Alexandrians displayed their African identity as they joined compatriots of other cultures nationwide in celebrating Heritage Day.
This in part to also affirm their contribution to the rainbow tag used to entice social cohesion needed in a country struggling to rid itself of the residues of past division.
Celebrations took place at San Kopano Community Centre where a galore of multi-cultural dances were performed and watched by bodies in colourful attire and adorned with exquisite beading. Words of wisdom where shared through storytelling and various cultural food and artefacts where displayed in abundance.
To the elderly it was bringing the village into town and to the youth it was an eye opener which hopefully will engender a desire for self-reflection, self-knowledge and a deepening of their identity.
The various eye-catching rhythmic and foot stomping dance routines to thunderous drum beats were a marvel to watch. It left some murmuring pleas for the displays to be on a regular basis to help affirm African identity in a post-modern global culture.
Portia Gouveia of the Community Works Programme in the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said the annual event by the staff and the community aimed to share, respect and pay homage to the various cultures in the township. “We hope it assists the youth to remember and embrace their cultural roots and identity and teaches them to embrace each other’s rich diversity,” Gouveia said.
She urged the youth to look to their cultures for grounding and wisdom when making choices about life. “It will develop your sense of social awareness, responsibility and encourage you to spend more time in the boardroom (studying) than in the bedroom making babies and away from self-destruction through drug and alcohol.”
The dancing coupled with poetry and drama she added exposed them to their talents as potential artists.
Commending the event, Mme Bonisa Mgoboli said, “It taught self-awareness, the importance of respect, communal values and the sanctity of life and reduced the anti-social mentality of ‘oclever’ (wayward and ill disciplines).” She rebuked such conduct as the basis for destructive tendencies instead of using constructive and respectful means to solving problems.
Edited by Stacey Woensdregt