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True African History From the African Perspective
"Black African culture set for the whole world an example of extraordinary vitality and vigor. All vitalist conceptions, religious as well as philosophic, I am convinced, came from that source. The civilization of ancient Egypt would not have been possible without the great example of Black African culture, and in all likelihood, it was nothing but the sublimation thereof." (Diop)
There is this untutored arrogance displayed by some White South Africans today that they can relate and write about African History, custom/tradition and culture of Africans without even considering the present-day African contemporaries. The rebuilding of African History in South Africa has to be properly restored. If one were to seriously research and interrogate the structure of pre-colonial African society and families, their design of a State and the accompanying philosophical and moral concepts and the like, one can find a consistent cultural unity, resulting from similar adaptations to the same material and physical conditions of life right throughout Africa.
Once we understand, clearly, the custom and ways of the African culture, one will no longer see "Darkest Africa" set up against a "deep dark past"; the African can clearly follow his evolution from prehistory to our own day. Historical unity will become manifest. There is also a common linguistic family, as homogeneous as that of the Indo-European tongues. Nothing is easier than to set down the rules that allow transfer from a Zulu language to one of those West Africa (Serer-Wolof, Peul), or even to ancient Egyptian. (Obenga)
It is very important to begin to put together a serious and well-researched timeline to the history of African people in South Africa. There is a lot that has been written about the Khoi and the San as the original people of South Africa, and that the rest of the Africans in South Africa came later, and the dates used are designed to coincide with the arrival of the settlers in 1492 (Bartholomew Diaz), 1652 (The Dutch Settlers), the arrival of the French Huguenots (1688) and the 1820 British settlers. Because of this, an accurate historical lineage, timeline and narrative need to be re-calibrated.
So that, as the fictionalized historical account set down by the White settlers about Africans in South Africa, they have come to even believe their lies that the existing nine(9) groupings of the Nguni people are recent new comers to South Africa, and that they eliminated and decimated the Khoi, that this rises a dire need for the history to be reset and written anew.
This is the starting point of the Historiography of the Colonists, namely, that Africans are not the owners and inhabitants of South Africa, but the 'Trekked" down from north Africa, and arrived at the same time that the settlers arrived in South Africa, within the timeline of 1492 to 1820, when the Settlers from Europe arrived in South Africa. The French Huguenot were skilled farmers and winegrowers who having fled to Holland to escape religious persecution, happily accepted the offer for a free passage to Cape Town.
By the middle of the the eighteenth century, there were perhaps five thousand Whites living in the Cape, five time the number in the more developed Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique(Maputo).
Even those South African Whites who are ahistorical and have limited knowledge of the people they have conquered, they have overnight became the spokesmen and historical mouthpieces for the African masses in South Africa when it comes to their(African) history. The reason Afrikaners and other European pseudo-African historians arrogantly insists that African South African history is as they tell it, this is because the say that they found us as barbarians killing each other and were Kaffirs(Islam for "infidel" or "unbeliever"), which the Boers(Afrikaners) used to refer to Africans in South Africa who they considered uncultured, barbarians, backwards, savages, uncouth, and called them Kaffirs, which in another context was used as was the word "Nigger" was used to refer to African Americans.
The present so-called African historians who are the descendants of the Dutch, French and British Settlers, arrogantly play the role of telling the world,(today using the Internet) a very cockeyed, uninformed and lacking-in-facts ahistorical history about Africans, their Culture, Customs, traditions and practices of which they know nothing about, and also, they have never made it their business to know Africans because they spent much of their 358 years trying very hard separate themselves from the African society and its people. They even built "Native Reserves", "Bantu Homelands", and "Independent 'self-Governing' States" , Townships(Ghettoes), and Slums, which have increased today as we speak, for all the African people in South Africa.
Now that Africans are in some kind of political power in South Africa, it is time to write African History in South Africa from the African perspective. Indeed, where Europeans scholars and lay-men had argued that there were many cultures, what they are not acknowledging is that the varieties of African Experiences and Cultures gravitate around a single matrilineal center like some massive magnet pulling the pieces together into one coherent whole. This can be discerned by seriously tying it up on the basis of linguistic, philosophical , and /traditional evidence. This does not mean that specific variations do not exist, but rather that particular histories are nothing more than a part of the grand flow of African Culture.
Dr. Williams fully realized that we, as African people, are at the crossroads. To rebuild and save our Afrikan civilization, it has to be done holistically. First, he realized that culture is the primary basis for the total successful life of a race of people, or nation. Williams asserts: "Culture is the way of life. Culture therefore encompasses the way in which we educate and teach, share with, respect and care for each other. It includes the way we eat, dress, and carry ourselves. The way we practice spirituality and politics. Culture is all of this and Africans do this in practice of all that they do.(C. Williams)
Those who have written and continue to claim their knowledge of Africans in South Africa and their history without providing serious historical evidence are going to write it as they 'see', 'feel'' and think about it' form an uninformed historical perspective; thus, they worked a biased, racist and incomplete history and ahistorical account and picture about the Africans in South Africa. It anything else, this history needs to be told from African holistically Historical perspective.
Of course, there are Europeans who write seriously and correctly about African History, but that should not dissuade Africans in South Africa towards writing their African History as they see fit, and do it in a correct manner without degrading other people's history. One thing these "professors" of African history have to deal with is the fact that with their '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 African societies or civilization, they are patently disingenuous, arrogant, ignorant, propagandized in their disinformation; they're also misleading and need to be challenged.
To those who already have formulated their perceptions and understanding of African history and hold on dearly to these beliefs, it will be like having 'a dialogue with the deaf'. To this Obenga says: "It is difficult to understand why they are so against the simple proposition that African History should be examined and understood first by those who made it - African People."
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Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa observed: "Few White people have ever bothered to study the African people carefully - and by this I do not mean driving around the African villages and Townships taking photographs of dancing "tribesmen" and women and asking a few questions, and then going back and writing a book - a useless book full of errors, wrong impressions and just plain nonsense. Many of the books written about Africans should be relegated to the dustbin."
Just as a lot of articles that purport to tell the history of African people, and written by those White in South Africa, claiming knowledge of African people, need to have their works to be relegated to the dustbin of history, because most of what all these European South Africans are talking about is just plain garbage and nonsensical stuff that does not square-up to the history of African people in South Africa.
Credo Mutwa expands on this point by pointing out that: "There are doctors, missionaries and scientists who have spent years and years among Africans - many of them can even speak the local language better than the indigenous people - but what they know about them as 'human beings' amounts to nothing. Many have studied the African only to compare him/her with the White man/woman. - intellectually for instance. Many more have studied the African in order to find justification for the ruling group they work for and support." Justice in any endeavor of life cannot be founded on lies, and the same with human associations and contact.
Credo elaborates further by stating that: "The same is true between races in any country. There can be no real understanding between them so long as neither has a clear picture of the other [italics mine] what it really thinks, believes in, hopes for, and why. You cannot found friendship on faulty guesswork because guessing breeds suspicion, hate and bloodshed, and there is much that is guess work between Black and White about each other in South Africa.
"Many of the so-called problems facing Africa today can be traced back to foolish acts on the part of one or other of the two races in the past: acts that were the result of lack of understanding. Only by being presented with a full, clear and unvarnished picture of the African - seen from his worst as well as his best side - can the White man hope to avoid repeating the incredible mistakes he made in the past, blunders that have cost Africa a lot of suffering and close to three million human live in the short space of ten years - and this will also help Africans understand themselves better."
The Education of African people in South Africa should be dictated by and written by them and from their own perspective. The Education of African people in South Africa must have a purpose and goal if it is to be meaningful and fulfilling. The purpose must be to instill values and develop skills that will aid in meeting the needs and knowledge base of the masses of the African people. The African youth must be brought to understand that they are being educated to build for all the African people, so they must prepare themselves to provide for the needs of all the African people.
According to Dr. Williams," in Afrikan society, in formal education, the child was taught the classes of soil and the kinds of crops appropriate to each. Soil culture, the role of the weather, the rainy seasons and the work cycle, plowing, sowing, harvesting and pest control, both men and women, boys and girls could concentrate on their respective crafts, such as furniture-making, basket waving, pottery, sandal and dress making. The children were exposed to a variety of ways they could be productive members of the society."
There is another part of this positive outlook which is the opposite of all that has been mentioned above. Even as of this day, The Europeans in South Africa continue to set up and destroy African Organizations and people that speaks to the needs and aspirations of African people. Dr. William advises: "An African university is a must, if we are to effectively educate our people. Mostly, all of the so-called Black universities are carbon copies of European universities, and they teach our African students to teach and think euro-centric. We must teach our youth through the eyes of Afrika.
Our youth are the young Architects of Tomorrow." Anyone who wants to know and write about African people anywhere, that person needs to be wholeheartedly be accepted by the African people as a "true friend". This Hub's aim is to provide some information about African people in South Africa from the the cultural, customary, traditionary and in the process help create a better historical understanding about Africans in South Africa from an African perspective and understanding.
Blueprint for African Education
The most urgent matter at hand is the education for the whole African continent and for all the so-called non-literate African masses. Education is the key, the only key, to the door opening into the road of progress for Africans. And it's a key that can't be played with or taken lightly. The unusual, not the usual, is the order of the day. Bold thinking is called for. Daring programs are demanded. "Impossible" programs must be made possible.
What also must be added is that it is not only talking about education that's at issue here, but what should this education be about, because education in any given area of Africa today is the education of the colonial power that dominates that area or, in the case of a new nation, it is the system and the philosophy of the ruling power before their independence. There is not African Educational system as such - no philosophy of Education as such and in these circumstances, it could not be otherwise. (Williams)
Fortunately, Africans know that they must develop their own educational institutions. British Africa cannot remain British, French African cannot remain French; Belgian and Portuguese Africa cannot remain remain Belgian or Portuguese. We might as well expect the Africans of South Africa to accept the Boer philosophy of life since they are now free. Changes and more changes there will always be. The main problem for Africa, however, is the choice of its own best foundation, the foundation from which to develop and make change.
Decolonization of African Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices
In 1861, at one of their gatherings, The Distinguished Victorians of London's Ethnographical Society invited a well travelled and learned French man, Mr. Du Chaillu. In discussing a horde of largely naked 'savages' called Mpongwe, M. du Chaillu had appeared to suggest that these 'natives' might be other than they seemed. He had gone so a as to argue for certain redeeming features. He even spoke with some respect for their religion.
The Ethnographers felt that they should set matters right in the wake of such remarks, and they called upon Captain Richard Burton, whom they knew could be relied upon to use is great authority in the proper way. Captain Burton did not let them down. The already famous explorer began offering a redeeming African feature to match M.du Chaillu's. He opined that 'an abnormal development of adhesiveness, in popular language a peculiar power of affection, is the brightest spot in the negro character'.
Yet this was about as much as could sensibly be said of natives he had known. M. du Chaillu, they must believe, had been lucky; he had 'run into a better lot than usual'. Compared with them, however, there was the 'superior degeneracy of the eastern "tribes", not to mention all the others one could think of. No doubt the Mpongwe might have some sort of religious belief. It might also be true that the religion of Africans is ever interesting to those of a "maturer faith", as the study of childhood is pleasing to those of riper years'. But one ought not go too far.'
