – and perhaps from West Africa; beyond any doubt, it came as well from the Indian Ocean trade.”
Davidson continues: “Along the southern borders of the Sahara, wherever the caravan trails ended or began, commerce by the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries had long-established trading marts where merchants and cameleers, travelers and every kind of hangers-on would mix and mingle, linger or settle: Arabs and Berbers, Negroes and desert Tuareg and Fulani. Riding northward on his return from the Western Sudan in 1353, Ibn Battuta saw these desert-bordering marts and the flower of the prosperity. He stayed in the red-stone houses of Tagedda and marveled at the “luxury and ease” of their possessors. “These,” he wrote. “have no occupation but trade. They travel to Egypt every year, and import quantities of all the fine fabrics to be had there and other Egyptian wares.” Like the mariners of Oman and the merchants of Siraf , far to the east,these people of Saharan Tagedda were powerful intermediaries in the trade between North Africa and continental Africa.”
We furrther learn from Davidson that, “And in much the same way the commerce of the Indian Ocean, growing century by century from remote beginnings, had long-established trading cities where the ships of India and Arabia could discharge their goods and load again with the goods of Africa. And here too the coastal peoples – those sharp-eyed populations of east coast maritime cities – would see a mingling of many racial stocks. The people of Malindi, observed Barbosa in about 1501, have fair stone houses” with “flat roofs after our fashion.” They are “both black and white” – African and Arab, no doubt, Indian and Bantu – and “great barterers, who deal in cloth, gold, ivory, and diverse other wares.. and to their haven, every year, come many ships with cargoes and merchandise.”
Using the citation above is to try and expand the pre-ccolonial nature of African existence in the southern part of the Sahara, and on the south eastern part of Africa and what their lifestyles were like according to early African travelers to these cities. We cannot discuss the history of Southern Africa by ignoring the historiography of the ancient civilizations, and those who wrote about them. It is clear then, that from the times of the Kingdom of Monomotapa along with Mapungubwe, there was active mining, trading and close and intense interaction and intra-action between the different peoples of the world in Africa, more specifically, the regions south of the Sahara. There was also a trade link and cultural and technological exchanges between the peoples of North Africa and those of the south of the Sahara, mediated by the camel caravan routes which was mitigating trade between the whole of Africa. Davidson writes:
“It is a striking parallel. The peoples of the Western Sudan grew with iron-Age technology and ideology, and with trans-Saharan trade, into strong centralized states: Ghana, Mali, Songhay, were among the first fruits of this growth. But the same underlying pattern would repeat itself in these eastern and southern African lands which entered their own Iron Age and developed their oversea trade and their civilization at much the same time; and threw up the kingdoms of the Waqlimi and the Monomotapa , and settled in Sena and Zimbabwe and Mapungubwe and the like. Thus the records of the Indian Ocean trade, or such as have survived, are inseparable from the history of eastern and southern Africa, Arabia, India, China would leave their influence here; just as the the maritime cities of Malindi and Mombasa, Kilwa, Sofala and half a hundred others, the terraced inland settlements of Azania, the mines of the interior and the empire of the Monomotapa [and Mapumgubwe ], would make their own contribution, certain if obscure, to the history of Arabia, India and China.”(Davidson)
The Innards of Civilized Ancient Africans
Rearview in 20/20: Mapungubwe and the Trading World
For Mapungubwe to exist, there must have been “something else” that spurned it or made it possible for it to be. I guess I am saying that the history of Mapungubwe did not happen in a vacuum, because there are later accounts of the lifestyles of Africans as seen and observed by Barbosa and many others. We learn more about the life of Mapungubwe at its hight and all the surrounding civilizations. Although it is hard to clump them together because of the paucity of historical material, one nonetheless gets to have a clear overview of the past lives of the people’s lives and their abodes which in a way tells more about Mapungubwe than do the speculations abound that the history of Mapungubwe has no written records as to what it was. Trade was the mainstay of this civilization. We will now look much more closely at the nature of the inner workings and manifestations of the culture of Mapungubwe by learning more about the later history of the other surrounding civilizations during and later-on in its history. The material culture embedded in the Mapungubwe Hill informs us about the nature of their material culture, which when we study much more closely and comparatively with the other cultures, as indicated above, we will find the commonness of the culture of Mapungwe to be one and the same with these other inland cultures and the eastern coastal cultures and peoples of Southern Africa.
We will continue to cull pat of this African history from Basil Davidson who goes on to inform us as follows: “The Arabian prosperity spanned two thousand years. Even as late as the tenth century A.D. One may catch its smooth assuring echo when a writer of San’aa , ancient capital of Sabaeans , recalls the sweet land of his birth. This city “is regarded by all the peoples,” says Handani, “as one of the gardens of the earth.” In a land implanted with great castles and marbled life-endowing dams, and irrigation aqueducts, “it enjoys the autumn rains at the time when the sun reaches Leo and faces it in Taurus, and the spring rains at the end of March and the beginning of April. It is rich in spices, vegetable products,and fruits; and boasts of a variety of aromatic plants, flowers, roses, and several kinds of birds. The smallest house has at least one or two cisterns; the cesspools are deep, built at a distance from one another, and, because of the hard gypsum tiles, the spotless plaster and the clean floors, are free of any stench or obnoxious odor. A lavatory[toilet] remains in use from one century to another without needing either to be drained or cleansed. This was the San’aa of El Mas’udi, whose family had come from Hedjaz, would have known.
Some four centuries later Ibn Battuta wrote of Zabid – “after San’aa the largest and wealthiest town in Yemen” – that “it lies amidst luxuriant gardens with many streams and fruits, such as bananas and the like.” Its inhabitants were charming in their manners, upright and handsome,while the women – and this was an aspect of civilization that never failed to interest him – “are exceedingly beautiful.” Thereafter the irrigation would; the wars and dissensions and invasions would breach the dams and the aqueducts and spoil the spotless lavatories: the Yemen would retire into isolation and decay. Yet for medieval people of this Yemen and its neighboring Arab lands would count among the most civilized countries of the world. No nations of the world were so wealthy as the Gerrhaeans and Sabaeans , declared Agathacides of Alexandira in about 150 B.C., for they were placed “in the center of all the commerce which passes between Asia and Africa.” They had every profusion of luxury in plate and scultpure, the furniture of beds and household embellishments; and their expense of living rivaled the magnificence of princes.” These are the advanced civilizations which traded with Africa,as noted, as far back as 100 B.C., and in turn their wares and export goods were exchanged for the gold agricultural and the arts and crafts from Africa, which in turn enriched both civilizations and made Africa have civilizations like Mapungubwe, Zimbabwe, Monomotapa, Waqlimi, Monomotapa and so forth , possible .
In order for us to grasp the wealth and the manner of social life and opulence of the people of Mapungubwe, we will look at the some of the places they traded with and what that meant for them and what , in a more general way, life was like for the coastal people of the eastern coast Africa and those of Mapungubwe. These coastal towns were the ports that were used by the people of the hinterland for peddling their wares and the like. The back and forth or people, the movement of goods, the building of kingdoms and villages and the dress and condiments used by these people were of a high order and needs to be understood to have been in part,if not better than those of Europe at the said time. We are duly informed by Barbosa about the historical and archeological greatness of gleam and glitter of the lives of Africans through this bustling commercialfound by the early Portuguese sailors of this coastal dity states as follows:
Even at this primitive stage of investigation, historical or archeological, one may catch the gleam and glitter of their life. “The manner of their trade was this,” says Barbosa, who saw it just before the Portuguese made final havoc there, and properly, in his later narrative, uses the past tense: “They came [to Sofala ] in small vessels named “Zambuccos” from the kingdoms of Kilwas , Mombasa and Malindi , bringing many cotton cloths, some spotted and other white and blue, and some of silk and many small beads, grey, red and yellow, which things come to those kingdoms from the great [Indian] kingdom of Cambay in other great ships.” They dealt – and he is talking now of Aden in southern Arabia, greatest of all the Arab-African ‘entrepots’ and urgently in need of archeological investigation, in cotton, drugs and gems, seed pearl in abundance, carnelians, opium; in copper and quick silver, in madder and vermilion and great store of rose water; in woolen cloth, colored Mecca carpets, gold in ingots, coined and to be coined (and some strings); in rice and sugar and coconuts; in lacquer and sandal wood and aloe wood and musk ”’ “so much so that this place has a greater and richer trade than any other in the world.” (Davidson)
When we begin to unpack the historical past of Africa, there is additional data that has been furnished by other writes, as already noted, that give us a historical background about the civilizations that were thriving before the arrival of Vasco da Gama and his thugged-up hordes, who came to these coastal city states and sacked and looted the people’s way of life and their riches and wiped them off the face of the earth akin to the genocide committed on the Indian(Red Men) in America, then turned around and besmirching the image of the survivors as lazy, prone to violence, ignorant, backwards, yadi-yada-blah-blah… In order for us to fully appreciate the state of civilization that was pulsating and progressing along the coastal cities in tandem to those in the hinterland, we will again refer to the historical excerpts provided by Davidson:
“Vanished though they are, the trading cities of the African coast were no much less impressive. The ruins of Kua, into which Sir Mortimer Wheeler cut this way through dense bush in 1955, are now known to have covered not less than thirty-five acres, and to include a palace, more than thirty stone houses, seven mosques and three cemetries. Here on the little island of Juani, off the larger Island of Mafia, they have slumbered in complete abandonment since their sacking by Madagascan invaders about a hundred and fifty years ago. At Songo Mnara, another city that was probably founded in the thirteenth century, Mathew has found “fluteddimidomes [that] rest on fluted palisters and.. elaborate vaulted chambers with a barrel flooring inset with a hundred circular cavities.” Hither came, as we have seen, the fine goods and luxuries of the eastern world. Of Reynal in India, a little way above Surat, Barbosa offers a gemlike description which might surely have been made of these African coastal cities as well, and reveals something of the leisurely civilization of all this ocean seaboard. “The Moors who dwell in Reynal,” says Barbosa (who finished his book in about 1518), “are wealthy and distinguished, fain in color and of gentle birth. They use, in the front room of their houses, to have many shelves all round – the whole room being surrounded by them as in a shop, all filled with fair and rich porcelain of new styles.”
But at Kilwa and at Kua, Songo, Mnara, Malindi and elsewhere,” ([I will take it to mean, as in the past, Monomotapa, Waqlimi, Zimbabwe , and Mapungubwe [whose cultural material wealth is reminiscent of the culture of the coastal town being discussed here], as we have already partly noted above), “in the palaces of rulers and the houses of the well-to-do, one could have seen the same thing: pottery of Sultabad and Nishapur , bold in shape and color; the painted figures of Persian djins and princes in gay Minai pastels; the celadon of Sung China and lavish Ming bowls and ornaments; the beads and precious stones of India, figures and figurines in gold and ivory, jewelry of jade and copper, carpets of the Middle East and Mecca – all exposed for sale but also also for enjoyment and embellishment. The constant to-ing and fro-ing of all this clamant maritime life help to explain why early voyagers from Europe and the Mediterranean were so vague and contradictory about the peoples who acutally ihabited these ports and cities.” This is why the material culture of Mapungubwe has been confused so much with that of the people of Zimbabwe [deliberately, in some cases] and not South African Africans becasue the past Apartheid inteligentsia did not want to make the Africans in South Africa aware and knowledgeable about their great civilization and how their culture is part of and tied to the culture and Mapungubwe. This early culture of the coast was syncretic; it took from many sources, but it made a distinctive whole – but this whole was clearly African. By the end of the eleventh century, many trading settlements up and down the Height Growth Plus coast were growing into cities ruled by Islamized Arab or Arab-Swahile or Swahili groups, or containing numerous colonies of such people. This was true for as far south as Sofala , the principal southern port for trade with the Rhodesian(or Zimbabwean, and also Mapungubwe ) kingdoms and civilizations of the hinterland.”
