There are many ways to celebrate our culture and tradition, as Heritage day reminds us. This is the day when we celebrate things that make us proud to be South African, like our languages, traditions, traditional clothes, food and music.
For some people, like Koketso, every day seems to be heritage day. She is a traditional healer. “It means that my life is filled with rituals and rules that I observe, like burning a plant called impepho every morning to cleanse myself and my surroundings. When you are a sangoma (traditional healer), you learn everything that has to do with culture and customs. You have to perform rituals like speaking to ancestors,” she explains.
Koketso knows that it’s unusual to see a teenage healer, and loves making people curious. “When people ask me questions, it’s an opportunity for me to teach them about our traditions. Talking about my calling, and life as a sangoma is a way to celebrate African heritage.”
When she got her calling at 13, she was not afraid because her grandmother always told her about Basotho traditions and customs. Education is just as important to her. “We asked my ancestors to allow me to finish school so I only consult on weekends and during school holidays. This Heritage Day, I’m proud to live in a country where I can celebrate my culture and traditions daily without being judged for it.”
You don’t need a calling to celebrate heritage. You can learn a new language from any of the 11 official ones in South Africa, or start mixing traditional prints into your outfits, like rocking a doek. Knowing our history is another way of celebrating our heritage.
Happy Heritage month Springsters!