Not only, in Burton's view, had Africans failed to develop from the primitive to the less primitive: "they had also reached a point of helplessness at which, if left to themselves, they would never do any better. In that great schedule of hierarchical progress from 'Savagery' to 'Civilization' imagined by the more conservative Victorians, with Europe at the peak and zenith of the line, the Africans were simply not in the race.
Perhaps they had once set out, though this was more than doubtful: if so, they had long since stopped running. Exactly why was not known. But the reason, whatever it might be, was generally agreed to lie in some fatal deficiency of their nature. Some experts thought it was a matter of the African's brain being too small for civilized development. Others argued that the root of the trouble lay not so much in brain size as in diminished frontal lobes, or an insufficiently reliable 'supragranular layer of cortex'. The results, in any case, were understood to be deplorable. Once an African had become adult, Burton opined in a view widely accepted, 'his mental development is arrested, and thenceforth he grows backwards instead of forwards'."
Defended by their travelers, these Victorians held firmly to their hierarchies of racial progress and found plenty of evidence to fortify them. Returning to the Upper Nile in 1866, Sir Samuel Baer assured them that the African 'mind is as stagnant as the morass which forms its puny world', and other explorers said much the same. It followed that the evolutionists had clearly got things wrong; and there was quiet satisfaction among the more respectable members of the Ethnographical society, in that same year of 1866, when the impetuous Dean Farrar proposed once and for all to set the record straight by dividing humanity into three great classes, 'the Savage races, the Semi-civilized races and finally the two Civilized races' - the latter categories, of course, including none like the Mpongwe.
In 1896 a well-known teacher of philosophy at Durham University, F.B. Jevons, published "An Introduction to the History of Religion" which became a standard work. Seventy years later a modern Anthropologist of Africa, among the most eminent of his day, could summarize current opinion on Jevon's book by describing it as a 'collection of absurd reconstructions, suppositions and assumptions, inappropriate analogies, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations, and, especially in what he wrote about totems, just plain nonsense'. (Diop)
Old views about Africa are worth recalling for another reason. Though vanished from serious discussion, they still retain a kind of underground existence. The stercoraceous sediment of Burton's opinions, and of others such as Burton, has settled like a layer of dust and ashes on the minds of large numbers of otherwise thoughtful people, and is constantly being swirled about.
What this leads to, despite all factual evidence to the contrary, are endless suspicions that writers like Lothrop Stoddard were or are just possibly right when they wrote or write about the 'natural and inherent inferiority' of Africans; that 'in the negro, we are in the presence of a being differing profoundly not merely from the white man, but also from [other] human types'; or that 'the negro ... has contributed virtually nothing to the civilization of the world'.(Stoddard) However scientifically mistaken, these notions apparently remain part of our culture.
These notions arose essentially from an identification of categories of 'race' and 'class'. Outside their comfortable windowpanes Victorian men of property saw the hateful Devil of a new proletariat, hungry, abused, always liable to strike; and they feared what they saw. At another remove they viewed the Africans in the same obscuring light: as beings of 'the lower orders' whom civilization, if it were to survive,must keep sternly 'in their place'.
They accordingly tended to think of Africans not only as children incapable of growing up, but as dangerous and potentially criminal children. All but a few agreed that these 'natives' could not safely be admitted to the salons of human equality(H.A.C. Cairns) Yu-Yang Hsio, a Cinese writer in 1860 opined: "Africans are the worst kind of Barbarians". This mind set trickled down the ages as a belief system among the Afrikaners in South Africa as they evolved their brand of separation of races and imposition of their divide and conquer policy within South Africa for over 342 years.
The Anthropologists of the colonial period did not set the African reality within its historical context. Largely under Malinowski's severely anti-historical influence, they deliberately looked upon African societies as being timeless entities without past or future. "It did not occur to us' in the words of one of them, 'to try to relate "tribal traditions" to a possible actual sequence of historic events in any areas in which we worked.'
Nor, with this view, would it have done any good to try. 'We cannot have a history of African institutions', taught the similarly influential Radcliffe-Brown, who for a long time took the same view as he observed further, 'there was simply no means of making such a history, and therefore no point in attempting such a history, and therefore no point in attempting one'.(A.L. Richards; Also, Radcliffe-Brown, 1960)
This synchronized approach strengthened to impression of a 'complete otherness' of African societies. Presented without history, as living in a perpetual vacuum of experience, these strange peoples came to seem like the denizens of a Garden of Eden left over from the remote past. Logically enough, they began to be called 'the undeveloped peoples'. For development supposes history, and they were said to have none . After the second World War the historians at last got to work in Africa, and the Garden of Eden mantra rapidly disappeared.
Soon they were joined by a new and sometimes brilliant school of Anthropologists. African societies began to be studied diachronically, as happening in time, and then it was found that in fact a great deal had happened to them. All this has helped to erase the impression of 'otherness'. It now becomes clear that Africans have developed in ways recognizably the same as other peoples all over the world. Individually or collectively, they have arranged their lives on the same basic assumptions, whether of logic or morality, as everyone else. The forms have been as different as Africa is different from Europe, Asia or America: but not the principles of intelligence and apprehension, not the essential content.
What comes out is the picture of a complex and subtle process of growth and change behind and within the technological simplicities of former times. The societies still partially observable yesterday, and even today after the storm-driven erosions of colonial rule, were and are the terminal structures on an ancient evolution. To borrow a phrase applied by Grotanelli to the arts of Africa, 'they are to be seen not as points of departure, but as points of arrival'. (V.L. Grottanelli, 1961) In many ways this was a world of its own, a world of country values and beliefs, very much a rural world.
Even the large exceptions of this rule, the crowding market cities and their kings and traders, only help to prove it. Much the greatest number of tropical Africans lived in former times, as many live today, in villages or scattered homesteads, having few material possessions, knowing nothing or little of the written word, enjoying the present as a gift from the golden age of their ancestors, and not much caring for a different future.
Yet, their technological simplicity was not guide to their social and cultural achievements. In truth, they had tamed a continent. Below we will be taking an in-depth study and look into one case study of the Nguni or Bakone in South Africa. The are nine groups presently forming the Nguni peoples of south Afirca, and they are: Amampndo(mixed Mfengu and Xhosa people, and the Mpondos migrated from Natal during the Mfecane(scatterings) wars and throughout the years as they migrated to the lands of the Xhosas), Basothos(Who today occupy present day little Kingdom of Lesotho), Zulus, Pedis, Tswana's. Vendas/Tsongas, Shangaans, Swazis, and Ndebeles.
It is the contention of this hub that these clans, nations and people are the same in the practices of their culture, customs, traditions and languages. The past Apartheid regime and its adherents have and are till spreading the false fiction that these people are "tribes" and are not the same, and they are different and have always been warring with each other. This article will be utilizing studies in archeology, history, economics, politics, culture and customs of the African people's earlier way of life, and and will demonstrate that they also possessed an oral tradition which they used to pass down their history from one generation to the next, thus able to inform future generations about their origins and past.
A lot has been written for the world to know about the Zulus, which will be written about in one of the next hub of this genre. In this article, two case studies will be done on the ama-Mpondo(Eastern Cape), as to their culture, customs, traditions and practices. It will be seen from exploring just the Pondos and the other eight (8) Nguni or Bakone peoples, that they are not different from one another, but they are the same with slight differences affected by region rather inherent difference amongst themselves, of which none really exist.
The Short History of the Pondo: Earlier Way of Life
The institution of chieftainship among the Pondo, though of ancient origin, increased in power during the nineteenth century. In the sixteenth century the chiefdoms of the Southern Nguni were small: a Portuguese writer in 1589 referred to the Chiefs called "Inkosis(Kings), who are the heads and governors of three, four, or five villages, and contrasted them with the 'kings' farther north who were trading with the Portuguese. Already, the distinctive Xhosa word for King was in use, and of course small chiefdoms were more widespread in Africa than kingdoms, many of which can be shown to have developed since written records and external trade began.(G.M. Theal)
Contemporary journals journals speak of King Faku(who died in 1867) as the the most outstanding Pondo King in the nineteenth century, as the one who really did an outstanding job on this tradition when he extended his Kingship and authority during the period of danger from Shaka's raids. During his reign there was a development of the ivory trade, and this trade increased the wealth and power of the King's relation with his people.
A movement of population into Pondoland from the more crowded districts in Western Transkei and Ciskei was going on. Land-hungry families moved east into Pondoland as their ancestors had moved west from Natal(Zululand), a hundred years earlier, during the Mfecane(Scatterings). Most of the immigrants coming into Pondoland in 1920-32 period were the clans from Dlamini, Zizi, and descendants of other one-time refugee called Mfengu, who had been living for three generations west of Mbashe river.
They sought land for cultivation and grazing, and were welcomed by chiefs held in tradition(so widespread in Africa) that power depended on the size of a man's following, and new adherent were welcome provided they recognized the King's authority.
In 1936 information about the Nguni people was limited to the reports of missionaries, administrators and travelers, and these, though they provided much valuable information, did not touch on many of the questions which the Anthropologists sought to answer. Since then, professional studies have appeared on the Zulu. Swazis, Xhosas and Bhacas, and the varying forms of the old chiefdoms began to emerge. Development in Anthropological theory has proceeded hand in hand with field studies made in Africa and elsewhere, and hypotheses formulated about lineage systems, political systems, kinship systems, and symbolic systems gave significance to facts previously overlooked or little understood.
Around the 5th century A.D. there was iron smelting in the Transvaal(South Africa) and there was also the stock-keeping iron workers at Ntshekane, south of the Drakensberg Mountains in what is now Natal in the ninth century. There was also pottery found along the coast as far west as the Chalumna river indicate early iron-age settlement, typical of the Pondo and distinct from that at Ntshekane, and was dated back to around the eleventh century.
In 1688, survivors from the Stavenisse wreck on the Transkei coast and those who were shipwrecked around the 1500s describe a population and a way of life of Xhosa-speaking people has been like that for many centuries,which demonstrated that the Xhosas who had lived there before t they came into contact with in from the 1500s to the 1600s and beyond, were the ancestors of the present occupants of Xhosa People they met and those that presently lived there for eons to date.(M. Wison and L. Thompson(eds) Survivors of Stavenisse referred explicitily in 1668 to 'Maponte' on the coast they now occupied(Moodie)
The detailed accounts given by these survivors suggest that change in the way of life of the Xhosa-speaking people was very slow for very many centuries (Credo Mutwa gave the earliest account of this in his book Indaba My Children, 1966). What the shipwrecked men described was not very different from the domestic life as will be described below, despite the fact that the people had by now lost their national/political independence and economic self-sufficiency.
One other change that was observed in 1881 by Bishop of St. John's in his evidence to the Commission on Native Laws and Customs was an increase in polygyny amongst the Pondos during the colonial period. The Bishop noted that: "The recent change in the law of marriage in the Transkei, which allowed those who had married by Christian and civil rites to have more than one wife (previously legal only for those who married by customary law), calls for acid comment from many women, who claimed that men nowadays could not even maintain one wife and educate the children."