African Presence, in Cities, Civilizations, Cultures and Customs
One fact that seems to emerge, meanwhile, is that there occurred in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries a cultural change which caused many settlements to grow into cities. There appears to to have been, at about this time, a tremendous expansion in the demand for African goods, and a culmination of the process which had gradually brought coastal Africans into trading settlements over previous centuries. Several cities appear to date from about this time: Cedi (excavated by Kirkman in 1953), Kilwa, Songo Mnara – although all of these were probably built on previous and more humble foundations. But what, by now, was the people of these cities” El Mas’udi, Edrisi and other Arab writes of the tenth and twelfth centuries had been consistent in saying that the dominant people of the coast was Zan j, Negro, and that some were Muslim. Dimasqui, in about 1300, speaks of “Mogadiscio of the ” Zanj” and says that the pople of the coast and infidels;t that they practice rites handed down from their ancestors and -echos of El Mas’udi – are famous for their eloquence at feasts. Although founded as a settlement in about 1100, the city of Cedi (old Malindi as it probably was) acquired its first stone mosque only in about 1450 – clear evidence that its inhabitants were not Arabs (Davidson).
The point of this hub is that Africans may, in fact, have had a wider and broader civilization pulsating in the heart of Africa. The wonderment which these places leave is that they seem to leave anyone who sees the gaping and agog. There runs the assumption in the intellectual, literary, historical, archeological, anthropological realms the disbelief whenever they are confronted by this vast material cultures, which they move around in their conclusions, pretend as if none are connected nor linked to the other in any other way, that is continuous and runs the historical timeline gamut up to this day, as of the writing of this Hub. This has been done in the past by projecting all the material culture and historical culture of Africans as if it was divided(one can note the consistency with which the African people are not refrred to as nations, but “Tribes”; their Kings are called “Chiefs”, and so on). The use of the background history of the southern civilizations, their city states and kingdoms, along with the material and archeological remnants and graves, keep on harking back to the history, custom, cultures and traditions of Africans before they were decimated into oblivion, and in the process the Africans lost their cultures, customs, traditions and practices. To reconstruct this void, we are exploring the history of Africa prior to the Europeans and in the process filling-in the gaps left by colonialism and its harsh racism, destruction/distraction and murder. To deconstruct this ahistorical-Historical anomaly, the retelling of a peoples history and the revival of their cultures should synergize and synchronize the myriad of historical and all other disciplines input into the facts in order to give a coherent and vibrant historical time-line and progression and continuity which can be seen, in its devastated and dysfunctional form, today, as much closer to historical reality and correctness as is possible-and that it can be resuscitated and have life pumped back into its already discarded cadaver.
In relation to the existence of once dazzling cultures and civilization which were African inspired, we will turn to Davidson for some historical record. “Around 1331 there turns up once again the indefatigable Ibn Battuta. After visiting Kilwa, he describes it as “one of the most beautiful and best constructed town, all elegantly built,” in color, and with tattoo-marks on their faces.” If that was true of the island city of Kilwa, it must certainly have been true of the mainland cities as well; and this is what the evidence, sparse though it is, also shows. Barbosa gives the ruler of Malindi, for example, as a “Moor”; but later evidence shows conclusively that he was in fact Swahili. At Brava in 1501 he finds another “great town of the Moors; yet at Brava, even today, the common language of the city is not Arabic, nor even Swahili, but of more purely Bantu formation. This cosmopolitan culture of the coastal cities was predominantly an African Culture” (Davidson”).
Furthermore, Davidson writes about the Arts and culture, and also makes mention of literature, cities, travel fashion of the Africans of southeastern -coastal and hinterland Africans as a way of life as much as that of, if not more than, that of Europe of the day. Davidson informs us thus: “The richness of early Swahili culture, little noticed or completely ignored outside East Africa, confirms this. Poets here were composing mashairi , or lyric songs, by medieval times; and later they wrote them down in the Swahili language, an African language, even though the script they used was a modified Arabic script and their style and language had many Arab echoes. They continued to write mashairi and tendi , epic poems, during the centurites that followed; and they are still writing them today. They drew on foreign themes; but so, one may remark, did Shakespeare. They lived in cities which looked to Southern Arabia and India for wealth and fashion, travel and adventure; much as Shakespeare’s London looked to southern Europe and the Mediterranean. Shakespeare’s poetry was nonetheless English for that; nor was Swahili poetry any less African. “Just as Spenser drew for incident upon foreign sources and yet wrote a truly national poem,” in Harris words, “so also the Swahili poets north of Mombasa have created a national literature from sources which are foreign (Davidson).
To the traditional chronicles, or such as have survived, bring their various reinforcement. Like the Trik as-Sudan, some were sritten down in Arabic, others, like the chronicles of Mombasa and of Pate, were in Swahili with an arabic scropt; some, like those of Kilwa, were in both. As late as 1824, Emery could find that “Swahili is generally used at Mombasa” – and this, indeed, after long Arab settlement there and recent conquest from Arabia, so that when the notables of that city presetned him with a copy of the Mombasa chronicle, it was “in Swahili language and Arabic character. Even later architecture of the coast, in Mathew’s opinion, “forms a distinct variant among the medieval Islamic culture.” When beginning archeological work on the east coast eleven years ago,” he recalls, “I assumed that the ruins of the sites I was investigating were the remains of Arab or Persian colonies along the coast.. but gradually I have come to doubt: now I am beginning to think that the history of an african culture gradually Islamised than if it is merely the history of Islamic colonies from the persian Gulf.(Davidson)
It should also be noted that the people of the eastern African seaboard were capable of trading with other nations and maintained their African culture through and through. Freeman-Grenville has now completed a list of pre-European sites on the Tanzania coast and islands – they number sixty-three – and considers that with further research “a satisfactory dating of pottery and porcelain should bee possible from the second century B.C. to the end of the fifteenth century.’ He has examined some thousands of coins, Roman, Greek-Egyptian, Byzantine, Chinese, Turkish-Egptian, and from the mint founded at Kilwa shortly before 1300. “sometime in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries,” he goes on, “the culture had become Islamic, still it would seem to be Negro.” These merchant cities and trading kingdoms of the coast of the Zanj , we may conclude, were neither Arabian nor Persian nor Indian; they were African, and predominantly “Negro”African – just as were Timbuktu and Gao and Djenne , the kingdoms of the Hausa , the city-states of Ife and Benin.
It has now become clear up to this point that African culture and civilization was budding on the East coast and hinterland of Africa. Trade was robust and development was not only local, regional nor only continental, but it was also international. This can be seen in the wares, goods and poetry and music of the Africans at the head of their rule and governance were the same as, or equal to if not better than that of Europe. All was lost becasue to the wars that sprung-up between the seafarers from Europe and the local inhabitants over the land and abundant natural resources that were common for Africans in Africa-but the Europeans wanted more and were people poor and natural resources broke-so they needed to replenish their coffers and bolster their economies at the expense and doom of and for African in Africa.
Constructive Theorems: Cultural Synchronization
The African Architectural Civilization From Ethiopia to Mapungubwe
When Mapungubwe was opened to the world through a Farmer called Graan, who after trying to climb the hill induced the local people to point out what was evidently a secret way to the top. This was a narrow cleft or chimney in the rock, entirely hidden by trees in 1932. They cut their way to the foot of it and found, to their surprise, that those who had used it had drilled small holes on opposite sides of the cleft, into which crossbars could be slotted. Van Graan managed to climbed the chimney to the top. Now there is nothing to say that any current of ideas ever lined them up – One can only record that the building of hilltop forts and dwellings, if decided upon quite independently in different place at different times, produced – once again – remarkably similar results. Yet these results, together with great skill in dry-stone building, in terraced cultivation, in an occasionally emphatic use of phallic symbolism, do undoubtedly suggest the interchange and interplay of ideas across great distances over a long period. This is part of what I was alluding to in the last paragraph above. Against a background of north-south migration trends in ancient Africa, one appears to be strangely in the presence of a community of ideas which cannot be explained, of men and cultures whose lines of movement and whose limits of awareness of one another seem much wider and more immediate that the material find will allow. This uneasiness becomes greater as one moves southward from Ethiopia and meets the terraced ruins of Kenya and Tanzania and Rhodesia(Zimbabwe, now), the dwellings of Niekerk and Inyanga, and the golden burials of Mapungubwe.(Davidson)
It is instructive to note that with the architectural ruins found from Ethiopia to Mapugubwe “enriches, not impoverishes, our wonderment at their remarkable achievement [and] it cannot detract from their inherent majesty”; for its mystery “is the mystery which lies in the still pulsating heart of native Africa” (Caton-Thompson).The importance of the Eastern coastline of Africa and African history is that it confirms that there was more of a civilization which was thriving, more than there were wars caused by the indigenous fighting amongst themselves. One can look at the history of Ethiopia and Egypt, because it was the Pharaohs from Kush who built the Great Civilization of Egypt. It is from Ethiopia we see that there are these terraces, destroyed building, grave years and other architectural and structures dug up by archeologists and attempted to be interpreted by the anthropologists, linguists, social scientists and the whole bit, as to what all that meant. In that case, analysis of African History begins from the aftermath of destruction, where everybody posits, postulates and supposes about the material culture and their knowledge curve up to that point, whereby the make conclusions about the history of the Eastern coast, or, in most cases, omit or not make mention of the civilizations that preceded the destruction, of the coming of European sailors who, deliberately and with vengeance, crushed all the cultures, peoples, architecture of these places we have been mentioning above – the kingdoms, civilizations, cultures and peoples of the east coast. On the subject of the architecture of ancient Africa, Davidson intones: “In this town of Benametapa is the king’s most usual abode, in a very large building, and thence the traders carry the inland gold to Sofala and give it unweighed to the Moors for colored cloths and beads, which are greatly esteemed among them. Now, the great stone ruins of Zimbabwe in southern (Rhodesia-Zimbabwe, today), since famous throughout the world, lie some two hundred and fifty miles by crow’s flight from the ancient port of Sofala. It is not impossible that “warlike men and traders” could have reached them in twenty-six days’ journey from the coast, and also that Barbosa did not speak of these great stone ruins[maybe they were not yet ruins but cities!?], but other Portuguese did so a few years later.
“In the middle of this country,” says de Goes (who was born the same year, 1501, that Barbosa sailed the Indian Ocean for the first time), “Is a fortress built of large and heavy stones inside out.. a very curious and well constructed building, as according to report no lime to join the stone can be seen.. The King of Banametapa keeps great state, and is served on bended knees with great reverence.” De Barros, writing at about the same time and doubtless using much the same coastal sources of information, speaks of a wall “more than twenty-five spans in width.” As a matter of fact, there many Zimbabwes. Barros points out that, “the natives of the country called all these edifices Symbaoe(Zimbabwe?)”, which accordingt o their language signifies court, for every place where the Benametapa may be so called; and they say that being royal property, all the King’s other dwellings have this name..”All this today is a good deal claraer. Many stone ruins exist in southern Africa; and several are of great and skillful construction. Many square miles are covered by hillside terracing no less extensive than anything the “Azanians of East Africa could show. Thousands of ancient mine workings are recorded – perhaps as many as sixty or seventy thousand (Davidson).
Most of these ruins and remains are found within a wide segment of the south-central hinterland including Rhodesia(Zimbabwe, today), the southern fringe of the Belgian Congo, the western fringe of Mozambique, and the Northern Transvaal. This needs more research because of its ancient buildings and mining which seem to be much wider still [as I have been noting above, I have a Hub in the wroks that will be dealing with tese stone buildings, especially those found in and around South Africa).
