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Is modern life killing our cultural Values?

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Nomfundo Zakwe

In the year 2017, what exactly does it mean to be proudly South African?

Does it have something to do with our democracy, our food, clothing, music, history perhaps?  Our diverse cultures, ethnicity or the manner in which we stand out from the rest of the African continent?

Our parents are constantly complaining about how we have lost our values and “Amasiko”, they often wonder how long it will be until we have completely forgotten about all the small rituals that make up our cultures the various acts that our ethnic history is based on. In the fast paced ever changing life that we live today is there really any time for sacrifices and yearlong tributes to great great great grandparents we only hear about in praise songs? I mean, besides the fact that our cultural beliefs as Africans are often juxtaposed with modern day religion, how many young people could tell you in detail all the requirements of a Zulu marriage to pass. Or all that one must do to strengthen a child from birth.  We cut so many corners and leave out so many details nowadays simply because there is no time. Our cultures and cultural beliefs have been stripped to their bare minimums and continue to be forgotten with every new generation. Will we ever find our way back?

Personally, there are a few aspects of my Zulu and Xhosa cultures that I don’t believe in and many rituals that I do question simply because they don’t make sense to me: for example, why must one man have more than one wife? Or why must I slaughter an animal every time I move homes? Why must boys go up a mountain to be circumcised in unsanitary conditions to learn to be a man, can’t we just have the life lessons without the many initiates dying from infections caused by botched circumcision?  Why do I need to drink the gall bladder of a goat at a cleansing ritual? I mean, Eeuw.

But these are long standing practices among our people and we may never truly know the reasons behind why our fore fathers sanctioned the drinking of vile tasting plants and animal parts, and how exactly this helps one tap into the realm of the spirit world.  So do we forsake them because we don’t get them? Do we blindly follow on and continue because our parents did it and their parents before them?

Or have these rituals no place in our new world and if so where and how will we learn the moral teachings and value systems that are engraved in these small rituals?

What are your thoughts on this? Leave us a comment below or simply tweet us @BlazonMagazine we’d love to hear from you!

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