Before contact with Europeans, the Pondo provided food and shelter for themselves by breeding cattle, growing grain and pumpkins, hunting, and making huts, clothing, house hold utensils, and weapons from materials at hand. They also had cattle and goats, horses, sheep, pigs hens, ducks and geese. Stock was enclosed at night in circular stockades, or kraals, built within the semicircle of huts.(Kay/ G. MacKeurtan)
Pondo Customs, Culture, Traditions and Practices
Family Life—Umzi (Imizi, plural)
Each umzi(homestead) had a man with his wives, married sons with their wives and children, and unmarried daughter. In the earlier times, as many as twenty married men related to the male line lived together in one umzi .(A. Steedman) Now an average umzi contains four or five adults, and several children.(Census of 29 imizi was taken) Members of Imizi in one small area - often those on one ridge - recognize one of their members as a petty headman, and they fight together, and sit together at feasts.
They also recognize a chief who had administrative and judicial powers, and they fought as a unit in clan wars. A number of districts made up a clan controlled by a paramount chief. Marriage was polygynous and patrilocal. Each woman in the umzi who has been married a year or more had her own hut, and also a store-hut. Huts were arranged in a semicircle, which, if the nature of the site permit, faces east. The open segment of the circle was filled by a cattle kraal. The senior male of the umzi was the owner of the umzi.
The hut of his mother, or if she is dead, and that of his first wife(the 'great wife') are built opposite the gate of the cattle kraal. His second wife is the 'right-hand wife' and her hut goes to the right of the great hut; the third wife married is a 'rafter' (igadi ) of the first wife, and her hut goes to the left of the great hut; the fourth wife is a rafter of the right-hand wife and if other wives are married they are alternatively 'rafters' of the great house or of the right-hand house. (See the 'A' hand-drawn housing designs from the picture gallery)
Huts are built for them below the the house to which they are attached. The hut of the eldest son's wife is usually built below that of the great wife, the hut of the second son's wife below that of the right-hand wife. Store huts were built next to the huts of the owners. There is no prescribed position for the kraal for the small stock, but it is usually built either adjoining the cattle kraal or immediately to the left of the great hut.
This arrangement was frequently modified according to the convenience and the nature of the site. Each hut and each umzi has its own name, given by the owner. Each house (indlu) has a group consisting of a woman and her children,has its own property in cattle, and the right to till certain fields; but all the members of the umzi eat together and work together. The women take it in turns to cook. A bride spends a year or more cooking for her mother-in-law. She sleeps with her husband in a store hut-hut and within a year of her being married, a hut is built for her, but she continues to cook in her mother-in-law's house.
Even when a woman has 'gone out of he mother's hut'. she does not cook only for herself, but her own husband, and children, and always sends a dish of what she has prepared to her mother-in-law. Food is put aside for members of the family who are away, but expected to return that day, and guests are invited to share in whatever dish their status fits them to eat from.
Only important guests will be served a special dish, and the owner of the umzi has a special dish. Children never take food unless they are given it by an older person. Women are expected to feed their children and those of umzi equally. There are jealous and stingy women and the Pondos recognize the difficulties of attaining harmony in the umzi, but great emphasis is laid on the virtue of generosity , and this is attained to a great extent. Children from neighboring imizi are also fed.
The principal delicacies, meat and beer, are not eaten or drunk everyday within the family, but when an animal is killed, or beer brewed, neighbors gather to share in the feast, and when beer is being brewed or a beast slaughtered, the fact is always made known to the nighbors and it is expected that they should come to feast. the members of an umzi feed, work and play together. The children sleep together in their grandmother's hut.
As the umzi grows it splits up. A brother or son of the head of the umzi builds his own umzi, and moves with his wife or wives and children to it. The suggestion that a son of bother should build his own umzi comes from the son or brother himself, and in some cases it's when the wife had behaved badly or has been accused of witchcraft, may he be ordered to build his own umzi.
The location of the umzi is not prescribed by custom, it is largely a personal choice. Children are often left with the paternal grandparents if they live in another umzi. Fathers were often devoted to their children, and make much of them when small, carrying them about their arms, fondling them, playing with them and teaching how to dance. As the child gets older, he is taught respect and obedience which are particularly due to his father.
Children usually carry out the order of the father much more quicker than those of the mother. The child fetches and carries for his father, performing whatever of his tasks he is capable of performing. There is no age at which he is regarded as being free of parental control. His father may veto his choice of a marriage partner, but in practice a man usually marries the girl he wants. Even when he has an umzi of his own, he must still consult with is father in all important matters. Father and son have mutual economic obligations.
An unmarried son lives with his father and is maintained by other produce of the milk from his father's cattle and the grain form his mother's field. The unmarried son is expected to work for his father, as a boy herding cattle, and later helping in the men's share of the garden work and hut building. The son's prizes of war and hunting were brought to the father, and is supposed to consult with his father in all economic transactions. A father is responsible for his son's health as long as he remains in his umzi.
A good son listens to his father's advice; also, a father is advised by his sons. It is all apiece with the a general custom in law courts and clan meetings, that no vote is taken, and the matter is thrashed out until some compromise is reached. There is a proverb, Isala kutyelwa siya ngolophu( He who refuses to take advice hears by a hot wind.') A father is also responsible for burying a on living in his umzi, and the eldest son in the umzi is responsible for burying his father.
A boy has the right to share in the communal dish of the umzi because his own parents contribute to the food supply of the umzi , and not because of of any obligation of his father's brother to him. He is aware that he will inherit nothing from his ubawokazi (or ubawo (father), or uyise (father), or uyihlo (father). As a close relation an ubawokazi is a person from whom to ask gifts(ukubusa) , and of grace he might assist his brother's son to ukuLobola (pay dowry) The grandmother who is known as the inkosikazi(chief woman) is a person seen by the children to have authority and the most respected by their mother. The grandmother is par excellence the recounter of iintsomi (folk-tales)
Brothers and Sisters
The sons of the same mother and father grow up feeding together out of a common dish, playing together and working together, herding and ploughing. From childhood there is a distinction between younger and elder brother. A younger brother is ordered about by his senior. He is a replacement for his elder brother, herding cattle while the elder hunts and going on errands while the elder lies in the shade, and even after they are grown up, the relationship is maintained.
The difference in behavior towards a younger and elder brother is marked by a linguistic difference, an elder brother brother being referred to as umkhuluwe (the older one) and the younger one as as umninawe(the younger one). The distinction is also shown in the behavior of the wife who must show respect towards her husband's elder brothers in speech and behavior, but is on familiar terms with his younger brothers. Orphaned minors are the responsibility of the their father's senior brother of the same house. A child always knows to what house it belongs. Children are warned not to tell what they hear in one house in another house
Between father and daughter there is often the same affection and familiarity in early childhood that there is between father and son. As a girl grows older she is more and more with her mother, but he is never segregated from the menfolk of her umzi , her father and brothers, and need observe no taboos towards them except when menstruating. As a small girl before puberty, she may even run in and out of the kraal. A girl owes respect and obedience to her father in all things, and should according to the social ideal, submit to his wishes regarding her marriage.
Customary public opinion favors and acknowledges the right of the father to choose his daughters husband, and hold before her the ideal of obedience, unless (the public) does not approve of a father who forces a distasteful match. A girl's marriage is not only the concern of her father, but her father's, and her own brothers, her mother, and the women of the umzi are all to be consulted. A father protects and supports his daughter before and after marriage. He is also responsible for providing beasts for the sacrifice for carrying out the ceremony before her marriage and when she receives her ikhazi.
The father is responsible for burying her if she dies in his umzi. The father defends his daughter, if he determines that her complain about ill-treated is true and demands and uswazi( beast for payment) in compensation. Brothers and sisters play much together as small children, and although from about six years, when boys go to herd the animals, and both boys and girls begin to about in gangs with those of their own age and sex from other imizi (homesteads), they do not see much of each other; nevertheless they live on intimate terms in the umzi.
A bride must show respect towards her husband's umakazi as she would his mother when she meets her, but the occasions on which she encounters her are few. The home names of a bride's sisters are abided by the groom and his parents, as is the name of the bride herself. The first virtue demanded of a a bride is that he should be-like "ukhuthele" (Hardworking, energetic and eager). She must care for her husbands comfort.
Everyday she should go and fetch wood, and in the winter she fetches wood, and in the winter she gathers wild spinach from distant fields. Customary law requires that a bride must show respect (Ukuhlonipha) towards all senior relatives of her husband, particularly his male relatives. The bride must never go near the cattle kraal in which her husbands father of grandfather is buried, and she must avoid the inkundla(courtyard between huts and kraal) in which men sit. When entering a hut of a senior relative of her husband, male and female, she must turn sharply to left ad circle around the back so as to avoid the men's side(Ukuceza).
A daughter-in-law disdains her husband's umzi if she does not avoid every place bout where her fathers sit. The avoidance of the right of huts, the inkundla, and the cattle kraal is extended to those imizi (homesteads) of her husband's seniors into which a woman might have married. In her husband's mother's hut a bride is expected to take a retired position. She may approach the hearth to mend the fire or see to the pots, but cannot sit up to the fire.
A bride avoids the name, and words, of which a principal syllable is similar to the principle syllable of the name of her husband's father, his brothers, her husband's elder brothers, and his father's father, whether they are living or dead. She also avoids personal names of her husband's mother, paternal aunts, and elder sisters, but does not avoid words similar to them. When she arrives, she is told(by her husband's sister, or a co-wife) what words are avoided in the umzi (homestead) For the first few days after her arrival she wears a hand kerchief tied low on the forehead. She can never bare her head, or until she has a child to feed, her breasts, in the presence of a senior relative of her husband, male of female.
So long as she lives in her mother-in-law's umzi , a wife, no matter how long she has been married, is responsible to her other-in-law, even more than her husband. If she want to visit her homestead, the wife must get permission from her mother in law and then she can tell her husband that his mother has given her permission to go visit with her people. Impoliteness to her mother-in-law may result in a bride being sent back to her people.
Nevertheless, a mother-in-law is expected to be an ihlathi(Bush shelter) to her daughter-in-law against her husband. If a husband beats up his wife, she run to her mother-in-law to seek refuge there, and the son, because he respects his mother, will not pursue her there. Even, however, when a woman becomes the inkosikazi of an umzi , she remains subject to her husband(Inkosikazi - literally meaning female chief); Inkosikazi ka- ---(the principal wife of----); Inkosikazi yomzi , the principal woman of the umzi (homestead)
Premarital conception is forbidden by custom, and a married woman is forbidden relations with any but her husband. A man may have as many wives and amadikazi(loose women) as he chooses or can afford. There is somewhat a double standard about this issue because some women commit adultery, but when caught they are prosecuted through the customary law. The sanction for behavior is primarily public opinion. Custom lays down very definitely what the behavior of the wife should be, and breach of the code would be sign of bad breeding or upbringing.