The King of Benametapa, Barbosa had told his sixteenth-century audience, “is the lord of an exceeding great country. In this long time of slow, yet successful material and social growth among peoples remotely isolated from the outside world, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe as they exist today may have had their beginnings much more than a thousand years ago, though as simpler structures long since vanished; and these simpler structures may in turn have had their foundation upon the debris of still older buildings of wood and straw and mud, and these earliest dwellings may have taken their rise as long as the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. But the last of the ruins of Zimbabwe – perhaps including the great walls that lift toward blue sky above the puzzled visitor’s head – were probably completed as late as 1700-1750. Thus, the walls of Great Zimbabwe, and the “occupational debris” on which they rest, amy be taken to represent a more or less continuous Iron age occupation through at least twelve centuries (Davidson).
The exact chronology of all this building, majestic in it culmination, is still unknown, and may prove unknowable[ who knows..? - but in my upcoming Hub, I am now able to trace it back to 170,000 years ago with a lot of architectural material evidence to show for it-my two cents]. But a few broad probabilities seem established. Great Zimbabwe itself, as a feudal-national capital of more or less dominant importance in this southern land, evidently flourished in the period between aboutA.D. 1250 and 1750. Mapungubwe, another important site-complex still further south, lying on the south bank of the Limpopo River in the Transvaal of today, was undoubtedly settled some time – and probably a long time – even long before A.D. 900, and not deserted until until the eighteenth century. Although more than one kind of people succeeded each other there(or was confluence of Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa, along with their various people). Large finely wrought structures in the western part of South africa – notably at Dhlo Dhlo, Kahmi, Naletali – are probably of seventeenth or even eighteenth century date. Most of the hillside terracing and stone-founded dwellings of the eastern part of southern Rhodesia(Zimbabwe , now) and western border of Mozambique(Maputo, now) – Niekerk, Inyanga, Penhalonga – are of the same or womewhat earlier date; though all of these, of course, may rest on previous settlements, and several of them certainly do. Blurred at the edges though it is, such is the outline. Yet it is possible to look a littel closer than this, and to clothe this outline with some of the detailied relaity of human Experience” (Davidson). This is the main thrust of the Hub above, to Flesh-out African History with modern contemporary African human experience.
Fleshing-out African Cultural History
HISTORIAL AND CULTURAL CONSCIOUSNESS REVISITED
Culture and personality are not like old clothes that can an be taken off and thrown away. The ability of anyone to learn even the simplest thing is dependent upon utilizing the existing cultural apparatus. “New” Cultures emerge out of older cultures gradually and never completely lose all traces of the old and the past. Human society is a cumulative process process in which the past is never totally obliterated. Even Revolutions do not destroy the past. Indeed, at their best, they liberate that which is alive from that which stifles human progress, growth, and development. Culture is a historical reality, not an ahistorical, static abstraction. Thus, the process whereby the African in the new World or Africa (from colonization in the twenty-first century), changed in order to meet his new environment -the african was and still depended on his/her African culture.
Culture is a historical reality, not an ahistorical, static abstraction, reiterate. Take for instance the fact that the Europeans, coming anywhere from Europe, they brought their churches with them. They brought their own foods with them and continue to get supplies of specific items from the old country if need be. They brought their own dress with them and could choose to wear it or abandon it as they saw fit. They brought their own marriage customs, their own rites of passage, their own kinship system. The Europeans preserved their old customs for as long as they were needed and gradually modified them as they moved into the main society. While some met opposition for being foreigners, they were not stripped of their foreignness overnight.
But the African slaves and those that were colonized in their homelands(countries) could do none of this.. Overnight they were transformed from merchants, or Arabic scholars and thriving civilizations, or craftsmen and iron-smiths or peasant farmers, or cattle herders into American slaves and colonized peoples. They ate what they were given, not what they wanted. They dressed in the clothes that were given them, not those they had known in the past. African women were removed from stable social order which gave them a specific place and function, which protected them in a traditional way-and made commodities, unprotected by a traditional morality, without specific places and functions, and sexually exploited by the master and even deprived of a full relationship with their children.
The Africans had to give up their own languages and learn to express themselves through other media of communication. They had to give up their old kinship systems and create new ones. They had to give up almost all of their culture and become Colonized slaves in Africa , Europe or the Americas. That was demanded of them. But, on the other side, the enslaved/colonized Africans could not really do any of these things, for he/she still had his past. He/She had retained in him the content of his/her mind, his/her memory; he/she recognized as socially significant that which had been taught from childhood to see and comprehend as significant; the gestured, laughed, cried, and used their facial muscles in ways they had learned as a child. They valued that which their previous life had taught them to value; they feared that which he had been feared in Africa of old before the coming of the Europeans; their very motions were those of their people and they passed all of this to their children..
We Are Better-off Knowing Our Past Than Not.. What We Do Not know Is Killing Us…
“Between the years 1834 and 1908, there occurred a revolution in academic thinking about Africa’s place in the outlines of world geography and world history. And in the past 150 years, Europeans explorers and archeologists have found in the the valleys of the Niger, Benwezi, Limpopo and the Nile Rivers, in the basin of Lake Chad and the Sahara extensive remains of hundred of ruins which bear existence of former civilizations hundreds and thousands of years ago. This knowledge of the facts about the African past when combined with the known history of other continents reveal that these also are the stories of triumphs and failures of mankind, and from many chapters in the history of the human race.” (Prof. W. Leo Hansberry)
Most Western historians have not been willing to admit that there is an African history to be written about, and that this history predates the emergence of Europe by thousands of years. It is not possible for the world to have waited in darkness for the European to bring the light because, for most of the early history of man, the Europeans themselves were in darkness. When light of culture came for the first time to the people would later call themselves Europeans, it came from Africa(The Moors of which I have written a Hub on the “Moors of Africa and their Civilizing of europe- African History” and Middle Eastern Asia. Most history books tend to deny or ignore this fact.
It is too often forgotten that, when the Europeans emerged and began to extend themselves into the broader world of Africa and Asia during the 15th and 16th centuries, they went on to colonize most of mankind. Later, they would colonize world scholarship,mainly, the writing of history. History was then written and rewritten to show or imply that Europeans were the only creators of what could be called a civilization. In order to accomplish this, he Europeans had to forget, or pretend to forget, all they had previously knew about Africa.
In the words of Palmer and Colton:
“There was really no Europe in ancient times. In the Roman empire we may see a Mediterranean world, or even a West and an East in the Latin and Greek-speaking portions. But the West included parts of Africa as well a of Europe as we know it was divided by the Rhine-Danube frontier, south and west of which lay the civilized provinces of the Empire, and north and east the “barbarians” of whom the civilized world knew almost nothing.”
There are still those Master Teachers have have brought the story(History) of the Africans to the forefront of World history, and Diop was such a man along with compatriot Obenga. The rage against Diop by White scholars and western self-interest has not abated. If anything, it is very often, these days, parroted by a particular class of Africans themselves, who are still under their tutelage, supervision and control. As for African men, they feel contended to cite only those aspects of the work of the great thinker to serve their purpose, especially the reclaiming of ancient Egyptian civilization. this does not help with the development of the writing of the history of Africans by Africans.
So that, because of our history of colonialism, African intellectuals, if they are to be free from self negation, must deconstruct, invalidate and deconstruct. the enforcement of a common currency and a common language above our local languages is imperative. In reconstructing our history and nation, a gender and class aware social history is a priority. The racist term anthropology, which really should have been social history, must be banned altogether. we must use and adopt the historiography of Diop, Clarke, Ben and many other African historians, sort of a multi-diciplinary approach to write an African social history and enforce the teaching of local history in our curriculum. I have already thrown in my two cent in this struggle, and you can see all this on my Blogs at ixwa.hubpages.com/ We will be better-off promoting serious reading and literacy campaign and get the people to read and know, if it’s the last thing we will do: Reading, for Africans of South Africa, Is Fundamental in this case, and their efforts and endeavors should be pursued energetically and forthrightly..
I had started doing this above[i.e., begin fleshing-up the history of Africans in South Africa by plucking-in what the African say about their culture. The Culture, customs, traditions of the the Basotho people are the same as the rest of the other 9(nine) people. I started utilize what he has written about the culture of the Basotho in Sesotho language and transcribed it to English, with the works of Azariele Sekese’s “Mekgwa Ya Basotho” (The custom, Tradition and Practices of the Basotho). It is important that we revitalize and synchronize African South African culture by giving a full review of the cultural custom and traditional practices of the Nguni/Bakone so as to give a semblance of what the People of Mapungubwe were living like. The Venda, Bapedi, Shangaan, Batswana, the San and the Swazis, Ndebeles were all part of the confluence of their lands, their cultures and traditions. In the literature about Mapungubwe, there is a deliberate denial of the fact that the people of Mapungubwe were practicing the same culture, tradition, customs and practices as the 10(ten) people of South Africa. It is as if to say that was the case, it will lead to accepting the connection of historical and cultural reality that the custom of Mapungubwe and the ten(ten) were one and the same. When one approaches or asks the Africans in South Africa about their culture, say, one were to make mention of the Ways of The Basotho (Mekgwa Ya Basotho ) to any of the members of the ten(10)people, they quickly acknowledge what you may be referring to, like the Basotho circumcision custom, what happens when a person gets married, or a new child is born, or the customary patterns and paractices of the Basotho as compared to theirs are akin if not similar to their own- i.e., one will find agreement across the board as to how similar these cultures with one slight variation and customs are. A short overview of the relevant cultural traits found amongst, and common to all the people of the Nguni/Bakone. Although a full-length treatment of these wi be sparse, the general idea is to show how common are these cultures to each; they are one-and-the-same.
The point to made up to here is that, the people of South Africa are the same in their cultural practices, customs, traditions and ceremonies with their rites. By so saying, I am reiterating the fact that, since the “Tribe issues” was the creation of the Europeans, specifically, the Apartheid regime, to segment, divide and conquer Africans through using the fiction that they are not the same, these detractors spun the lie that Africans had just come from the north of Africa, overcame and destroyed the San, and were constantly on each other’s throat, and have produced no civilization nor advanced culture, and so forth. This Hub has been arguing, throughout and using detailed and various historical, cultural, geological physical archeological, anthropological, linguistic, Africans’ custom, tradition and practices from the Africans themselves to debunk the myth that Africans in South Africa are foreigners, backward, lazy, ignorant and did not posses any type of civilization worth noting. With that in mind, we are going to cursorily explore or state the highlights of the cultures, custom, traditions and practices of the Nguni to concretely establish the assertion the Hub makes that the Africans of South Africa have a cultural mosaic that is as varied as shown on the Photo gallery, but if looked more closely, is the same in many and infinite ways.
All kinship systems of the world are the product of social evolution. An essential feature of evolution is diversification by divergent development, and therefore there is great diversity in the forms of kinship system. An example in Africa is the important part played by cattle and their transfer in the system of marriage and kinship. This is a feature of the patrilineal cattle-keeping people of East and South Africa from the Sudan to the Transkei(South Africa). Kinship looms large among people who obtain their livelihood in small groups with simple tools. Among such peoples differences of aptitudeand special trainging and duties do not, as in more complex societies, overwhelm the bonds between those who ae born togehtr and intermarry. In this case, we need to pinpoint to commonalities in all the 9(nine) people’s Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices below:
In the Zoutpansberg areas ,[former Transvaal], the VhaVhenda(Venda) had already been settled there. The Venda had a mixed culture, a little bit of East and Central African, and mostly Nguni/Bakone made up the bulk of their culture.. Athough they do not conusme pigs, they have the same cutural custom for circumcision as the Swazi. Sotho, Zulu, Pedi, Xhosas, and so on. We now, below, briefly look at the Swazis. As the time goes, this Hub will have added upon it the rest of the other nations of South Africa
The Nation of The Swazi People(Nguni/Bakone]-(Amaswati)
The Clan [uBunitii or "insinini"]
According to Hilda Kuper: “The Swazi of south-eastern Africa are an amalgamation of Nguni and sotho Clans(Nguni/Bakone), welded into a political uit in the eighteenth century by a conquering Nguni Aristocracy. Allegiance to the king overrode clan loyalty and gave rise to a system of government in which clans – the farthest unilateral extension of a kinship group – were subordinated to a centralized military and political orgnization. The swazi’s kinship patterns of the Sotho and those of the Zulus and so forth. The rulers, therefore, appeal to their royal ancestors of the entire nation, akin to the head of each homestead appealing to his ancestors on behalf of his related dependents. The Swazi word for ‘kinship’ is “uBunitii” [which can loosely be translated can mean to "the many"- my insert]. The term “insinini” “kingsman or kinswoman.
