The September month of Heritage observed in the South African calendar invokes in me some serious nostalgic feelings that are only unique to this specific month. And it’s been like these for the past 7 years since I migrated to the land of opportunities and many possibilities.
Since then, whenever I miss home, I draw joy from going down memory lane about where I grew up. Thoughts of afternoons spent camping outside Modjadji Nature Reserve in Khetlhakoni waiting to see and count tourists cars coming to enjoy our culture still bring a warm smile to my face. Back then that nature reserve was a prominent tourist destination in Bolobedu. On weekdays after school the park’s main entrance proved a convenient playground for kids hoping to attract the attention of camera flashing visitors.
Sundays I would tag along with my grandmother to the royal kraal where local elders usually socialized. Traditional dance and sorghum home brewed beer formed an important part to the weekend entertainment in those days. The khelobedu heritage was a lifestyle that even the modern games we played in my childhood passed as sort of medieval games in the eyes of our township counterparts who played on pavements with toys, while we played with stones in the dusty ground. Games would go right into dusk when one by one we would be summoned to our homes and reminded that the sun doesn’t do round turns for kids who have no bearing on time.
Maybe this Lobedu heritage is what makes me a bit apprehensive when it comes to certain activities that have become so synonymous with modern times. The gym is one such for me!
I got enough workout to last me I lifetime, is my excuse to abstaining from such luxuries. At dawn I would wake up along with my sisters to sweep our football sized yard, join other neighbourhood girls to go gather fire wood in the hilly forests and come back in time to cook with a three legged pot- a size big enough to feed nearly ten people lunch and supper. Late in the afternoon when the sun cooled down we’d embark on trips to the river to fetch water or do the washing.
Now that I think of it, Heritage Day for me is will be a day of emancipation from all those cultural obligations rural woman are expected to fulfill and just concentrate on the Braai Day part. After all for the majority of South Africans still living in the rural parts of the country, heritage is not a one day experience but a way of life.