The patterns of behavior towards the immediate kin, mother, father, child, brother, sister, are extended towards other persons than the direct biological relatives. The clan(isiduko) is a group of all members of which trace patrilineal descent from a common ancestor. Members of a clan as such have no mutual economic responsibilities. Even when a man has no relatives of his own living near, he does not consult a fellow member of his clan about sacrificial killing for the ancestors or the disposal of property.
If however, a traveller happens to call at the umzi of one of his own clan he will be be well specially be well received, and membership of a common clan may be adduced as a reason for persons not closely living together. Unwanted advances with fellow members of a clan and members of the mother's, and both grandmothers' clans are forbidden on the ground that all are related.
In theory and practice, most will not drink milk of cattle other than those belonging to their own grandfathers' and although they will avoid milk if they hear of the death of a member of one of these clans, they do not observe any other mourning rites for him. The Pondo believe that they cannot drink the milk at a non-related umzi because some day they might want a bridegroom-in-law(Makoti) in that umzi .
The taboo of drinking milk from non-relatives special utensils, usually clay and wooden spoon, are kept in in which to serve milk and food. Many times there tends to be a shortage of dishes at a beer drink, a milk pot if used for beer, but only the owner of the umzi may drink out of it. The milk of a cow loaned(ukunqoma) is drunk by the people whom it is loaned, even though the one is of a clan whose milk they do not own; the customary belief in this case is that the loaned cow that has been loaned to other people, belongs to those people to whom it is loaned.
All the clan members call upon one common ancestor when they make their sacrificial offering and some clan share in a common sacrificial act. The clan name(isiduko) is used as a polite mode of address, and as an expression of thanks. Frequently, the clan of a district is known by the clan name. Every clan recognizes a senior male of their line as their clan chief, and usually such a chief has authority under the government as a headman. All this makes for clan solidarity.
In a clan, a junior cannot use the personal name of a senior old enough to be his father when addressing him, or her, but should say "Father of so-and-so", or "Mother of so-and-so", or use a relationship term. Bawo is a common form of address to and older man, and Ma or Makhulu to an older woman. An elder speaking in a friendly fashion to a junior will say, mntanam, [my child) mntakabawo, [my father's child] mnt'kwethu, [my sister, or brother] or ntombi (girl).
In the photo gallery one can study and view the summary of kinship system and it should be noted that the use of the same relationship terms to different persons does not necessarily imply identical customary behavior. For the purpose of this part on the clan, one should look, study and view the Article labelled TABLE OF KINSHIP TERMS[#1], and those pages with the heading THE CLAN[#2], and the other page with the heading FAMILY LIFE[#3], and the shorter page titled THE CLAN[#4] and all these can be viewed and read in the photo gallery section of this article.
Since members of one clan can trace their descent from a common ancestor, therefore a members of any clan may trace their relationship to a still more remote ancestor, and each clan being a branch of one main stem, for e.g., the Khonjwayo, Citwyayo, and Nyawuza clans all trace their descent from Hlambangobubende; the new clans consist of all the descendants in the male line of one chief. Jange an Mose were houses of Ngomane, father of Gwadiso, and descendants of Khonjwayo.
The recognition of separate "houses" within a clan was marked by the use of a name of an ancestor junior to the progenitor of the clan as a greeting for those who are his descendents. A stranger is oftern asked a question, "Who are you?" and he or she would reply by giving his/her clan and family. Men in particular, take pride in being able to recite the genealogies of their own families, and the chiefs of their own and other clans. Some can give genealogies for fifteen or more generations although the order of the names may vary, that does not make them inconsequential or unreal.
There are two proverbs that sum up the views on kinship. "Ukuzalwa weddwa ngumuntu we nyama" (To be born alone by a real human being). To one who favors strangers above relatives it is said, "Uzi-phembel'emoyeni (you are kindling your fire in the wind(instead of on the hearth)). But kinship is not the only basis of grouping in the Pondo social systems. Imizi are often close to one another, and neighbors who are not necessarily related see a great deal of one another.
Women are constantly dropping in to neighboring imizi to gossip, to borrow a stamping block, or ask for tobacco. If they happen to arrive when women of the umzi are eating, they are invited in to share the dish. Their fields are usually in the same valley, and when one makes a work party her neighbor try to attend it. When one umzi is grinding beer, neighbors come to help; when an animal is killed they help to draw wood and water and cut-up the carcass
. At big feasts they sit together sharing a portion given in the name of their petty headman. When a man has a case, or is going to consult a diviner, most times he summons neighbors to advice and accompany him. One can observe and see between neighboring imizi paths that are well worn, and full of shadow-holding hollows, made by the thumping of the bare toes in the dust for eons.
The Pondo People have knowledge of the physiology of conception. They state that conception cannot take place without the copulation of male and female. They point out that the sperm of the man meets the blood of the woman. They offer an observation that then there is a white a white string that is formed and the woman ceases to menstruate, and what blood she does not discharge goes into that string. At the end of two months it is like a a big clot of blood, and then movement begins during the fourth month.
They then explain that the leg and arms are formed, and then the sex is distinguishable. The Pondo clearly explain that when the man and woman copulate, the sperm(intlaka) of the man meets the ovary(iqanda) of the woman and this becomes mixed in her blood. The Pondo inform us that it forms a clot. In their explaining pregnancy, they state that when the menstruation stops in a woman, the blood goes into making the child. And they quickly point out that they know that at this stage that tis is not a person at once.
They explain that the body is first like a clot of blood, then dangling things come that are recognizable as the beginnings of the arm and the legs, and thereafter, the head is formed. They point out to the fact that that the eyes are not really formed at first, but just slits, where the eyes should be. If a miscarriage takes place at six months there is hair, but nails are hardly visible.
They clarify that that there is no life until the fourth month, and they say that for three months there is just a clot of blood. Although a lot of midwives amongst the Pondo people have already worked with and for Europeans, but their knowledge was not supplemented by contact with Europeans. The Pondo people desire many children and a barren woman is pitied by all but is not rejected nor abused. They also believe that if a woman marries late she is going to bear few children.
There is debate about whether the Pondo or other African people have any knowledge about contraception. Well, this part has many answers to it, and it will be discussed in later hubs about the Nguni/Bakone people when they are discussed as one National group. The Pondos deny that there was ever any abortion in their customs and culture, or the killing of infants and newly born babies with defects.
During pregnancy a woman leads a normal life, and she is expected to carry on all her duties hoeing, fetching wood and water, and grinding until the birth-pains begin. The woman as a bride works hard and the manual work done in the first weeks of her pregnancy is very strenuous. Birth-giving takes a long time among the Pondo women since their pelvises are very narrow and smaller than those of the European woman, so that that is why in the fifth month, a bride is given isihlambezo (from ukuhlamba , to wash), and this is a plant that grows in water.
Instead for a pregnant woman to drink ordinary water when she is pregnant, she drinks that which is from the plant when it is boiled. Different clans use different plants for isihlambezo and most clans use the Agapanthus , but this is entirely depended on the traditional isihlambezo . A woman must always use the isihlambezo of her husband's umzi , and it must be picked by an 'old person', male or female, of the umzi. It often happens that the isihlambezo of her husband's family is the same as the isihlambizezo of her own family, but even though she knows it, she cannot pick it for herself or have it picked for her at her parents home.
When she is ready to receive an isihlambezo, she is sent to her home to get a clay pot or tin can. On her return,beer is made for her at her umzi . She is then made to kneel down in her hut, naked to her waist; the pot containing the isihlambezo plant is set before her, and she is told to confess(ukulawula) . She must confess if she has committed incest(umbulo ), i.e., if she ever had any sexual relations with any man of her own clan, all her dreams and evil deeds. After her confessions she is made to drink the water in which the isihlambezo .
Relatives and friend are present at the ceremony. If she does not confess fully, the isihlambezo growing in her pot and the child she is bearing will not flourish, and the child when born will not suckle. If she confesses about incest, nothing is done and it is finished. If the woman does not confess, the child will not suckle and will just look at her. Some Pondo, people dispute this fact and claim that the child will suckle no matter what has happened in regards to incest. The jury is still out on this issue.
The isihlambezo is drunk for various reasons: to avoid the child being weak-minded; to make the child well so it grows strong; to make afterbirth to come away easily; so that the child comes out without the rash(ihafe) ; to prevent constipation and to clean the blood of the woman, and it is used for its therapeutic value. Besides the isihlambezo , the woman is given other medicines(amayeza) and some doctors(igqra) uses certain medicines to massage the woman stomach. There is a customary belief that if a pregnant woman sees a corpse, or her husbdnd touches one, she ran the risk of having a miscarriage.
Women give birth either at their husband's umzi or at their own home. when the pains of labor and the discharge happens, she tells her mother-in-law, or the 'big woman' of the umzi. The umbilical chord is not cut off until the afterbirth comes away. It is then cut with the blade of umnqungu( Tambookie grass) As soon as the child is born, women gather grass and prepare a couch in the hut floor for the mother.
Every morning and evening from the morning after the birth the baby is wahed in warm water, and if the sky is lear, the mother skews some embers from the fire in the middle of the hut, throws herb or a piece of the skin of a goat on the embers, holds the child over them, passing it to and fro through over the smoke. As she passes the child through the smoke, the mother chants - 'Hotshi, Malisela liphume ngomnyango', or 'Hotshi!,Isela maliphume ngomnyango.'(Let the thief go out by the door or 'The thief goes out by the door", 'Linga mtshontshi umntwana"( let him not steal the child)
Reasons are given for the ceremony (ukuphela or ukufutha) vary. Others say that it is to bring out the rash(ipita) Which the Pondo believe that it must come out if the child is to be healthy; others say it is to make the child stop crying and sleep easily. Various other medicines are given to all babies. An infusion of is given of ichaphazana (Chlorophytum comosum Baker), as long a necessary, to prevent constipation. The child is washed with an infusion of the root of ikhilika or umhlakothi and given it to drink, to bring out the rash(ipita) Women at the coast eat amasenene(rock bait) to give them much milk.
The other is fed on watery porridge, then boiled maize made very wet. She avoids milk at least for ten days, same say for any time up to two months, and she remains in her hut for about ten days. After ten days the new mother chops up the grass on which she has been lying scatters it on the veld, clears the ashes from her fire, smears her hut, chews a root and spits it on her hand. During her confinement the mother, when she has to go out of the hut, is rolled up in blankets as a girl being initiated. After ten days the mother comes out of confinement and the father slaughters a goat to make an imbeleko(ukubeleka , to carry a child on the back) in which to carry the child.
The is no calling on the ancestors,neither the gall or bladder is used, and the goat is neither killed in the kraal. If a child is born at its mother's home, nothing is killed there, but when the mother returns to her umzi , accompanied by women from her home, something is killed to welcome them, and later the imbeleko is killed. There is no ceremonial connected with the naming of a cild.
A name may be chosen by the father, or one of his elder relatives, or by the mother herself. The name given usually relates to some characteristic of the baby,or to some event which happened at the time of its birth. The name of a relative, except one dead for several generations, is never given by Amaqaba (School people). The School people sometimes named their child after a grandfather or grandmother and they also use the name of a mamale ancestor as a surname(Ifani )
Initiation came during adolescence and the Pondo formerly had circumcision schools through which every boy between 17 and 20 passed. King Faku(who died in 1867) during his reign prohibited these schools. His heir, Mqileka, was not circumcised. During the wars that the Pondo people were engaged in, circumcision incapacitated possible fighting men for a period, and in this way, circumcision schools virtually disappeared from Pondoland.