Clan Name ( IsiBongo ). Every Swazi belongs to a patrilineal clan, each of which has a distinctive “isiBongo” or clan nameThe Clan (counted to be seventy(70) are either eponymous or refer to episodes in the history of the founders. A number of clans which are now separate were once one, and and this appears from the “isinanatelo” [to annex(in an African cultural sense)]The “isinanatelo” is an accretion and extension of the clan names, which adds to the historical movements and affiliations. If the same name appears in more than one , the groups can be regarded as related sub-clans and intermarriage between the members is taboo for them as well as for clansmen. Only in the case of the royal clan – “Inkosi” – is intermarriage between clans permitted. Clan subdivision continued at the same time as the centralized.
Clans subdivided thorough the rivalry of brothers for leadership[or if one moved to another place and begun his own clan- my addition]; or to reward a clan member for services, thereby bestowing on him a following and an area; This subdivision is currently being continued in the royal clan enabling the King to marry women prohibited by their law of exogamy. This makes the Dlamini nobility to be in the minority and the king to reaffirm his hold on all section of the people ties of polygynous marriage.
In Swazi history every clan had a territorial center, but presently, only a limited number have defined loclity. Evidence of the local base is provided by the changing meaning of the word “isifunza” When questioned about their “isifunnza”, usually the informant give their “isibongo” (Last Name/surname). when asked about their chief’s “isifunza” , usual they point out to ther they give the name of their political head of the district, even if his name is different; while some , others give the name of the founder of their clan even if he does not live in the same locality. A distinction emerges between “isibongo” (Last name), which may be scattered over a umber of political units, and the “isifunza” , which is a local political unit with or without a kinship nucleus.
The Swazi segmentation of clans has not given rise to any distinctive interlined lineage structure, that is, to a structure in which links are remembered. The senior lineage is not even always known. except in clans which have specific task in the national organization. The closest word to lineage is “lusendvo” which was originally applied to the entire clan, but it is now restricted to the effective family council which coincides roughly with lineage. The linage depth of is rarely more than five generations; for the aristocrats it increases to eight or ten.
Clan members follow similar taboos and rituals, but only a few clans still practice rituals involving the clan as such. There is a grading of clans into a rough hierarchy according to their position in the clan structure: at the apex is the conquering Nkosi Dlamini in which the lineage of the kin is pre-eminent. this is followed by clans that have priced queen mothers, then by clans with their own ritual of chieftainship, then by clans holding positions of national importance, and finally by clans with co-ordinating clan ceremonies, no national officials, and no local center. The grading of the clans does not depend on the custom, all of which are regarded as having equal merit for their members. Moreover, the grading is flexible, some clans having risen through diplomacy or loyalty and other having been demoted through conquest or treachery. The position of the royal clan sets the limit of promotion.
Clearly the effectiveness of clan membership is dependent on the national standing o of the clan on the national standing. To men and women of the more important clans clanship involves political and social privileges, but to isolated members of the scattered, defeated, or immigrant clans,, the clan is simply and exogamous group with a common name and a few common customs; it has no defined organization or or claim on active loyalties.
The Family Unit
The Swazi say ‘A child is one blood with its father and mother’. but if a man refused to perform the recognized marriage ceremony, the children will belong to the other’s kin['this is also the case with the other 8(eight) peoples of the Nguni/Bakone-my addition]. Evidence of legal marriage is when the bride’s people accept a number of cattle known as “emabeka” inder the custom of “Ukulobola”. “Ukulobola” (To pay dowry in cows), is specifically connected with the woman’s fertility and with the rights of children. In cases where the woman in not fertile or sterile, and the cattle have already been given for her, a substitute musts be sent to ‘bear for her’. The rights conferred over the children appear when a subject obtains marriage-cattle from his chief; the first daughter of the union is then spoken of as the chief’s child, and cattle received on her marriage go to his heir. If the King contributes even one beast, he receives the full “emabeka” of the first daughter. In both cases, the woman is recognized as the legal wife of the subject and the payment of the cattle gives the other men no sexual rights. All children other than the first daughter are regarded as the husband’s, even though he may not be the genitor. A man may “Lobola” a woman long after she has borne him children, and thereby establishing them as his legitimate offspring, but – this is a variation particular to the Swazis, he may simply pay “Lobola” to the children, [although further research of customary practices of the Nguni/Bakone show that the same is done by the other 8(eight) peoples], leaving the woman to marry elsewhere.
Production of legitimate children is a very serious and important social obligation. After marriage, the emphasis is on child rearing and bearing. The marriage-cattle, [should some of the boys and girls, should they impregnate one another, the girls may lose their finding a prospective husband, and the boys are are fined up to ten head of cattle at puberty], are closed through the use of a string, so that the child is tied on a woman’s back. Should a grown man died without children, but leaving behind a lover, it is the duty of his father or his father’s heir to give cattle for her and provide a be provided for within the kinship group.
The Voice of the Voiceless African South Africans
If one were to look even much more deeper at the cultures of theZulu, Pedis, Tswanas, Xhosas, Vendas and Shangaans, the same cultural patter of marriage, family, wealth, raising children, seasonal planting and planing, rites and rituals the went into blessing the fields, birth of children, marriages, circumcision school their custom, culture and and tradition, children’s games, the bringing up of and guiding youth, village law, the rules for Kings and so forth, are common to all. When this Hub was written up and will be extended too in the near future, the aim was to show that the African people’s of South Africa are One Nation. One thing that must be made clear her is the fact that at the pace of the New ANC-African led government, Apartheid perception and psychology still rule. Whites have more computers to themselves and are hooked-up to the Internet in more numbers than their African counterparts. Book of African history have been shredded, destroyed or simply put out of circulation with the outgoing political arm of apartheid, So, what you have today in South Africa is a paucity of written historical or otherwise books and material about Africans in south Africa. My task in writing this tome and the sequel to it: “History, Culture, Customs and Practices Of the Africans of South Africa: Deconstructing Historical Amnesia” , wherein Language and material culture, and Literature are further investigated and put into proper perspective. As writers and researcher on the History and Culture of Africans in South Africa, we do not have the luxury of shortening our work, but elongating it in order for the future children of South Africa to find a relevant text from which to being to find their history as packaged above: long and involved, but close to covering, and moving the historical narrative of a people who have no time and money to carry out such an endeavor-to a more coherent and update it to swirl in the cyber-streaming datapshere.
What the Hub above does, in its being such a long tome, is reconstruct, African people’s history and link it to the History of Mapungubwe. The People of the civilization of Mapungubwe were African people that are now inhabiting the whole of South Africa. South Africa as a country was the Breadbasket of the economy for Mapungubwe, and its labor pool. The children of South Africa today should be taught this history, and know how to deconstruct the history that has been written by the colonizers and their intellectuals and historians. In order for the future leaders of South Africa to be able to create a nation, they will have to have a better understanding of their history as should children of today. As I have noted, not much is being written in the fashion and style that this Hub is recreating: The linkage between the African people(who are viewed as one nation throughout the Hub), who the Hub contends are one nation, is important to be traced and knitted together to enlighten and empower the people of South Africa, who have to begin to see that their clothing, their huts, villages, marriage system, music, dances, language, culture, custom, traditions and practices are that of one nation- with oneness in Ubuntu -one ‘muntu’ or ‘motho’ . For the African people of South Africa to shed-off the way Apartheid defined them, there needs to be alternate historical account and a much more serious research into what Mapungubwe was all about, and how that culture has come down to the present people of South Africa. If one were to follow up on Dr. Damm’s findings of the Zinjathropus Africanus , we would have then have to go back to Gondwana land, long before the shift of the Plate Tectonics that we see as contents today, long before the Plate Techtonics separated continents as we see them today. This then wont’t be farfetched to say that the people of south Africa have never migrated from nowhere, but have always been part of the continent of Africa, it’s Southern most part as its inhabitants; or as the accounts of the Stravinski’s shipwrecked sailors wrote of the Zulu people that, “One can see that these people[the Zulus]have long been living here from remote time”.
What this Hub is doing is to enable the African people of South Africa to see and know that their Languages, Cultures, Music, Traditions and Custom are living human phenomena. Other Cultures throughout the world apologize to no one when it come to their Cultures, Traditions, Practices, Customs and Traditions. They celebrate them with pomp and circumstance. The Hub empowers the people of South Africa, especially of African descent, from all walks of life, that, their cultures, traditions, customs, languages and practices are second to none, and they can account and stand up for themselves. Even though this might sound trivial, it is important if the African people of South Africa may begin to have a national historical psychotherapy they so sorely need. Generation after generation, from the Dark Days of primitive Apartheid of Jan Van Riebeeck to the Refined and more deadly Apartheid of De Klerk, African people have been put down, denigrated, their humanity squashes, repressed, depressed and suppressed to the extent that, whilst they were trying to recuperate from that onslaught, they are now facing a neo- Apartheid ANC-led government which is working hard to please their Imperial masters and former Apartheidizers, at the expense of the African people of South Africa. The people still do not have enough of anything to begin to work and function as a nation- one people with one culture, albeit diverse.
The length of this Hub may be too much for Internet readers, but in all earnestness, this is written for and on behalf of the African people of South Africa who are denied access to good books about themselves, denied access to the growing and spreading World Wide Web, made ignorant with the type of confusing education that is now being imposed upon their children, and worse still, isolating Adult Learners, and outsourcing the land, its culture, people to the highest bidder- as practiced by the ANC government. The very people who have been supposedly been “liberated” with the fall of Apartheid, are today under assault from all other factions in South Africa, from denying that Africans are Africans, to the criticisms of the ineptness and sloppiness-ameteurish ANC government, have been made the butt of the joke and scorn of the retrogressive White racist who can’t stop attacking anything that Africans do. Some have even boldly announced on the Web that South Africa was better-off and rich during Apartheid rule. Well, this has been fully addressed by several Hubs I have already posted and written on all facets of the South African society under Apartheid rule, and they debunk this unproven-hippocritical and biased untruth: that African people’s culture, customs, traditions, languages and practices are backward and underdeveloped-stuck in time and space and never evolving. If Kasie Slang is anything to go about, found in the discourse on the Hub called “History, Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices of the Africans of south Africa: Deconstructing Historical Amnesia”, wherein language and its role in the culture is explored fully, which will in the end help the people and children of South Africa to begin to reconstruct their nation based on solid Historical and Cultural foundations and the postulations and research that has been carried-out in this Hub.
The Picture or Photo Gallery is designed in a way to show the sameness, or similarities between the ten(10)n the 9(Nine) peoples of South Africa from housing for different clans to schools and radio stations for the different Nguni/Bakone people. This Hub develops the sameness of these cultures, customs, traditions and languages as having the same origins, and are practiced in the same way by the African Peoples of South Africa. This Hub will be added to with sequel “History, Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices Of the Africans of South Africa: Deconstructing Historical Amnesia .
