Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Let's Not Ignore The Culture of A Modern Black Man

Jane Ndlovu

The promotion of different cultures is an important part of society that should be happening constantly. South Africa certainly is an interesting place with eleven official languages and a few extras spoken but not officially recognised. Being inside a minibus taxi in Johannesburg for example is an interesting experience. The driver is likely to be Zulu but the passengers would speak various languages like xiTshonga, seSotho, seTswana, isiXhosa and many others. The funny thing is that all these people would be speaking their home languages but they would all understand each other.

South Africans also come from various backgrounds which would have different and colourful cultures too. But sadly not all of these get enough recognition.

It is just my observation that the culture of a modern black South African is ignored and it’s just the white man who is often portrayed as progressive.

Black people are in the majority in South Africa and are found all over the place including the boardroom. Those boardrooms are part of their culture in modern day society but this evolution of Africans is seldom shown. When one watches the media depicting black culture it is evident that it is forever stuck in the primitive ways of the past.

I don’t understand why South African black culture is only shown by reflecting women covered in beads with clay pots of water from a river on top of their heads or black men in the Tshenga (cow hide underwear) herding livestock.

The Zulu reed dance in South Africa is a prominent feature in the cultural calendar. The Xhosa initiation ceremony where many young boys die in the bush as they are being ‘turned’ into men is another important part of South Africa. I am not saying we should do away with these, maybe the latter needs to be done with more control so there are no deaths. I am just saying black people are more than just that.

There are those who have their cultures in the rural areas but there are many others who have different cultures in the city. City folk might have traditional ceremonies, but some might not. All that I am saying here is that most of us wear modern day clothes, we buy meat in the butchery and seldom slaughter animals and we have taps with running water and never go to the river to fetch it. Maybe it’s those aspects of modern day South Africa that we need to promote rather than the primitive ways of just a few cultures. If we do that maybe foreigners will even stop thinking all of us are running around with machetes and have lions in our backyards.

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