Only a small Pondo clan, the AmaNqanda, which at the time of the stopping of circumcision lived in Thembuland(Mandela's Xhosa clan)and only returned to Pondoland after the annexation, and a few Pondomise and Fingo groups living in Pondoland, retained it. Scatered Fingo clans sent their sons to relatives in other parts of the Transkei when time came for them to be circumcised. But the schools were no longer an important factor in the life of most adolescent Pondos(P.A. W. Cook)
For girls, initiation was still an important factor in the their lives. After puberty and before marriage a girl should be ukuthombisa . Ukuthomba means 'to put forth shoots, to bud, to sprout, to menstruate for the first time'. Ukutombisa is the causative form, and means the performance of the initiation rites(Kropf). In many cases, women were not at ukuthombisa until after their marriage. The reason given for the delay was the poverty or parsimony, of the girl's father. This is not done because the father is poor and he would be waiting for the cattle of the ikhazi when she marries.
The ceremonies are performed during the winter months after reaping, when the community has leisure and there is sufficient grain to make beer for the festivities. One evening the girl,or girls(Often two sister, or the daughters of two brothers, are initiated together), to be ukuthombisa they are rolled up in blanket, which completely cover them, and their head and faces are covered with handkerchiefs.
The women of the umzi and women neighbors, contemporaries of the mothers, gather around singing. The party walks through the inkundla to one of the huts, where the girls are to be secluded. Any hut of the umzi which can be spared is set aside for the initiate(intonjane). The girls enter and sit behind a screen of mats stretched across the back of the hut. The day on which the intonjane (initiate) is first secluded soon after the occurrence of first menstruation. In customary practice, the seclusion often takes place several years after her first menstruation.
When the intonjane is secluded her mother, and the other women of the umzi and the mother's friends, rush about the umzi shouting, ululating and dancing . They are at liberty on this particular day to slaughter any small stock in the umzi they can lay hands upon. Theoretically the women may themselves kill it, but usually the head of the umzi selects a pig of goat and slaughters it for them.
The women present and the men of umzi then feast on this meat. No special part is given to the intonjane . The following day, or two days later, the father of the intonjane slaughters another goat or sheep called isibande , In some cases the intonjane (initiate) is given a special piece of meat, intsonyama , from the right fore-leg, which she has to eat before anyone else touches the meat. Others say that when they were in ukuthombisa, they were not given no special part of the goat killed as isibande. Custom varies from one umzi to another, but in some case at least the intonjane is ceremonially given this special portion.
The mother, her co-wives, sisters and intimate neighbors of about the same age as herself, who together are known in western Pondoland as amazibazana, cannot eat of the meat of the isibande, although it is sometimes 'stolen' for them. A rich man will kill a goat, or pig, or sheep as meat for the amazibazana. Relatives of the intonjane's father cannot be among the amazibazana . On the day on which the intonjane is secluded, all married women present, including the amazibazana , perform a ritual dance (umgquzo), which is repeated morning and evening for the whole period during which the intonjane is secluded.
Any married woman, even though barren, and any girl who has borne a child, although she may have never been married, is eligible for the dance. The dancers form a circle, carrying a stick or wand, in their right hands, an chanting the special umgquzo chant. They walk slowly in a circle, swaying slightly to the time of the chant, then increase their pace and circle with a skipping step, then face inwards, stamping their feet rhythmically, swinging their hips, and quivering their muscles all the way up their bodies. Individuals may break from the cirle and perform their private solo dance.
The dance itself is an essential part of the ritual and unless it has been been performed, the girl will not have been ukuthambisa. On the final day when the animal has been slaughtered, the mother of the intonjane goes about urging women who are sitting out to join in the dance.
During her seclusion the intonjane sits behind the mat screen with a big blanket round her and a black handkerchief on her head. When she has to go out and relieve herself, the handkerchief is drawn over her face and the blanket over the top of her head, as on the day she entered. If the mother wants to communicate she must come to the door and shout. Men are prohibited from peering into the hut where the intonjane is sitting and interned nor are men allowed to enter the section screened off.
Also, the intonjane is attended by a younger girl, preferably a sister, as ikhankhatha (nurse) who cooks for her and sleeps with her. The intonjane cannot drink milk and must not touch food with her hands. She eats meat with two wooden pegs and dry food with a spoon, used only by her. She spears a millie cob on the end of a spoon. Only the scraps of meat which she eats ritually she might touch with her hands.
The initiation ceremonies are spoken of as an umvuyo (rejoicing). On the day on which the intonjane i s secluded, and again on the day of he final sacrificial killing, he women rush about, giving ceremonial expressions of joy, as they do on no other occasion. Pondo girls and boys are given names of youth by their contemporaries,which are used by contemporaries and juniors. The giving of the new name does not necessarily coincide with initiation. Older people usually continue to use an individual's birth name. Some do not have a name of youth. Others have several.
The Function of Ukulobola
Ukulobola influences sexual relations and the passage of cattle helps to stabilize the union. When a man deserts his wife, or sends her away without good cause, he loses his cattle. Where a woman leaves her husband without good cause, her father or brother has to return at least some of the cattle given for her. The fact that economic loss is entailed is a deterrent to desertion.
It is not only the individuals but also their respective groups are involved in the loss, and therefore they use their influence to prevent the dissolution of a marriage. If a man abuses his wife she may leave him and he suffers by losing his cattle. The woman has refuge to each umzi to which a beast of her ikhazi was loaned to. Just like Europeans do not understand the custom of ukulobola amongst African peoples, the African folks cannot fathom the European societies who do not practice this custom of ukulobola.
Cheik Anta Diop has this to say about lobola( dowry): "In reality, nowhere among the African people is the woman considered to belong to the husband's family; she continues to belong to her own family after marriage, but he is separated temporarily from it for the benefit of the husband and consequently for the benefit for the latter's family.
This is why the custom as universally acknowledged in Black Africa, makes exigent, for there to be a valid and regular union, the payment of an indemnity by the family of the husband-to-be to that of his wife, as compensation for the wrong caused to the latter family by the taking away of one of its members. There is no purchase of the woman by her husband, as has been wrongly alleged, since the wife does not legally cease to belong to her own family and in no way becomes the chattel of the man she has married; there is simply the payment of an indemnity or, more exactly, of a bond, which moreover varies enormously with different countries and with the status of the future couple ranging from several hundreds of pounds to an object which is only worth a few pence; in the latter case, it is only the fulfillment of a simple formality required out of respect to traditional customs."
It is at this point that this article wraps up the discourse on African Culture, Custom, Traditions and Practices. There are several Cultural/customary-traditional practices of the Pondo people that have been left out in this article. The few that have been touched upon here have as their aim to show the civility of the Pondo people and the terms they use for their cultural process and material cultural practices.
It also shows that they are not "savages" or "backward", and they have their own laws, social functions and laws and modes of behavior found in other cultures around Europe and other parts of the globe; the Pondos also have terms, names and language for every facet of their lives and exist like any other culture throughout the world. It is therefore unconscionable that other races should dub them as 'monkeys', 'savages', 'backwards' or nothing better than the animal kingdom.
Some of these races who are not African, do not know in-depth the ways and sayings of the Africans in South Africa, but that does not mean to say that they are not there and that they are not part and parcel of the African reality that has been constantly misconstrued and misinterpreted.
Although it is fast disappearing(African Culture, customs, Traditions and Practices), the colonial intrusion has also shaped the search for identity. In some instances and places it was considered the height of success to cultivate an Oxford accent, while in others to obtain the Legion d'Honneur served a similar purpose. To a significant degree this phase has passed. The generation now reaching adulthood in many African countries grew up entirely in the postcolonial period.
But wisps of this peversity remain, even though much of Africa is well into the fourth decade of independence. In many states, for example, the national language is still the language of the colonial power(Afrikaans and English in the case of South Africa). Unknown to much of the populace and only a second language to most of the rest, linguistic patterns thus constitute an aspect of the identity that keeps many African nations cut off from their past and tied to their former colonizers. By paying attention to the languages of Africans in South Africa, as in the case of the Pondos, and their Xhosa language, we are able to begin to reconstruct a history of African people in South Africa.
Peoples whose pre-colonial societies were already in the form of centralized states generally have traditions of statecraft, diplomacy, administrative skills, and political ideology that can be looked back upon not only with pride, but as a source of of inspiration . And where even much organization was lacking, the quality of past social relations rather than complexity of organization can be looked to as a guide to the future . The emphasis of this hub is on translating much talked-about value, such as the spiritual-moral and brotherhood into practical training program for an actual day-by-day way of living.
The Core of this program will be the "New Humanities". In the case of South Africa, this should begin to develop its system according to the prevailing actualities in a form of cultural heritage and customary practices and traditional patterns. This work on the Hub is presenting certain guidelines, and an actual blueprint for the South African African community's development of their Historiography.
African history is part of world history. It is a very old part and it is a very important part. There is no way to understand world history without an understanding of African history. We need to call for a total reexamination of African history. Considering the old approach to African history and the distortion and confusion that resulted from these approaches, a new approach to African history must begin with a new frame of reference.
We need to be bold enough to reject such terms as "Black Africa" which presupposes that there is a legitimate "White Africa". We must reject the term "Negro", "Kaffir" and all that they imply. These words , like the concept of race and racism, grew out of the European slave trade and the colonial system that followed. It is not African originated and it as not a legitimate application to and for African people.
In a speech on the "Significance of African History," the Caribbean-American writer, Richard B. Moore observed:
"The significance of African history is shown, though not overtly,in the very effort to deny anything worthy of the name of history to Africa and the African peoples. This widespread, and well nigh successful endeavor, maintained through some five centuries, to erase African history from the general record, is a fact which of itself should be quite conclusive to thinking and open minds. For it is logical and apparent that of such undertaking would ever have been carried on, and at such length, in order to obscure and bury what is actually of little or no significance.
"The prime significance of African history becomes still more manifest when it is realized that this deliberate denial of African history arose out of the European expansion and invasion of Africa which began in the middle of the fifteenth century. The compulsion was thereby felt to attempt to justify such colonialist conquest, domination, enslavement and plunder. Hence, the brash denial of history and capacity for "civilization" to the indigenous peoples of Africa." This hub is about the reconstruction of African history from an African perspective utilizing Culture, Customs, Traditions, Linguistics and practices to anchor and retell it anew.
There are Afrikaner people in South Africa who are dead-set against the correction and rewriting of African history. They tend to want to write African history as they believe and see fit to do so from their own perspectives. Well, they try to write on these blogs what they say is African South African history without the Africa perspective and fail to utilize all the aspects of culture, customs, traditions, languages and practices of Africans in Africa to give it more authenticity; and these bogus post-colonial-pseudo-historians know nothing about Africans and their history. There are a few white people who can write a decent history of Africans, but ultimately, African people's history in South Africa can be written by Africans form an African perspective."