The ancient mines that dot the landscape that is South Africa are a testament of the whole region, from where Mapumgubwe is situated to the Cape, there are mines that show that not only was Mapungubwe trading with the ancient East9China and so forth), but it was sustained and used the entire South African country as their reserve wealth. In order for South Africans to reclaim their history, they have to put together the narrative of the history of Mapungubwe squarely on the laps of Africans in South Africa. The social, political, economical, cultural arena and lifestyles that were the order of the day can still be found amongst the Africans of South Africa. It is putting together the histories, cultures, custom, traditions of the Nguni/Bakone people in a coherent and well-connected narrative that gives one wholesome meaning to the culture of South Africa and helps African to confidently reclaim their history cultures, traditions, languages and custom on their way to cobbling together a unique and unified nation.
As I have cited Wilson above who says that Culture is man’s adaptive dimension/” and Wilson further adds that: “If societies are to survive, they must minimally satisfy certain biological, psychological and social needs of their members. They must successfully counter those and their very biological survival. Culture is the social-institution instrument which is crucial for facilitating a people’s adaptation to the complexities of their world. Therefore, its functional structure, cohesiveness, resilience, flexibility, responsivity to reality. evolutionary growth and development, or the relative lack thereof, to a very significant extent, determine its longevity and quality of life. Culture is learned and is the result of historically and conceptually created designs and patterns for living with and relating to others and the cosmos.” I have already cited this in the Hub, but had to repeat it in order to encapsulate my thoughts about about the need for the Africans of South Africa above to reclaim their History, cultures, customs. traditions, languages and practices- for themselves, their own empowerment and restoration of their ‘nearly’ destroyed humanity.
By breaking down the different cultures, customs and traditions, using the language the people speak, although partly translated into English, is to give the a sense of the realness of their language, the pictures in the photo gallery give them a sense of sameness, and the reality that their culture, if put in the a picturesque setting like I have down, will validate its beauty, strength, grace, wiseness and staying power, that, the differentness that was introduced by Apartheid was but a mirage, which has held them back so long, and lack means of presenting their own culture for themselves in a way that show unity, sameness and diversity within one culture and a people and nation. Gail Gerhart writes: “Culture contact, in short. despite the material satisfaction which it brought to many Africans, was not in general a psychologically rewarding experience. Synthesizing elements of old and new, a distinctive African urban subculture did gradually come into being, but underneath its often vibrant and gay exterior lingered a continuing crisis of the spirit. Unable to focus frustrations on their true source, Africans tended to turn aggressive impulses on one another and inward onto themselves, engaging in fights and violent crimes against other Africans or escaping into the consciousness-numbing world of alcohol/drink and drugs”[The issue of drugs decimating the Africans in South Africa will be explored in later Hubs]
The Khoikhoi And Bushmen Are African South African History Personified
A Prep and Briefing as to the Ramifications of Historical Timeline
We have to write our own History. Our story and history has been defiled and it is up to us to pick up the cudgel and tell the World who w are. We all should know that we are the Nguni/Bakone of South Africa and we are “ALL” of us: Khoikhoi, “Bushmen”, Xhosas. Sothos, Zulus, Tswans, Swazis, Batswanas, Shanggaans, Tsongas, Ndebeles- that this is what I call Nguni/Bakone. I preface my remarks above the way I am doing because I am about to embark on a historical recreation of African South African historiography. The history I am about to discuss below is laying everywhere and in many sources, throughout the world and in our country of Mzantsi.
We all know by now that our history is and has been written by our oppressors, and they present it in a very negative, disjointed, confusing and ahistorical way. Throughout the nearly four decades of our subjugation we have been forced to imbibe a story of our history which alienates us from our history. Africans ended up learning about their past from a very racist and divisive regime and they have kept it up to date. In reconstructing the History of the Africans Peoples of South Africa, all these listed above, we will use a multi-inter-intra disciplinary approach to begin to construct the Historiographical historical narrative from whence it originates. I would like to point out here earlier on that African history in South Africa as sprouted by the Apartheidizers, was designed to situate a wedge between the eleven varied clans listed above. So that, before we can talk about the history of the Khoi and the overall importance of recognizing that the History and story of the Khoi and the Nguni/Bakone people is intimately intertwined and evolved according to the times and within their given environment as would other people in other nations and continents. But What is unique about the History of the African South African people is that it did so without the people “Migrating” to and from anywhere. The Africans of South Africa have been and will always be part and parcel of the flora and fauna, geographical, spiritual,cultural, customary, traditional, linguistic and anything that when identified as South African, they are it and part and parcel thereof.
I contend and assert that the people of South Africa are where they are because as nature evolved, they were already there. The evidence that they had been there will be discussed in full below in a jiffy. If we are to anchor African history into the antiquated past, we will have to then find those who have recorded this fact and use it to construct the history within the strictures of historical sources, but in the process molding it to appeal and relate to the African peoples of the whole of South Arica by making sure that it is written from the African South African people’s point of view. Before we accept or talk about the Unity of the whole continent of Africa, we must first of all reconstruct, build and formulate the history and their nation of South Africa so that the world sees its history as they themselves would like it to be depicted they as a nation and Africans.
Preliminary Notable Historical Ruminations
At this juncture, I would like to approach the history of South Africa from a Geological premise so as to lay base for the discourse of other evidence which we will suture into the overall historical narrative to give a proper timeline as to the evolution of Africans in South, and in doing so, begin to show the ‘sameness’ and similarities of the history of south as the history of the eleven(11) people mentioned above, and how this history was never separate neither different, but was one continuous evolution of a people and their environment and they making genius decisions in dealing with their environment and the survival of their species. In order for the history of South Africa to be recast, rebuild and rewritten to suit and be relevant for the African in South Africa, we will being by following, crating and adjusting the evidence as presented by different disciplines in order to begin to know where to start, and where to go in and about their past.
To begin with, we all know that according to Geology, all the continents were clustered into one and they were called “Gondwanaland” because they were rested on the Plate Tectonics below, that when they shifted and separated, they are what we see today as different continents, apart(still moving and riding on the Plate tectonics, that this will help explain the fact that Africans have always been ben where they are at today: the African continent. This fact will soon be realized below when we discuss the fossil evidence that is available now. It is now an all round accepted view that Africa is the mother of all human beings and present-day nations. If humans had occupied Africa, there has been no need to migrate elsewhere when the present evidence shows that they evolved, in the case of south Africa, 5 million years ago, and that, all throughout that time, as it diminished because human earth time and dating was reversing to A.D. So that, Fossil records give us a window into seeing African history from those millions of years to the 15th “Century and most recent times.
We have always been living in South Africa and there is evidence which show and tell us so. All we need to do is to familiarize ourselves with this time line, then in the process we will be able to trace the origins of “ALL” South Africans from remote antiquity to date, as noted above. The evidence of the evolution of Homo Sapiens in south Africa presents us with an opportunity to begin to see our moorings in the respectful commentary of World history. The time line I am about to divulge puts All Africans right into the whole country of South Africa, and in an important way, begin to give us an idea why African will be able to tell the World why all the eleven(11) people are South Africans. These notations I am making here are to set the stage for what I am to discus. It should be borne in mid that this historical timeline is one of many missing links that show Africans why the are one people- One diverse African South African nation. Without this link, we cannot ever hope to see all the 11 clans as one nation and people with one, but variegated and differentiated cultures, custom, traditions, languages, practices, history and rites: and as one seamless African South African mosaic.
The Pre-History of the Africans of South Africa…
Man is a historical animal. he visualizes his history as being a design in the making and, after it has come to pass, he sees it as a memory pregnant with meaning, as a ‘model’. Consciousness of the past is accordingly marked by the very nature of that past and by the character of each of the stages through which it passes. A people that has long been victorious does not have the same consciousness of its past as one that has long been subjugated. Geographical conditions also affect the quality of a people’s view of things. In certain respects, therefore, time as visualized by the Africans is both mythical and social. Even so, it should be now seen that Africans must become active agents of the own history, and African time will be found to b authentically historical. Indeed, one has to consider Africans’ whole conception of the world in order to understand their view of time and its real meaning for them. social time, history experienced by a group, amasses power, and that power is symbolize and given concrete form by the object which is transmitted by the clan.
It is true that, for some centuries, Africans have been deprived of the conscious power of initiative as a result of the alienating disorders inflicted by the slave trade and colonization. there are also grounds for believing that the people who lived in may self-contained micro-socieites during the pre-coloninal period were under some kind of weight under the authority of the elders, but they always felt that they have a collective destiny. They felt involved in their communities through the level of decision-,making and of being a free agent was most strong. since power was the attribute most widely shared in such societies, it was there that the colonial conquest encountered the fiercest resistance. Before we digress, will now go into looking and learning about the timeline of African history of south Africa now in a more in-depth and structured and disciplined way for we have to do this in order to begin to put the story of the history of Africans in a much more proper perspective, so that we now begin at the beginning , as far as we can read and interrogate the record of this history as it should have been told or wrtten about-also, how it should be written
The Pre-History of the African South Africans
Before I deeply go into the Historiography of African South African history, I would like to add a caveat at this juncture. On the whole, the fact that human groups were limited in size for very long periods in Africa meant that power and history were everybody’s business and it is this that accounts for the popular ‘democratic’ inspiration that so frequently informs the African conception of history. Everybody felt he/she had at least the power to flee autocratic rule and take refuge in the wide and ‘open spaces’. Shaka himself went through the same process. This feeling of taking part in the making of history in the village setting and the sensation of being borne along like a fine particle in the closely-knit network of a large chiefdom are very important factors for the historian, for they are in themselves the stuff of history and contribute in their turn to its making. This is the spirit I am hoping manifests itself as we begin to embark on a journey of learning and studying African South African history from whence it all begn. The actual social nature of the African conception of history confers on it an undeniably historical dimension, for history is the evolving life of the group. And for this history to have far-reaching an influence, it should be treated and accepted as a constant reminder of whence we come, where are present, and whither we headed… the fossil record found all over South Africa, is our silent witness and informer as to our antiquated past…
Africans Have Always Been In Mzantsi. A Forensic History
When Africans Were Hominids
The first Australopithecine fossil, a juvenile, was found in 1924 in a lime-cemented breccia at Taung in the North of the Cape Province in South Africa. The first adult individual was discovered in 1936, again in old cave deposits, this time in the Krugersdorp region of the Transvaal. The specimen of the hominid of the Australopithecine that was found in Lake Chad has now been considered to be most recent in terms of carbon dating methods. In fact, most of the Australopithecines found so far have been from the South African caves and the Rift- Valley sites, on account of the favorable conditions existing there for the preserved bones. The fossils of South Africa can be dated relatively by paleontological and geomorphological comparisons. Latest assessments based on the studies of pigs, elephants and hyenas suggest that the earliest Transvaal fossils associated with them are about 2.5 million years old at least. The cave breccias, at the Makapan limeworks and the Sterkfontein type site, contain a few mammalian forms in common with those of the dated East African assemblages.
The earliest South african Australopithecines were mostly of gracile built, with a slightly small cranial capacit. In the later cave sites at Swartkrans and Kromdraai, the predominant form was much more robust ( Australopithecus robustus ). Later it has been postulated that the two forms ( gracile and the robustus ) existed contemporaneously, as in the case of Makapan in South Africa. According to some authors and researchers, the two forms were from one ancestor from about 5 million years ago. the Homo habilis of East Africa has been dated to have existed around 1.7 and 2 million years ago.
A large number of Australopithecine hominid fossils have been found in the South African caves are giving the researchers and us the readers a sense of the fact that these remains have been there or millennia and this means that this was their original place of abode. A Study of the cave in site at Swartkrans have been occupied by different Homo Sapiens in different times, eras and epochs- and this is according to the way they are piled on top of each and they represent these different timelines, showing that even when large carnivores had occupied theses cave it is at different times- cave occupancy changed with the time. Stone tolls have ben found dating to about 1.5 million years ago in the Sterkfontein caves (Swartkrans, Sterkfontein extension site and Kromdraai) However, bone fragments of a more recent species, Homo sapiens, have been found in the same Swartkrans deposit and this form is associated with the tools. Because they were hunting and ate meat this has led to their creating even more sophisticated tools of stone, and by becoming efficient in their hunting sprees, the developed a sophisticated organization and communication and eventually a fully-fledged language.
