Heritage Day is one of South Africa's public holidays. It is a day in which all are encouraged to celebrate their cultural traditions in the wider context of the great diversity of cultures, beliefs, and traditions that make up the nation of South Africa. Every year Inkcubeko Nendalo hosts an outdoor weekend excusion for a number of Grahamstown school pupils to celebrate the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the region.
Following our recent research project on Xhosa marine lore earlier this year, our heritage weekend schools outing was held at the beautiful Alexandria coast where we stayed at Woody Cape Backpackers.
Twelve learners from various Grahamstown schools joined us for the weekend. We were fortunate to also have with us Vatiswa Zikishe from the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Jason Randall from Rhodes University Journalism department and Erin Soutar from Rhodes University Entomology Department.
Vatiswa manages our collaborative Groen Sebenza project (see http://www.bioculturaldiversity.co.za/news.php?nid=53). Jason filmed many of the activities (see video here) and Erin took photos and helped with identifying and talking about insects.
Inkcubeko Nendalo’s Michelle Cocks, Tony Dold and Mluleki Nkosi led the group along pristine forest walks and the beach teaching the learners about plants, animals and marine organisms. Fun activities included story telling, show-and-tell, and always popular, a talent contest. The take-home message was simply that Xhosa culture is strongly nature-based and without access to plants, animals and especially the coastal shore many important cultural practices would fast disappear. Discussion on the abantu bomlambo (ancestors of the sea) was a central theme.
Our delicious Saturday night meal was a venison “potjiekos” (traditional South African slow-cooked stew) donated by Louise Bester of the Mobile Science Lab (http://www.mobilelab.co.za/) with whom we collaborate.
Thanks to Vatiswa Zikishe, Jason Randall and Erin Soutar.
Thanks to Louise Bester for the venison.
Thanks also to the learners: Emmanuel Fiurs, Asemahle Mpehlo, Nomvelo Sicethe, Sibonokuhle Bhala, Tandile Lumkwana, Unathi Tandani, Beauty Booi, Sinexabiso Dumana, Aphindiwe Tata, Phumelela Masabalala, Bongiswa Voyizana and Sive Gotyana for your participation.