This is a first installment of the eight more to come concerning Africans in South Africa. This is in an effort to reconstruct and rewrite anew from the actualities of present-day and past cultural/customary/traditions of Africans in South Africa with a historical eye of demonstrating their humanity(roughly called Ubuntu ), civilization and accurately reconstructing African history more realistically and acceptable to African and world historiography.
Those White people in South Africa who still call Africans Monkeys, Chimps, Baboons and non-humans, are going to have to deal with a reconstructed and rebuilt, new way of learning and knowing about African history and historiography from the African people in South Africa's perspective and all those throughout the Diaspora's perspectives. It will no more be enough for the white supremacist in South Africa to present a pejorative account of the history of Africans, they will have to be reminded of Hubs like this one which actually goes into serious research and uses African linguistics, culture, customs, traditions and practices to aid in its reconstruction of African history.
Using tired and ahistorical racist racially promulgated assertions about Africans and their history, culture and customs and traditions will no longer suffice in this day and age. As this hub and others of this genre will subsequently demonstrate, the Cultures of the ama-Nguni/Bakone will distinctly show the cultural unity of the Africans in South Africa is real, and the phony delineation of them as separate and different and as tribes as espoused by the Apartheidizers, will be proven to be false and poorly misinforming and seriously misleading and biased.
History, Culture, Customs, Sacred Traditions and Practices
A Traditional Xhosa-Pondo Wedding
The amaXhosa people are Bantu speakers living in south-east South Africa, and in the last two centuries throughout the southern and central-southern parts of the country. Xhosa people currently make up approximately 18% of the South African population. By number: in 2008: Botswana 9,900; Lesotho 22,000; South Africa 7,529,000; Zimbabwe 29,000
During the seventeenth century, a gradual migration of the Nguni took place which led thousands of people from the southern Zaire Great Lakes area to move south, displacing the original Khoisan hunter gatherers of Southern Africa.
The Xhosa culture (and Nguni culture as a whole) has borrowed from the Khoisan culture and language, and the two peoples lived symbiotically and even intermarried. The Xhosa people speak a language called "Xhosa" which is known as a "click" language, having three basic clicks, borrowed from the Khoisan languages.
Xhosa peoples were well established by the time of the Dutch arrival in the mid-17th century, and occupied much of eastern South Africa from the Fish River to land inhabited by Zulu-speakers south of the modern city of Durban.
The Xhosa and white settlers first encountered one another around Somerset East in the early 18th century. In the late 18th century Afrikaner trekboers migrating outwards from Cape Town came into conflict with Xhosa pastoralists around the Great Fish River region of the Eastern Cape. Both the Boers and the Xhosa were stock-farmers. The competition for grazing land led first to quarrels between the two groups, and eventually it came to a number of wars.
As South Africa shifted politically between British and Dutch rule, clashes with the Xhosa grew in magnitude, as with the Zulu in the Natal area farther north. The politics of the colonial government attempted to enforce the separation of white and black settlement areas with the Fish River as the border. But the more the colony developed into a modern state with a strong military organization, the more the whites tended towards a policy of land annexing and the subjugation of the black population.. Following more than 20 years of intermittent conflict, the Xhosas were forced east by British colonial forces in the Third Frontier War. This dislocated Xhosa clans and disrupted the traditional lineage-family homesteads and social system. The Xhosa were pressed into highland areas where the terrain offered some defence. In the 1830s and 1840s, after major battles, the British stripped the Xhosa chiefs of effective power. Certain areas were finally designated as semi-autonomous territories, while the British settlers took the prize areas.
Many Xhosa-speaking clans had also been pushed west by expansion of the Zulus, as the northern Nguni put pressure on the southern Nguni as part of the historical process known as the mfecane, or "scattering".
The Xhosa-speaking southern Nguni people had initially split into the Gcaleka and the Rharhabe(who had moved westwards across the Kei river).
In British South Africa, traditional areas of the Xhosa and other peoples were preserved as autonomous territories. These later became administrative districts of the Union of South Africa in 1910. The Union remained part of the British Empire and Commonwealth until after WW II. In the election of 1948, the Afrikaner National socialist party won control, restoring Afrikaner control to South Africa for the first time since the annexation of the Boer Republics by 1879. The Afrikaner government withdrew South Africa from the Commonwealth and imposed the segregation policy called "apartheid" (apart-ness), which created separate regions that were described as Bantustans (homelands) for black people of African descent. Two regions—Transkei and Ciskei—were set aside for Xhosa people, and proclaimed independent. Thousands of people were forcibly relocated there and denied South African citizenship.
The Xhosa were active in the following decades in opposing this policy, while they were persecuted and separated from most civil and legal rights. Xhosa and other black African peoples did have access to some education and there was some economic freedom. There were Xhosa lawyers (like Nelson Mandela) and business people who worked within the system to oppose apartheid until it was finally dismantled with the change to democracy in 1994.
AmaXhosa Clan Lineage Traditions
According to tradition, the leader from whom the Xhosa people take their name was the first King of the nation. Another tradition stresses the essential unity of the Xhosa-speaking people by proclaiming that all the Xhosa subgroups are descendants of one ancestor, Tshawe. Historians have suggested that Xhosa and Tshawe were probably the first Xhosa kings or paramount (supreme) chiefs.
One of Xhosa's descendents, named Phalo, gave birth to two sons: Gcaleka, the heir, and Rharhabe a son from the Right Hand house. Rharhabe, the warrior, wanted Gcaleka's throne but was defeated and banished and settled in the Amathole Mountains. Maxhobayakhawuleza Sandile Aa! Zanesizwe is the King in the Great Place in Mngqesha. The Zwelonke Sigcawu was crowned King of the Xhosa on June 18, 2010.
Major Xhosa-speaking nations or groups
AmaMpondo (their kingdom is in dispute, like that of the amaXhosa )The AmaMpondo have their separate lineage that is traceable from Sibiside to Dlemini to Njanya, to Mpondo and Mpondomise (twins) and Xesibe. The descendants of Mpondo are Santsabe, Sukude, Msiza, Ncindise, Cabe, Gangata, Bhala, Chithwayo, Khonjwayo, Ngcoya, Hlamandana, Tahle, Nyawuza and many others.
AmaMpondomise (their kingdom was destroyed by British colonists in revenge for the killing of magistrate Christopher Hope by Mhlontlo's forces during the Anti-Colonial Revolt of 1880. The revolt was led by Mhlontlo of the amaMpondomise together with Gecelo of the amaGcina, Dalasile and Stokwe of the amaQwathi and Squngathi of the abaThembu).
AmaXesibe (The descendants of Xesibe are Ntozabantu to Ndzuza to Miyana to Bimbi to Nondzaba who begot Hlabe to Mthetho to Mtshutshumbe who founded the amaQwathi nation. Mtshutshumbe begot Mndwana begot Ncobe begot Nkovane begot Ntswayibana begot Dikela.)
AmaXhosa (the kingdom is in dispute between amaGcaleka and amaRharhabe)
AbaThembu (their kingdom is in dispute between the Matanzima and Dalindyebo descendants).
AmaBhaca (descended from Madzikane, chief of the amaNgwane, killed during the invasion of Thembuland in 1828)
AmaMfengu (amaHlubi, amaBhele, amaZizi, amaNgwane, etc.)
The amaMpondo, amaMpondomise, amaXesibe and amaQwathi nations are related but the amaQwathi settled in Thembuland more than 350 years ago and as a result Qwathi chiefdom is more Thembu in culture and political association.
The “Iziduko” (clan) matters most to the Xhosa identity (even more than names and surnames), and are transferred from one to the other through oral tradition. Knowing your “Isiduko” is vital to the Xhosas and it is considered a shame and “Uburhanuka” (lack-of-identity) if one doesn’t know one's clan. This is considered so important that when two strangers meet for the first time, the first identity that gets shared is “Isiduko”. It is so important that two people with the same surname but different clan are considered total strangers but the same two people from the same clan but different surnames are regarded as close relatives. This forms the roots of "Ubuntu" (neighbouring) - a behaviour synonymous to this tribe as extending a helping hand to a complete stranger when in need. Ubuntu goes further than just helping one another - it is so deep that it even extends to looking after and reprimanding your neighbour's child when in the wrong.
One traditional ritual that is still regularly practiced is the manhood ritual, a secret rite that marks the transition from boyhood to manhood (Ulwaluko). After ritual circumcision, the initiates (abakhwetha) live in isolation for up to several weeks, often in the mountains. During the process of healing they smear white clay on their bodies and observe numerous taboos. Girls are also initiated into womanhood (Intonjane). They too are secluded, though for a shorter period. Female initiates are not circumcised. Other rites include the seclusion of mothers for ten days after giving birth, and the burial of the afterbirth and umbilical cord near the village. This is reflected in the traditional greeting Inkaba yakho iphi?, literally "Where is Your Navel?" The answer "tells someone where you live, what your clan affiliation is, and what your social status is and contains a wealth of cultural information. Most importantly, it determines where you belong".
A clan comprised of a number of groups, each led by a chief, or Inkosi, who owed his position to his mother's status (the society, however, was a patriarchal one in which women weren't formally accorded political authority and were expected to leave their families to live with their husband's family.) The Xhosa are polygynous (though today only the wealthier men have more than one wife). Marriages are arranged by the families. The family of the boy approaches the family of the girl and begins "negotiations". The lobola, or bride price, must also be agreed upon. It is typically 10 cows or the equivalent in money. The bride is captured by the groom's family and taken to live with them. In secular settings, they are considered married. In Christian settings, they proceed to the church for a two day service in which one day is spent at the groom's village and the other at the bride's village. The migrant labor system has put great strains on the traditional family. Some men have established two distinct families, one at the place of work and the other at the rural home. With the end of apartheid, some of the families previously separated by the labour laws are beginning new lives in urban areas.
Xhosa clan names (iziduko) are family names which are considered more important than surnames. Much like the clan system of Scotland, each Xhosa person can trace their family history back to a specific male ancestor or stock. Mentioning the clan name of someone you wish to thank is the highest form of respect. Thus Nelson Mandela is called by his clan name ‘Madiba’ in SA.
When a woman marries she may take her husband's surname, but she always keeps her own clan name, adding the prefix Ma- to it. A man and a woman who have the same clan name may not marry, as they are considered to be related.
Children are usually named by their fathers or grandparents and all names have special meanings. When a woman marries, her mother-in-law gives her a new name. When children are old enough to attend school, they were often given an English name.(Why?)
Names in Xhosa often express the values or opinions of the community. Common personal names include Thamsanqa (good fortune) and Nomsa (mother of kindness). Adults are often referred to by their isiduko (clan or lineage) names. In the case of women, clan names are preceded by a prefix meaning "mother of." A woman of the Thembu clan might be called MamThembu . Women are also named by reference to their children, real or intended; NoLindiwe is a polite name for Lindiwe's mother.
A few names of amaXhosa and related ethnic groups include:
Bhayi (Khetshe, Mkhumbeni, Msuthu – they belong to the amaVundle people)
Bhele (divides into several sub-clan groups: Dongo, Langa, etc.)