Oldowan Industrial Complex
Either than stone, there wereother materials such as wood, bark, horn and bone, were used as tools, but unfortunately, most ofthese material do not lend themselves to being preserved and thus stone working remains the point from which the sxerts begin their enquiry.
The earliest stone industries of Southern Africa produce several distinctive types of tools, including choppers. polyhedral stones, scrapers, flakes and so forth. Compared with the East African artifacts, these tools display attributes that are closer to the more advanced form of the Oldowan complex that the earlier form, and it now generally accepted that the South African sites date from some 1.5 million years ago. Two hominid lines can b e distinguished by that time – the robust Australopithecine and the more recent Homo
The earliest South African assemblage belonged to the “Acheulian” industrial complex and they come from two sites located at the junction of the Vaal and its tributary, the Klip, near Vereeniging. the tools are often abraded and are therefore not in their original context. A whole range of tools is represented: hand axes, cleavers, polyhedral stones, pebble tools, scrapers and flake tools. Occasional finds of other early looking assemblages have been made in different parts of Southern Africa, such as the Cape Province and Livingstone in Zambia.
Acheulian Time Frame and sites
The favored living places in Acheulian times were, however, always close to water, such as dambos , where game was in the habit of gathering and where water was always available. At Cornelia, it is possible that animals may have been driven into the mud in these dambos an the butchered. In the dry Karroo bush of northern Cape Province and Botswana, the Acheulian population settled around pans and shallow lake sites that abounded in the region at this time. Yet another habitat favored by the Acheulian Man – the shoreline – is shown by the large site found at Cape Hangklip, False Bay, in consolidated dune sands overlying the beach. At this site the diet consisted of marine animals and shellfish. Spring localities were also occupied such as the Amanzi site in the present-day winter rainfall belt, south of the Great Escarpment near Port Elizabeth. On this site, tools were found that had been discarded, and trampled underfoot by Elephants and other game, which too came there to water. The cave were sometimes occupied by Acheulian Man in Southern Africa. These included the “Cave of Hearths at Makapan in the Northern Transvaal, where the remains have yielded a human jaw from a juvenile having affinities with Homo rhodesiensis. In this cave also found was a number of tool of both early and later Acheulian forms. This show that the occupancy of this cave was taken over by different human species over time. The Acheulian in Southern Africa extends fro about 700,000 to 200,000 years before the Christian era. One must add that there is definitely an infinite variety of the types of habitat and resources(material culture) of these hunters of the later Acheulian throughout South Africa.
The End of the Acheulian or Fauresmith
There have been found certain remains and material cultures that have ben in existence for millenniums on the high interior plateau, and they are characterized by generally smaller-sized and well-made hand axes, a wide range of flake tools, core scrapers and a small number of clreavers. The raw material uses was lydianite (indurated shale) in the regions where that rock abounds, but elsewhere quartzite was more commonly used. In this assemblage, a method of core preparation known as the disc-core technique, yielding several several small flakes, is represented very well. These industries have been termed “Fauresmith”, after the site in the orange River region where these almond shaped hand axes were first found on the surface. They are dated from 115,000 to 80,000 years before the Christian era. In the Fauresmith, therefore, we can detect the beginnings of regional specialization in tool-kits reflecting adaptive patterns differ from those in the woodlands and forests.
Some time between 100,000 and 80,000 years ago, the sea level began to drop from its previous highstand of 5-12 meters. shortly after this time, Man began to occupy favored localities on the recently abandoned beaches and in the caves. Meanwhile, the semi arid climate became established over part of the equatorial region, begun to restrict the forest which was gradually replaced by grassland and woodland offering a more favorable habitat for man and game animals. The underlying techniques of this time were the Levallois and the disc-core methods for manufacturing flakes and making them into lightweight tools by direct percussion. In Southern Africa, the regional industries of the period consisted of a large number of material culture from both caves and surface sites, and were dating between 40,000 and 20,000 years B.C.E. One can see the use of these flaking techniques of Levallois and disc-core flaking techniques, both of which were used to produce triangular flakes and an increasingly large number of blades, chiefly quartizite. these tools are found in the winter winter rainfall areas south of the GreatEscarpment, in South-West Africa, the Orange Free State and Transvaal region. In general the tolls have similar dimensions and show refinement in the retouching that is not found in earlier group. This to me shows that the society was evolving and becoming more sophisticated and growing as a result of the advancement in technique of hunting, and social engineering.[This part will be further elaborated upon in the upcoming Hub about Pre-History of South Africa]
We then come to the time period known as the “Magosian” or “Second Intermediate Complex”. It combines evolved diminutive expression of the disc-cores by means of a bone, horn or hardwood tool. The raw materials selected were often crypto-crycrypto-crustalinestaline rocks. These industries are dated back to more than 15,000 to 20,000 years ago and are found in Zimbabwe, Zambia, the eastern Orange Free State, the southern Cape Province and parts of Namibia. Briefly reviewing the fossil evidence from South Africa, after the end of the Aechulian, similar skulls of the Saldana and Kabwe (Broken Hill) have some asssciation. Although this needs to proven that the complete Saldanah Skull and, the local Sangoan and final Aechulian whether or not their were associated. The use of different and multiple tools,, the frequency of burial places and placing of objects with the dead, and widespread pigment for decoration, all of tese things bear witness to the evolution of Homo sapiens towards a lif-style involving more ritaulistic and symbolic aspects, more particularly after about 25,000 years B.C.E.
The material culture of the Middle Stone Age sites is far more extensive than from those of the Acheulian. the Cave of Hearths at Makapan provides evidence as to how fireplaces and housing shelters were distributed. Several stone foundations pointing to the existence of wind-breaks have been discovered at the Orengea I site. In Swaziland, haematite for use as pigment appears to have been first extracted as early as 28,000 years ago. Anvils and former hearth-floors have also been found in the Middle Stone Age horizons at Kalambo Falls and were dated to be around 27,000. The founding of animal remains found on this sites give us perspective that there was already a distinct improvement in hunting techniques.
The Late Stone Age
In southern Africa, the conventional picture of the Late Stone Age is one of industries producing very small-sized ‘microlithic’ tools usually referred to as Wilton after the cave sites in the western Cape Province. At some of the sites in the subcontinent, however, what has come to b e known as pre-Wilton industries have been recognized. These made their appearance about 20,000 years B.C.E era and represent a radical change in the stone tool technology. The prepared core techniques of the Middle Stone Age were replaced by occurrences with informal cores and irregular flakes struck from them. The only consistently formal tolls are large scrapers, together with several small forms of flake and convex scraper. specimens of all these are known from sites at the south coast, and from the Orange Free State, Transvaal and Namibia.
These pre-Wilton industries are associated with the hunting of large ungulate fauna, such as Hartebeeste, Blue Antelope, and quagga. In addition, the existence of a large number of marine animals in the faunal remains indicates that the rise in sea level during this period had made it possible to engage in the direct harvesting of food resources from the sea. The microlithic tradition is associated with the development of more efficient forms of composite tools, the most significant of these being the “Bow and Arrow”.
Many Late stone Age sites are known and there is reason to believe that there was a significant increase in population during this period. This seems to be borne out by the expansion of hunting and the new techniques in involved: caves and shelters came to be increasingly occupied, local resources were exploited more extensively and intensively, and hunting became more important and specialized. the pattern of hunting has not really changed much from that of the present-day Kalahari iBush men and other hunter groups living in that arid region. There was ample opportunity for these hunters to indulge their intellectual interests, some of which are manifest in the magnificent rock Art of the Drakensberg mountains, Zimbabwe and Namibia. I still want to hold my own opinion[until further research] as to what I think about the dating of these paintings go as far as they go. I will be putting much research and will add it to the narrative of the second deposition about the Khoikhoi, which will follow this article.
The record provided by pre-historic studies in southern Africa, and South Africa in particular, shows the high interior plateau land to have played a leading part in the evolution of Africans, the tool makers. the increasing ingenuity and efficiency with which succeeding hominid populations developed and combined adaptations and innovations demonstrates the Great Antiquity and Continuity of many Cultural Traits which still persist in present and contemporary South Africa, as has been discussed in this Hub.
Developing, Rewriting and Reconstructing Afric an History in South Africa
Hunters and Gathers: Putting It All together
I would like to preface my remarks by stating that the problem with writing African History, there are some gaps that even the researchers accede to the paucity and total lack of data(in many instances that they speculate, guess or leave space unfilled, that in the end, there is important information left out of their researches; I have come with the idea not to use these techniques, but cull from the available concrete data that makes African history become one seamless narrative.
We pick up the historical narrative where we showed that the evolution of early African hominids in South Africa, got them to the point of designing and inventing a “Bow and Arrow”. I do not buy the notion that iron-using peoples had moved south of the Limpopo at the latest the fourth and fifth entueries of the Christian era.
Writing Africans Out of African History – Restoring African History
When it come to the history of Africans in South Africa, so much has been distorted, falsely asserted, confusing research and bogus data has bee used, applied and written about and by those whose interest is to divide and conquer Africans not only socially, but also academical and historically, etc. By writing the the abbreviated version of the “Pre-History” of Soouth Africans in South africa, the aim here is to give their history perfect referential continued and clear timeline as to how they evolved, where, and what was the evidence presented by the fossils to show that Africans have been in South Africa from really remote antiquity. The problem is that Africans have not been able to have and return to the precise chronological data and other facets of their history so as to reorientate their presently dysfunctional society. One of the most insidious way the detractors of African history, those who are inclined to tilt within the Eugenics Science and orb, have consciously made an effort to wax their jingoism in order to to show-off their racial superiority over Africans and other people of color.
My point in citing the above excerpt is to point out how African South African history has been written as we have seen it in its curricula or text books. What it is, this Contemporary South African African history is not written to put Africans in the context of their history, land and culture; the Apartheidizers have tried very hard to write an ahistorical view of African, so that whenever Africans start speaking about African History, they have either to start with Bartholomew Diaz in 1490 and Vasco da Gama in 1492 or either with Jan Van Riebeeck in 1652. The African peoples Historical learning curve is thus limited in that fashion. They have been disabled to think beyond that. Added to this confusion and lie is the Apartheidizers stated historical viewpoint that Africans came from the north of Africa and migrated into South Africa at the time the Settlers were landing in the Cape. This first “Deposition of African History of South Africa starts it From long before Pre-history, and then goes on to delineate the historical timeline using fossils and recovered industrial material. These deposition I will be posting, will not only talk about the Khoi being Africans of South Africa, but as has been seen in the “Pre-History” narrative above, the evolution of Africans in South Africa was “sine quanon” African throughout the country now known as Mzantsi, that one group cannot be separated from the 11(Eleven) indigenous groups that make up the nation of Africans of South Africa.
Even though the focus of the Khoi is going to take a big chunk of the laying down of Africans History, that the Khoi are Africans of South Africa, it will be readily and clearly seen that the Khoi played a very much greater role than has heretofore been suspected or known; in the same breath, the other Africans in south Africa had just as much played a significant in the preservation and making it possible for the extended survival of the Khoikhoi and the Bushmen, that, as Pre-Pre-History and Pre-History(all touched up on above) informs us, the various parts of South Africa were evolving in the different time periods without much difference. African South African Pre-history shows and points us to evidence as to how they evolved as a human species and the people who peopled South Africa from as far as beyond 5 million years. There is material culture and the remains of the hominids found all over South Africa, and yet we out of the blue never had any people in South Africa till the Settlers came. This does not jive with historical facts and human evolution and man mastering his/her environment as has other people’s done throughout the World. There were no European people until Grimaldi Man left Africa. His evolution subsequent to that Trek has been documented thoroughly. Africans are suffering from the abusive Colonizers who were irrational and exuberant at the same time in writing Africans of South Africa out of the respectable commentary of world history.
Before we could talk about the Khoi Khoi, we had to lay down the foundation of African history from a holistic point of view so as to encompass all the groups in south Africa in order to be able to suture this distorted history into one coherent historiographical narrative. It is very easy to fall into the trap of segmenting African history by discussing the Khoi people in the absence of other Nguni/Bakone people when Pre-History informs us that all these people evolved throughout the Cape, Drakensberg, Transvaal, Natal, Botswana, Zimbabwe and so on. These ancestors of Africans left cave painting and material culture throughout the land of Mzantsi that we can no longer be hoodwinked into believing an invented and colonized African history. Eurocentric History writing is essentially an exercise in publishing apologetics for the European oppression of African peoples. Often a gross and crude attempt to create and shape and subordinate and inferior African consciousness and psychology. It seeks to imposed a social/historical/cultural amnesic tax on the heads of African peoples and thereby rob them of their most valuable resources – their knowledge of truth and reality of self; their cultural heritage, and identity, minds, bodies and souls. their wealth, lands, products of their labor and lives. Its treacherous role in this regard must be explored and reversed by an African-centered Historiography written by African Historians dedicated to historical accuracy and truth – historians who are unafraid to speak truth to power – and tell their people the historical truth are now needed more now than ever. I am going to write about the Khoikhoi history in my next or second Deposition[or Hub], wherein I will now delve into the meat and bones of that history, whilst linking it clearly and directly to and with the history of the Nguni/Bakone People in order to demonstrate that it is one seamless and continuous history with no segments or division… If what I write is wrong, so I stand corrected by my peers. I will start working on the Actual history of the Khoi and Busmen in the early days of Van Riebeeck dictatorship..
Historical and Experiential Amnesia
Up to this far in the Hub, we have come to the point that is very important, the effects and affects of amnesiac historical and cultural, customary, traditional, linguistic, , practices and rites of a people is what is holding back any form and type of development that can be undertaken by the Africans of South Africa. Throughout the Hub I have been trying to suture and recast African South african History, customs, languages, literature(the latter two will be given full attention in the Hub that is a sequel to this one called “History, Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices of the Africans of South Africa: Deconstructing Historical Amnesia”, which has already been published). What is crucial and important is that one hopes that Africans in South Africa as a nation, can be able to escape the suicidal mystifications of colonial miseducation that most of them are not aware of; and, even if they do, most of them do not know how deal with that reality.
Miseducation of Africans About Their History On Steroids
In order to put this hub into its proper perspective, Chinweizu informs us thus:
“It was miseducation which sought to with from me the memory of our true African past and to substitute instead an ignorant shame for whatever travesties Europe chose to represent as African Past. It was miseducation which sought to quarantine me from all influences, ancient as well as contemporary, which did not emanate from, or meet with the imperial approval of, western “civilization.” It was a miseducation which, by encouraging me to glorify all things European and by teaching me a low esteem for and negative attitudes towards things African, sought to cultivate in me that kind of inferiority complex which drives a perfectly fine right foot to strive to mutilate itself into a left foot. It was a miseducation full of gaps and misleading pictures: it sought to structure my eyes to see the world in the imperialist way of seeing the world; it sought to internalize in my consciousness the values of the colonizers; it sought to train me to automatically uphold and habitually employ the colonizers’ viewpoint in all matters, in the strange belief that their racist, imperialist, anti-African interest is the universal, humanist interest, and in a strange belief that the view defined by their ruthless greed is the rational, civilized view. And by such terms of supposed praise as “advanced,” “detribalized,” and getting to be quite civilized,” it sought to co-opt my sympathies and make contemptuous of examining what it should have been my duty to change and alleviate. For it was a distracting miseducation which tried in every way to avoid questions that were important to me and to the collective African condition. It tried to maneuver me away from asking them; it tried to keep me from probing them most thoroughly; it tried instead to preoccupy me with other matters. But the had realities of the Black(African) Condition kept insisting that I ask: Where did our poverty, our material backwardness, our cultural inferiority complexes begin and why? And why do they persist in spite of political independence?”
If the reader has read the whole Hub up to here, Chinweizu is more than relevant here. He covers all the issues we have raised and tells us how what this Hub has been trying to do in reconstructing African history, all the issues raised herein, affected everything about him and the world and real-reality he lives in day in and day out. What Chinweizu is discussing above, is what this Hub has repetitively been pointing out to as the Achilles heel of African progress and development in various ways.
Unlearning the Narcotized Colonial Miseducation
Chinweizu, true to form, delves even much deeper into his soliloquy in the following manner:
“When I turned to the official explainers and interpreters, and to the expert and benevolent meliorists of our condition, and asked for a flash of light, they wrapped my head instead with a should of double-talk and evasions; they thrust my head into a garbage dump of facts, facts and more bits and pieces of facts which merely confused me the more by their (deliberately?) disorganized abundance; they punctured the membranes of my ears with slogans, distinctions without preferences, smart phrases which brightly and engagingly misled; they offered me tools, supposedly analytic, which mauled what they claimed to explain, and left me constipated with jargon and dazed with confusion. The experience was thoroughly disillusioning. In my pain I began to suspect that my mind had been, over the years, held prisoner in a den where intellectual opiates were served me by official schools, by approved lists of books, by the blatant as well as subliminal propaganda of films, and by an overwhelming assortment of media controlled by interests inimical to, and justifiably scared of a true and thorough-going African Nationalism. Suspecting that the glittering phalanx of experts spoke to my colonizers and their imperial interests, I felt that, even thoughI was not an “expert” in these fields, I should nevertheless conduct my own investigation into the origins and circumstances of the deplorable African stasis, learning the necessary skills “on the job” as it were.”
The Hub above has been pointing out to the ‘self-appointed experts that have given themselves the task of explaining to the world, and on the internet what they ‘think’ they know about Africans in south Africa. In the Hub I contended that these so-called pros know nothing about the Africans of south Africa, and proceeded to breakdown thee custom and cultures of both the Basotho and (a bit) about the Swazis, using their own language, and interpreting it to the best of my ability in English to make the point that African south African History, culture, customs, tradition and so on are not static nor non-existence, but, as according to the definition I utilized from Hall and Wilson, to gave us a definition of Culture, which it turns out is right down the pike it was with the culture of the Basothos and the Swazis I have written about in this Hub. This was in an effort to aid Africans to begin to unlearn and learn their history anew and in a much more informed way and manner. After realizing and learning that he can teach himself to morph into his own written account, educating himself about himself and his people anew, made him realized that by thinking so, he was ready to unlearn what he called the “narcotic colonized education” and how he had to overcome the challenges of deconstructing the Master’s history and rewriting and recreating his own history in his own image and people. This is how Chinweizu addresses this part of the discourse I am talking above in the paragraph below:
“My official education was over. The overthrow of the allegiances programmed into me by it was in swift progress; but there were vital things I still had to learn-things they did not and would not teach me in school; things they would, if they could, keep me from coming into contact with even outside school; things in order to appreciate which I had to painfully unlearn much of what they had instilled in me at school. And so I began a journey of the mind; a journey by a mind thoroughly alienated from its imperialized miseducation. And the purpose of this journey was first to seek out the roots of the Black Condition within which my mind suffered. By the way, if any should think inappropriate my discussing colonial education through imagery of opium narcotics, let them consider that the British, from 1839 to 1842, waged war on China in order to force the Chinese to buy opium with her Britannic Christian Majesty’s imperial agents grew in India. Victory in the Opium War earned the British the “right” to addict so many Chinese to opium that much of the population, nodding and half asleep all the time, was supinely amenable to Western cultural aggression and imperialist manipulation. Now, if they could go that far, why should their use of intellectual opium to subdue, for the same ends, some other unlucky victims seem incredible and outlandish?”
We catch-up with Chinweizu after much articulation as to his transformation out of being ‘narcotically miseducated by the colonizers’, to being influenced by Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral. Pablo Neruda of Chile, Malcolm X, Julius Nyerere, Mbonu Ojike, Aime Cesaire, Hamidou Kane, and so forth, to better understand the origins of the African stasis and, and to the task of understanding the workings of the system which maintained the deplorable Black Condition saying that : these have been and remain my teachers and my guides as I continue my efforts to cleanse myself of the pollutions from a colonial miseducation.” We further learn from Chinweizu who clearly states that:
“Having listened to them, I would heed no more, and would more emphatically reject, the pious, self-serving propaganda given out as official and objective truth by the imperialist party… For I no longer believe the official voices of the West. They do not speak for the interests of the imperialized. I now realize that these “official husbanders of my consciousness” would take incredible pains to hide from me even elementary things, the better to conceal all clues that might lead me to correct answers to questions provoked by the Black condition. I have decided to listen closely to voices from the imperialized world, to share experiences and insights with them. What the voices from the imperialized world say, and some are anti-imperialist voices within the West say, continue to make sense to me as I try to understand our specific conditions.”
Citing Chinweizu at such length is very important for the political/social historical theory for the presently dysfunctional people of South Africa. Learning and reading up on such works such as these presented by Chiweizu and those who are at the front of the African struggle and liberation, they who spin history to be user-friendly for the oppressed, in the process imparting knowledge and ways and means and new ways of learning and thinking about what he calls the “Black Condition”, are important links for Africans to use to manipulate and meander through all the obstacles that are thrown their way whenever they try to unlearn what Chinweizu calls ‘narcotized colonized miseducation. At this juncture, we take some lesson from Chinweizu when he sutures, tightly, his argument and reasons as to why and how we should unlearn this devious form of miseducation of Africans by the West: Chiweizu finally points out that:
“If my experience of it is at all representative, colonial miseducation is something its victims need to cure themselves of. And this is not easy to do. We are all, I believe, rather a little like colonized boy who, we are told, had learned from his colonized milieu to be ashamed of his local Africans weather. In our efforts to wash from our consciousness the harmful pollutants deposited there by our colonial miseducation, we are apt to act like the child who rubs his/her belly endlessly with soap and water, doesn’t touch any other part of his body, and when he tires of it all, runs to his/her mother to announce that he/she has taken a bath. Clearly we need something like a communal mental bath, one which we shall scrub the crud off one another’s backs, and especially from those corners which our hands cannot thoroughly scour… I believe that even a layman ought to share his results with others, so we can move more rapidly to a deeper, more thorough, and more useful appreciation of our collective condition.”
Chinweizu trudges on: “If we wait for our official experts, who knows when, if ever, they will dare feel free, or find it profitable, to talk candidly and intelligently to us? For there are three sorts of experts-those for our liberation; those against our liberation; and those who contrive to appear to be on our side while they are indeed subtly working against our liberation. Advice from an expert who is not on your side, or from one who is against you, can be far worse than no expert advice at all. The layman, I believe, ought therefore to be very discriminating in choosing what expert to heed. It is, in every situation, very much like choosing a lawyer. For there are some experts, some Africans included, who deeply cherish the privileges that go with defending or furthering the interests of the imperialists. Under the guise of professionalism, of offering objective advice, some will subtly legislate against, or turn the unwary client away, from things that are in the client’s interest; some will gloss over differences that matter; some will conceal facts or omit considerations that are vital. Because of these kinds of experts genuinely on the client’s side are as capable of honest error as anyone, the client ought always to exercise vigilance and common sense in taking advice from experts. For eternal vigilance, in all matters, especially over the minutest details, is still the price of liberty.”