Debeza – OoDebeza, ngoJebe, Nonyanya, Nongoqo, Mbeka Ntshiyini Bathi uqumbile, Khonkcoshe Mbokodo engava mkwetsho (These are royalty in the Amampondomse group. Their main concentration is in the former Transkei, in Tsolo, Qumbu and Umthatha in the Eastern Cape.)
Dlamini (or Zizi,Jama kaSjadu, the clan name of Thabo Mbeki, an Mfengu subgroup)
Dlomo (different lines, Thembu or Hlubi subgroups)
Dontsa- oNoDlidlu, oNoDlabathi, oSwahla, oMntungwa uNdukuMkhonto, uShembe, bath' uDontsa akananyongo kant' abay'bon' uba igqunywe ngesbhadlalala so mhlehlo... (Hlubi clan)
Faku (Nyawuza, Thahla, Ndayeni, Mpondo, Hlamba ngobubend'amanz'ekhona)
Gaba (Mngqosini, Mjobi, Thithiba, Cihoshe, Nozinga, Mnt'womlambo, Thikoloshe, Ndoko, Mbokodw'emnyama Kahili, Msuthu)
Gebe (a Bomvana clan name)
Gqwashu (with Khoi-khoi ancestry)
Gxarha (Mpodomise subgroup clan name)
Jola SingaMampondomse ngohlanga, oJola, oomphankomo, nomakhala, njuza, sthukuthezi, sithandwa mhla kukubi, hoshode, hakaha, mfaz'omabele made oncancisa naphesha komlambo
Jwarha (Mtika, Mazaleni, Jotela, Khatiti, Mnangwe, Mayarha, Mbelu, Ndabase, Bantw'abahle noba bapheth' izikhali,
Khiwa (Khonjwayo, a Pondo clan)
Khumalo (Mfengu clan name)
Khwetshube (Mpondo clan name)
Kwayi (Ngconde, Togu, Ubulawi, Ngcond'oneentshaba, etc.)
Madiba (the clan name of Nelson Mandela, a Thembu. Important rulers and chiefs include Mthikrakra, Ngangelizwe, Dalindyebo, Joyi, Jumba, Sabatha, Buyelekhaya)
Maduna (Gubevu, Nokhala, an Mfengu clan name)
Manci(Mbali, Wabane, Tshitshis'intaba, Mdludla ka Bekiso, Zinde Zinde Zinemiqala)
Maya (omaya oyem yem osophitsho, omagwa, ongqolomsila, obhomoyi)
Mdlangathi: Mome mome Sirhama Somntwana, Juta
Mfene (Olisa, Ojambasi)
Mjoli (Qubulashe, Wushe)
Mkhwemte Dabane Sgadi Mekhi Ntswentswe Fulashe Nojaholo Ncibane Qhanqolo Ntlokwenyathi Ngququ venge
Mpehle (Mpodomise subgroup clan name)
Mpemvu (a Thembu clan name)
Mpinga (Mawawa): the clan of Enoch Sontonga, author of "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika", part of Nationa Athem of Republic of South Africa.
Mtakwenda (Leta, Libele, Tyebelendle, Ngcwadi, Kwangeshe, Mentuko, Mboyi, Solizembe)
Mvulane (Ncilashe, Msuthu – they belong to the amaVundle people)
Myirha Mzondi Sampu Ziyeka (Ithambo lenyoka lihlaba elimzondayo)
Ndala (Ndala ka Momamana, uMncotshe, Msunu Sdumbu, Thole, Ngxunga Smukumuku, Ndithinina )
Ndlovu Mntungwa Gengesi Malunga Mancoba (zidlekhaya ngokuswela umalusi)
Nkomo (Mntungwa, Khumalo – amaMfengu. They are originally Ndebele from Natal and arrived in as refugees in Thembuland in 1828 during the time of the Mfecane wars.)
Nkwali (Mfengu/Hlubi clan name: bhukula, Mkhwanazi, Nkwali ye Nkosi)
Nxuba (Mduma, Rhudulu)
Nyawuza (Faku, Mpondo ruling line, chiefs including Faku, Sigcau, Bokleni, Ndamase)
Mqadi Ngqwili Nondlobe
Qhinebe - Gqugqugqu, Zithonga-zthathu, Haha, Mlunjwa, Mkhomanzi, Duka namahlathi
Qocwa (Zikhali Mazembe, Jojo, Tiyeka, Butsolo Beentonga Mbizana, Mabombo)
Qithi (Ndinga, Zondwa, Thembu)
Qwathi - Iinkomo zikaXesibe, zikaJojo, zikaMtshutshumbe, ogqaz'indlel'ebhek'ebuNguni. (The amaQwathi are not a clan but an independent nation founded by Mtshutshumbe kaMthetho who split from the amaXesibe nation and settled in the Mqanduli area in Thembuland some 350 years ago. Later they settled in their present capital of Engcobo during the reign of King Dlomo of abaThembu, about 1680. This small but fiercely independent and anti-colonial nation divides into several clans: amaDikela, amaTshaba, ooSdindi, ooBhlangwe, ooBhose, amaNzolo, imiNcayi, amaNtondo, amaKhombayo, ooMkhondweni, amaVumbe, ooKhebesi, amaBangula, amaDumba, ooMhotho, ooCakeni, ooBhabha, amaMvala, amaDabisa, ooS'ximba, etc. Prominent chiefs include the heroic anti-colonial Stokwe ka-Ndlela, the courageous Dalasile kaFubu, the great Fubu himself (who fought and killed both Rharhabe and his son Mlawu in 1872, defended his capital and defeatedMadzikane of the Bhaca in 1824 and Matiwane of Ngwane in 1828 during the Mfecane wars triggered by Shaka, etc), Zwelakhe (present chief))
Rhadebe ndlebentle'zombini (amaHlubi)
Sithathu – means "third" (the third Khoi-khoi ancestry clan)[oChisana, Khopoyi, Ndebe, Hasa,Lawu]
Skhoji (A group of Xhosa speaking people who mainly occupy the small town called Tsolo on the Tsitsa valley. They are the direct descendants of a Scottish man by the name of William Saunders who befriended a Xhosa girl and later had issue.)
Sukwini (with Khoi-khoi ancestry) – [Chwama, Dibashe ,Lawu'ndini, Nja-bomvu, Sandlala-ngca, Ithole loMthwakazi].
Thangana (Krila, Rhaso, M'bamba, Bodlinja, Gobingca)
Thole (Gqagqane, Buzini, Ndlangisa, Mzimshe, Lwandle)
Tolo (amaMfengu – Dlangamandla, Mchenge, Mabhanekazi, Zulu, Mabele-made)
Tshangisa (Zulu, Skhomo, Mhlatyana, Rhudulu, Nxuba, Mngwevu)
Tshawe (the ruling house among all the Xhosa. Chiefs include Hintsa, Sigcawu, Sarhili, Xolilizwe, etc.)
Tshezi (the ruling Bomvana clan of the Jalamba-Gambushe line, with European shipwreck ancestry)
Tshomane (with shipwreck ancestry, split from the ruling Nyawuza clan of the Mpondo)
Xesibe (AmaXesibe are a nation made up of several clans and tribes but their history is not well documented. Common clan names are: Nondzaba, Mbathane, Tshomela ka Matsho).
Xhamela (They are also called amaGcina, found in Thembuland).
Zangwa (Khwalo – amaMpondo).
Traditional Culture Veneration of the ancestors, sometimes called "ancestor worship," is very prominent among the Xhosa people. The ancestors are still considered part of the community of the lineage. They believe the ancestors reward those who venerate them and punish those who neglect them. Many mix ancestor worship with their Christian faith. There is a strong sense of loyalty among the tribe or community. The land was communally held; and great emphasis placed on giving according to need: everything was shared, in bad times as well as good; Xhosa families still routinely help one another with such tasks as hut-building.
The body of Xhosa lore has much in common with that of the other Nguni peoples such as the Zulu and Swazi. Animism, and recognition of the presence and power of ancestral spirits and of a supreme authority, are basic elements of belief. Misfortune and illness are attributed to unnatural of supernatural influences (such as the tokoloshe, a hairy and potentially malevolent goblin who attacks at night). Other figures are the huge lightning bird (Impundulu), and the gentle aBantu bomlambo, human-like beings believed to live in rivers and the sea, and who accept into their family those who drown.
The Xhosa also have amagqirha or diviners in their tribes. The diviner is the Xhosa's healer. There are herbalists amaxhwele, prophets izanusi, and healers inyanga for the community. The diviners are mostly women. They wear a shawl and headdress of fur most of the time. It takes about five years of being an assistant to a diviner until you become one yourself.
The key figure in the Xhosa oral tradition is the imbongi (plural: iimbongi) or praise singer. Iimbongi traditionally live close to the chief's "great place" (the cultural and political focus of his activity); they accompany the chief on important occasions - the imbongi Zolani Mkiva preceded Nelson Mandela at his Presidential inauguration in 1994. Iimbongis' poetry, called imibongo, praises the actions and adventures of chiefs and ancestors. Xhosa traditional music places a strong emphasis on group singing and handclapping as accompaniment to dance. Drums, while used occasionally, were not as fundamental a part of musical expression as they were for many other African peoples. Other instruments used included rattles, whistles, flutes, mouth harps, and stringed-instruments constructed with a bow and resonator.Another point is that part of the National anthem of South Africa is a Xhosa hymn written in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga.
Consciousness Of Consciousness: To "BE" Is The Answer..
YOUTH: What's To Be done? The Way forward And LessonsFor Youth...
Consciousness: How Can We forget? Looking Now Into The Present Future...
For us to gain "True Consciousness, We've got to know and understand what Consciousness is, means to us and for us and what can we do about it. To be conscious is to be aware of the 'here and now', What it all means to one and ones collective(people). It is to be aware of one's history: Past, Present and Future, very well. For, if we read up and try and understand Wilson below, this will help in being conscious, achieving consciousness in the Biko sense(Black/African Consciousness).
"To manipulate history is to manipulate consciousness: to manipulate consciousness is to manipulate possibilities; and to manipulate possibilities is to manipulate power. 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, shapes the consciousness and psychology of both 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 people; often a gross and crude attempt to create and shape 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 the 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's treacherous role in this regard must be explored and reversed by an African-centered historiography, written by African historians, and dedicated to historical accuracy and truth - historians who are unafraid to speak truth to power. 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 the freeing and expansion of African consciousness; for the re-conquest of African minds, bodies, lands, resources, and African autonomy. Every Eurocentric social institution conspires with Eurocentric historiography to handcuff and incarcerate African consciousness, to justify and facilitate the subordination and exploitation of African peoples." (Wilson)
According to Wilson, our Consciousness has been "handcuffed" in order to facilitate for the "subordination and exploitation of Afrjkan peoples."
What are we talking about here? We are in effect seeing ourselves in the piece above. We have been conquered, Apartheidized, and now a discombobulated half-slave society that is running around like a headless chicken. We do not even want to face that reality and possibility that we have been had.. Bamboozled..flumoxed and outwitted that we end up thinking that condition is our natural state of self and national development.