“Given the psychic and ideological foundation of our subjugation, of both the colonial subjugation from which we thought we had escaped and the neocolonial form that has manacled us, any spirited drive for genuine freedom must begin with a thorough critique of the bourgeoise culture that has made us captives; of the process and content of the modernization that has lured us into captivity; and of the relation, if any, between technological modernization and the Christian bourgeois culture. ” It is precisely the existence of such a milieu that is retarding African progress today, because these petty-bourgeois elite kowtows and panders to the West and are flinging themselves pell-mell into its orb, disregarding any protestations nor opposition that stems from its African voting polity, as in the case of Africans in South Africa.
According to Chinweizu, we should be circumspect of experts , all of those pretenders and false analysts who make out as if they have African people’s interests at heart, meanwhile, behind the scenes(mentally or otherwise) scurrilously fleece you to the marrow of your soul by denouncing every little thing about one, in order to dominate and confuse you. This is how Chinweizu concludes this matter:
“In exercising our rights as citizens, and in meeting our obligations to examine, discuss and pronounce upon all matters that affect our general welfare, we are bound to come up against the resistance of that kind of expert who rises up in arms whenever a layman “trespasses” on his “jargon-fenced bailiwick” . Such experts, while misinterpreting facts and gerrymandering arguments, are prone to mount some high pedestal of laurels and reputation, and from there demand the “intruder’s” credentials, in hopes or overawing him into irresponsible silence,or intimidating him/her into acquiescing in arrant nonsense.”
ChinweizU concludes thusly:
In such situations, it is perhaps prudent to remind oneself that the loftiest credentials have never been a barrier to uttering nonsense; nor is a total lack of credentials a barrier to talking sense. A decolonized and re-educated African ought always to demand that matters be explained from an Afro-centric viewpoint, with scientific tools, and that the results be translated into intelligible common sense. By so insisting, we enable ourselves to spot and avoid ideologies, open as well as hidden, by which we are liable to be confused and misled, and attractive myths by which we are liable to be tricked and lynched en masse.”
To Manipulate History is to Manipulate Consciousness
I concur with Chinwezu that whenever we have figured out the game being played on us over and over against, we re-awaken our consciousness, our ability to avoid being gullible and be taken each time we come around the historical tip. By this I mean, once one can begin to understand that the official education they all are proud to display or brandish it for anyone to see, is full and fraught with chronic miseducation which lead us nowhere-we are educated, but we behave like a dog chasing its tail and going nowhere, but running round and round in circles.
Because the Hub has been entirely about reviving the African Nation and all that it has acquired over the centuries for itself, I have used ,above, Chinweizu to give Africans in south Africa an experts account of the debilitating sickness that comes with being oppressed and depressed-from an African-centered point of view. As I have also mentioned too, we heed a national psycho-therapeutical cleansing as a nation in order to be able to deconstruct this ‘dysfunctional existence’ Africans are steeped in. Before I conclude, I would like to utilize Wilson who puts all the above from a psycho-hisotrical African-centered perspective which will anchor and edify the contents of this Hub above. Wilson writes:
“The psychology, consciousness and behavioral tendencies of individuals and societies are to a very large extent the products of their personal and collective histories. Both personal and collective psychology are constructed from those experiences which can be consciously retrieved from memory as well as those experiences which have been forgotten or repressed but which still represent themselves in individual and collective habits, tendencies, traditions, emotional responsivities, perspectives, ways of processing information, attitudes and reflex-like reactions to certain stimuli and situations. Both types of experiences interacting with current perceptions are utilized by individuals and groups to achieve certain material and non-matrial ends.”
Wilson adds: “The psychology of individuals and groups may also, in part, be constructed from “historical and experiential amnesia. That is, when an individual or group is compelled by v arious circumstances to repress important segments of his/her or its formative history he/she or it at the same time loses access to crucially important social, intellectual and technical skills associated with that history which could be used to resolve current problems.
Consequently, to some lesser or greater degree, the individual or group may be handicapped or disadvantaged by the resulting amnesia. Finally, individual and group psychology are in part constructed from the perception that he/she or it has of his /her or its history, the inferences drawn from that history about the kind of person or group he/she or it may be, what other persons or groups think of him/her or it, and the destiny that awaits him/her or it.The character of individual and collective consciousness and the range of their behavioral possibilities and very significantly Influenced by the quality of their recordings and recollections of their historical experiences. To manipulate history is to manipulate consciousness; to manipulate consciousness is to manipulate possibilities; and to manipulate possibilities is to manipulate power.
Wilson further asserts that: “Herein lies the mortal threat of Eurocentric historiography to African existence. for what must be the form and functionality of African consciousness and behavior if they are derivative of an African history written by their oppressors? The history of the oppressed, as written by their oppressors , shape the consciousness and psychology of both the oppressed and oppressor. It helps to legitimate the oppressive system and to maintain the imbalance of power in favor of the oppressor. Eurocentric history writing is essentially an exercise in publishing apologetics for the European oppression of African peoples; often a gross and crude attempt to create and shape a subordinate and inferior African consciousness and psychology. It seeks to impose a social.historical/cultural/amnesic tax on the heads of African peoples and thereby rob them of their most valuable resources – their knowledge of truth and reality of self; their cultural heritage and identity, minds, bodies, and souls; their wealth,lands, products of their labor and lives.
Eurocentric historiography is the most formidable ally of White racism and imperialism. It treacherous role in this regard must be explored and reversed by an African centered historiography written by African historians dedicated to historical accuracy and truth – historians who are unafraid to speak truth to power.
The Powerlessness of Africans Portends the Powerlessness of African Culture
The state of mind of Africans resulting from the Black Condition(as seen by Chinweizu) under Apartheid were deliberately constructed and induced in order to secure and maintain African powerlessness, to expropriate the product of his labor(as stated many times above), to capitalize on his human and material capital resources(as duly noted above in the Hub), so as to make possible the accumulation of capital surplus and social power by his White expoiters. Even after Mandela was released form prison and the ANC took power in 1994, the African’s cultural alienation (i.e., deprivation of African culture, history, customs, tradition,custom and now of late, languages and practices) reactionary dealing with his oppression, self-contrmpt, his pseudo-imitation of White cultural behavior, internalization of white racist attitudes regarding himself and his fellow Africans, served as a stumbling block to his achievements of the type of collective values, behaviors, arrangements and unity(also, nation-building), which would ultimately empower him/her to successfully counter White racism and oppression.
The disempowerment of Africans, the African family, culture, history, customs and traditions, virtually assured continuing African powerlessness and economic exploitation by other ethnic groups.the groups that exploit the African community in South Africa, most expertly are patriarchal and male-headed; groups whose family structure are relatively well stable and well organized, are political-ceconomic systems, and whose sense of ethnicity (or clan)[i.e., ethnocentrism] are strong and enduring.
Generally , these groups are proud of their differences from ‘the main-stream’ European culture, do not resent their residential separation rom Whites, and are not looking or seeking to commit “biological suicide” by miscegenation or intermarriage with Whites to such an extent that their racial stock disappears from the face of the earth While not the whole of the the African family and community exhibits these sentiments, probably not even the large majority, a relatively small but influential segment does.
This segment is over-represented in the African community leadership positions and organizations which mediate between the White power structure and the African community. their social political positions garner them ready access to mass media, to White liberal resources and support such that they repeatedly frustrate and often destroy positive African ethnocentric sentiments and operational efforts. This assimilationist segment of the African community is quite vocal in its condemnation of ethnocentric and self-help leaders and organizations in the African community.
Pathologically committed to the consumption of White-owned manufactured products and gaining unadulterated approval of Whites as well as its self-effacing assimilation into White society, this influential group unwittingly enters into an alliance with the exploiters African community in managing its continuing disempowerment. The African family – as long as and to the degree to which it is not founded on African-centered consciousness through the use of its African history, custom, culture, traditions and customs, values, social, economic arrangements or alignments, its organization and disorganization(its dysfunction), stability and instability, [power and powerlessness – will reactionarily reflect the political-economic interests of the White power structure in which it is operationally embedded. And these interests are, more often than not, detrimental to those of the African Family and nation. The relative powerlessness of the African family portends the relative powerlessness of African culture, history, customs, traditions,practices, rites and languages to perpetuity…
Fundamentally, , a people’s culture is a metal-behavioral system used by them to rationalize and justify, , organize and regulate, give meaning and purpose to their individual and group behavior, social relations, lives and esistence. Culture is essentially a way of thinking, perceiving,evaluating, and interpreting the world; a way of relating to others and to the physical-metaphysical world, and involves an explicit and implicit set of rules of conduct which orders the overall social relations, arrangements and attitudes of a society. The power generated by such social relations, arrangements (alignments) and attitudes is utilized for maintaining and enhancing the well-being and integrity of the society; for procuring, processing and producing the material and non-material product characteristic of the society; and for substantiating its abilities to defend and advance its interests in cooperation with or in opposition to other societies or groups.
In the Hub above I have used many photos to highlight the visual aspect of African South African culture, dance, arts and crafts, the diversity inherent and embedded within this culture and its hisotry. The visual affects and aspect of this Hub as represented by the photos in the Picture gallery, is to begin to highlight and uplift a people’s culture, their history, traditions, languages(as witnessed by the breakdown of Basotho and Swazi cultures in the Hub, above), so that the reader will not only be engaged by the writing of this hub, but also by the images that display the African culture in its variety and diversity-but, at the same, trying to draw-in the readers attention as to the sameness, oneness of the culture of the Nguni, Bakone people of South Africa- visually.
What I have developed about in the paragraph above about the culture of Africans in South Africa, can be discerned in the description of the Basotho/Swazi people. As we broke down the nitty-gritty aspects of this culture, we see the connectedness, the respect, the brotherhood and peoplehood of a people who had rules and regulations to perpetuate and live this culture. It is then false and bogus for the detractors of this culture to even claim that it is non-existant, stagnant or was never good nor in the service of its African people. The reader can make up their perspective if this is true, and if this culture is dead, stagnant and backward. The photos in the Photo Gallery do not transmit these lies made about this culture. The moment, therefore, one sees these pictures one starts to have a real and compelling view of the slight variations in the elaboration and manifestations of this culture, and one can also see the sameness that is consistent throughout their dress, dance, music(see my Hub titled “The Music of The People: Africans in South Africa and their Musical Systems”), art, sculpture and other forms of material culture, history, their communal/clan story and the whole bit. One other Hub that deals with South Africans and the Culture, it is of the Xhosa people called the Amampondo which I have dealt with in-depth in a Hub called “Restoration Of African south African Historical Cosnciousness: Culture, Customs, Traditions & Practices”. In this Hub I delve int even much more minuscule and minute details of the Amampondo, but that too, is still a people who we call the Nguni/Bakone people and their culture, which is African South Africa, but more specifics about the Amampondo Culture is being explored and explained in all its entirety. Lastly, there is a sequel to this Hub which is already published and “Featured” called the “History, Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices of the Africans of South Africa: Deconstructing Historical Amnesia” .
The clarion call for the writing of a restorative African centered Historiography, a critical undertaking – is a call for the healing of the wounds of African peoples; for African unity; for freeing and expansion of African Consciousness; for the reconquest of African minds, bodies, lands, resources and African autonomy… The Second deposition is going to be on the history of the Khoi, for we had to establish the historical parameters of how deep can we go-this research has left us at the point of the Bow and arrow, and we will see the coming in of the spear and other technological cultural and well developed social formations that will eventually give African a sense of what really happened before and in their nearly 400 years of oppression- because up to now they have never had that chance to and had no one to rewrite a history that speaks to, and informs them about themselves.. So, at this juncture, my next post will be just that…(because we needed to clear up historical cobwebs), now we are in a position to better understand what we are about to to write about, better. The mentioning of the Hubs above and the writing of this tome(in Print terms), is really an effort to cover as much ground as I can about the need for an African-centered history, culture and so forth told from the perspective of Africans of South Africa.