That could not be far from the truth because so long as we do not accept the fact that we have been dominated and socialized by Apartheid, and now being dumbed-down by the imperial invested interests in our minerals, lands, people, labor, families, communities, societies, and everything else that we do not own, we shall have to reckon with this reality, it is important that we begin to reconsider this statement up to this far.
Our Youth cannot go it alone. That is a recipe for disasters. The elderly need to begin to speak their truth and with strength conviction, whenever talking to our out of control youth. To the Youth I will say that it is very futile to go against your own people, because when time comes, and it will be necessary to become a fish in the masses who will be your ocean for sailing and hiding.
Just because you can speak English, or are now using a smartphones, are working and are the highest earner in you household or family, that does not mean the youth has to become bosses of their families, by being arrogant, abusive and ignorant and very mean spirited to their elders.
The task of the Youth is to build and organize, move forward the people in their struggle for liberation and dignity-plus ownership of the land and its people and resources.
It is the duty of the Youth to organize sports, community safety, education, reading, perpetuating cultural continuation and propagation, take care of the young and very old, work very hard to read and understand the world. The Youth needs too recognize that they are the 'energy' and 'engine' of their societies.. They need to stay well oiled and constantly serviced/tuned-up.
The Youth has to understand that to be "Men" of tomorrow begins now when they are young. As it is oft said, "You reap What You sow": the lifestyles and mannerism and disrespect that the many of the Youth cadre are displaying, are going to be detrimental to them 10, 20 and 30 years down the road. We might see the re-enslavement of our people, again. And this process has just about begun.
Inebriation (Alcoholism/Drunkeness), Drugs, Sex, Aping Western values and mores, discarding of our own cultures, traditions, languages, history, customs, traditional sacred rites and practices, our own local music(and that of the Diaspora), can no longer be acceptable. We are not Americans, nor British, neither European no Asiatic. We are Africans, and we better recognize that and be very consciously cognizant of that fact and reality. We should not apologize to nobody whenever we say we are Africans. That we are, and even if we use the foreign English language, that should not be at the expense of our mother tongues.
The parents and elders should begin to talk to the Youth in a way that is informative, even if so many of them are not yet ready to listen. The elders should stop hero-worshiping their children. Love them, Yes. Discipline, Very much. And there should be impartation of our knowledge of our culture and traditions in their diversity; and our cultures, customs, traditions, music and so forth, are not different, but a diverse mosaic of one culture of the Africans of Mzantsi. We should get this straight and be very conscious about it.
Our culture in South Africa is one even if it is made of 11 peoples, and will never accept us being referred to as "Tribes". No. We are a Nation with a very diversified and unique culture- of one people - Nguni/Bakone, etc. We have a very dynamic culture, and we cannot talk about it if we do not know it. This means we have to go back and study all the 11 cultures of the Africans of Mzantsi and then we can begin to talk about our culture from an informed, conscious perspective.
We should be well informed about and should know all the traditional, customary, cultural, historical, musical, sacred rites and practices of the Africans of Mzantsi. This is our homework, we better know ourselves, thoroughly and completely. We should also work on enhancing the fusion of our language by knowing each fully well and be erudite about it; and we should begin developing from that knowledge to create a unified language of the Africans of Mzantsi, and make it official and national.
Our Youth should be encouraged to teach their elders in Night and day school and vocational training institute; the youth should be encouraged to learn about culture, sports, drama, arts and the whole bit. The whole act or action is the raising of consciousness/awareness-the here and now-in a national and collective sense and reality. I am more enamored by the formulation of our struggle from the perspective and lives/culture of the African people of Mzantsi, more than from some unrelated intellectual to our struggle/or falsified and underdeveloping ideas and actions, that end up harming our African people. Our people offer too much material to work with in order to set them in motion and help them champion their own liberation-and become and Authentic African Nation.
We have already seen the past twenty of "Shamocracy" here in our country. We have heard and are still hearing some vain and disturbing lies about what to vote for and why. We know the deal. We ain't -ish here in our land, no matter how you cut it. You might be rich today-tomorrow is not guaranteed. You are not sure whether your bond house and your futuristic foreign car will last till you age and die. Nothing is stable and concrete, for it is not owned and run by us as a Nation of Africans of Mzantsi. This is a fact!
There is no guarantee even to those who consider themselves our elites for they are fully dependent on a local or foreign master to be rich and prosper. We all know that they are not depended on the army of the poor, except to abuse and exploit them. All of us with heady titles and are in the employ of foreign capital, so is our government of the day.
Our culture, politics, education, society, psyches and the whole bit, are still being shaped and dictated to by others/Non-African South Africans. Those of us in the education, are only taking orders, being issued directives, the protocol being shaped elsewhere, that in the end, we are holding on to the measly cheques we receive either in the middle of the month, or month end. We do not want some of us to point to the opportunistic tendencies and disastrous nature of what some of us imbibe, and yet, we are going nowhere fast-and still refuse to learn.
We are all in a rat-race(Marley) to be one-best to your neighbor, friends, and all the farce of upmanship-poorly which is slovenly copied from western civilization of the day. That's just goes to show the poverty of ideas we are tripping on
So that, to be conscious, then, is to begin to be a pro and master of ones destiny and whatever ones existence is left from the cruel oppression and miseducation that we have suffered for many centuries. The combination of the the elders and the youth is very urgent. The youth have to begin to calm down and learn to listen, and read a lot. We need to try and use Facebook to get books from all over the world and of all types. We should also begin to write our own books, just as we need to develop our musical traditions/performances, drama, art, culture, and so forth.
We do not need to ape nor copycat nobody but our modus operandi should be from what we already have, know well and control/own. The world adores our culture, but we do not think so, nor, do many of us know that. We have been suffused with the mind-set of 'imports', that in the end we have ignored the local motion and paradigms/realities. We shift with foreign values, cultures, dress, locomotion, are on Facebook and all types of social media, but never at home/to ourselves-we seem to have a warped sense of what we ought to do.
We better understand the media and its mediums. Here we have been afforded a chance to dialogue with one another, but we present and pretend by staying aloof of the contents, issues and topics that concern us. The social media fall right into the middle of our culture in its nature of communication with one another. The social media of the day is very African culture-friendly, we just need to cast-off and shed the presences we keep on displaying, and work of manifesting our culture in our reality. If we do not respond nor care, and think like our former masters, as it is a design of an imprisoned populace-which we are, still, We shall never reach the growth of being a Nation that is work as a collective and in tandem.
We know that everything we say is being monitored here on Facebook, but we can at least talk to one another unless there's a more non-public way like the viral stream. Understanding the Media(as espoused by Marshall McLuhan) is key to our contributing to the liberation. social action is and should be the norm. Tangible results should be the objective, and social gluing and cohesion the primary focus. In a very serious way, Social Media is was the missing link-the only problem is to begin to give more cheaper access to the Internet to all the African peoples of South Africa
Consciousness therefore, in my own paltry way, is an attempt to wake up the people, everyone, to the reality that is looking at us in the face and eliminating us in various ways. The awareness of such truth about ourselves is one other steps towards resuscitating our embattled people.
The immediate past, Apartheid, is still with us. We have now one more load on our tortured backs, our own elected African leaders, who still have not fired that we are important. We should always make the point that we all consciously demand that we come first, We The People Of Mzantsi.
Everything that happens in our country must first benefit us-the rest we will decide later at our own discretion what to do with it or for it. There is nothing wrong in saying that, and we should be instilling and helping our own folks understand what it is we mean when we say "WE Come First!" the Should build their Collective Consciousness Around that fact.
A Conscious People Can Demand Social And Also Engage In Social Change.
Those two are inseparable. Whatever action it is, it should be geared towards the upliftment of the common and poor Africans. We cannot all be filthy rich, but all of us can live decently and comfortable enough in the land of our birth. In a short historical summation I say:
There are many issues which need to be put in correct historical perspective so that we can see the history of Africans, not through rose-colored glasses, but what it is that has happened to Africans, and why the present Africans are still persona non-grata in many institutions, in their countries and within their history. Our Culture must be reclaimed and controlled/owned by us.
The actual and present condition of Continental Africa is one of deep trouble, worse than the one imposed during the colonial times. Deserts have grown wider every year; the broad Savannas have lost their communities and have lost all their means of existence; tropical forest have disappeared through feeding the export maw; cities that do not deserve to called such, have spawned large scale poverty and plagues never seen, known or dreamed-of in human history; harsh and evil dictatorships who have ruled and are still ruling over people who distrust and hate them, and for a good reason; and in the case of Africa, one dismal tyranny gives way for another more worse one; despair rots civil society, and the state becomes an enemy, and bandits flourish.
Meanwhile, the Developed World, or the industrialized world continues to take its cuts of Africa's dwindling wealth, and America and countries of Europe have expanded in value annually. While this is going on, multitudes are starved, suffer many diseases, and are troubled by internecine wars with millions murdered, annually.
Africa's crisis of society derives from many colonization and conflicts. These arise from the social and political institutions within which 'decolonized Africans' have lived and tried to survive. African nationalism produced nation-states of newly independent Africa after the fall of colonialism. These nation-state state began with liberation and looked like liberated states.
What was happening was that this was not Africa's restoration of its own history but a perpetuation of new and indirect rule to the history of Europe. The 50 or so African states were formed as though its peoples possessed no history of their own, and they became the 50 or so states or nation-states formed and governed from the models of Britain and France, America, Italian, etc., by these aforementioned countries.
African liberation led to African alienation.
As we look at African Nationalism, we must also present its history in the different epochs and geographical locations throughout Africa and the Diaspora. Marcus Garvey achieved this and it even spread right here in South Africa. There are a lot of books written about South African African Garveyites one can look for and read up on. There are books that give the history of Africans who were fighting were in the units during the Anglo Boer War and yet no mention is made of those. Our History will only be valid when we begin to talk and write about it Consciously and with a conscience-in the interest of and for our people.
Biko on Black(African) Consciousness((A Précis)
"Briefly defined, Black(African) Consciousness is in essence the realization by the Black(African) man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their operation - the blackness of their skin - and to operate as a group in order to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude. It seeks to demonstrate the lie that Black(African) is an aberration from the "normal" which is White.
"It is the manifestation of a new realization that by seeking to run away from themselves(a la Marley) and to emulate the White man, Blacks(Africans) are insulting the intelligence of whoever created them Black(African)
"Black Consciousness, therefore, takes cognizance of the deliberateness of God's plan in creating Black(African) people Black(with Melanin-my add). It seeks to infuse the BlackAfrican) community with a new-found pride in themselves, their efforts, their value systems, their culture, their religion and their outlook in life"
There's more, but I think I will compose an article that deals with Biko's Black(African) Consciousness, take.
There's still a lot to be done, as Lenin once wrote a book called "What's to be done". I will be citing from him too, to answer the persistent question, if we are to achieve our own and earned autonomous Consciousness, What's To Be Done? I think we should be more Consciously immersed, embedded and swirling/acting within our culture, history, traditions, languages, music dances, and so forth, with and within our communities, maybe we can affect and effect the much needed change, today.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.