The Genocidal and Tortured Legacy Lives of African Peoples Daily Lives - 365 Days Eternally
- The Successful Revolutionary is a statesman; the unsuccessful one a criminal (Erich Fromm)
Gerrymandering of the Minds' Psyche
"What became of the Black People of Sumer?" the traveller asked the old man. "For ancient records show that the people of Sumer were Black. What happened to them?" "Ah, the old man sighed. They lost their history, so they died." - A Sumer Legend
"I am talking of millions of men who have been skillfully injected with fear, inferiority complexes, trepidation, servility, despair, abasement." - By Aime Cesaire
I have been meaning to write on this subject on the History, Customs, Traditions, Culture, Languages, Rites and Practices of the African South Africans, for a long time. In my past Hubs, I have tried to cover ground on the lives of Africans in Africa and South Africa and what they have been going through for the past 300-plus years of oppression, subjugation, depression, repression and the intensely and extreme violation of their humanity, culture, customs, land and existence.
This is a very serious point I am about to discuss: i.e., how, when and why this was done and is still being done; also, what was life, culture and customs of Africans in the South of Sahara and southern Africa like before and after the coming of the Europeans later-on deep and further into this Hub; and what this life is like today. In the process I will give a serious version of Modern African culture, and an even more deeper historical delineation and concrete historical cultural breakdown, i.e., the customs, culture and practices of the Nguni as narrated by themselves-and also using African-centered references to solidify and anchor the discussion I am about to lay out below.
The topic I am embarking on may not be popular or much known subject, [Maybe too long for the Internet], but I am going to try and unpack this historical phenomenon of a distorted and dysfunctional African society and picture[image] of African Culture and Customs that we read about today, and how the remnants of this African culture we see today affects Africans in their lives and existence in the past and at presently: that of being Oppressed, suppressed, depressed, repressed, enslaved, colonized and stripped off all their cultures, customs, tradition, languages, and have poverty and all types of diseases imposed on them; and, how their cultural practices and traditional rites have been relegated to the inferior status of being regarded as irrelevant, closer to child babble/barbaric and need not be paid any attention to, whatsoever: i.e., a culture best forgotten for it has never been of any use to the Africans themselves.
As of the writing of this Hub, the level of subjugation, neglect, being ignored, having imposed ignorance hunger a constant, and a bleak future and dreadful intolerable existence, has gone into over-drive! Also, later in the Hub, we look as to how the remnants of the present African culture can be looked at anew and thus Africans be able draw inspiration from its present presence and manifestation; also, the past history[as taught by Apartheid] and cultural and customary and traditional historiography issues will be addressed in order to give a complete picture of the past and present-and scholars from the African centered perspectives will be used in order to add muscle to the skeleton of the history of Africans South Africans.
The History of South Africa will be linked to the Civilization of Mapungubwe to begin turning the tide against the lies that impregnate Historical books and journals written by those who are not Africans, or with African 'collaborators'-that Africans of South Africa did not inhabit nor own the land known as South Africa today. There is this lie and myth that has been perpetuated that Africans migrated to South Africa from the North of Africa, and came at more or less the same time as the Dutch landed in the Cape: nothing could be further from the truth than this blatant ahistorical misinformation and lie which I plan to deconstruct in this Hub.
The voices of those Oppressed multitudes in South Africa has been silenced, treaded-upon, scorned, dismissed, ridiculed, mocked, derided attacked, labelled as inhospitable and backward hosts, foreigners, and called Dogs(Read the history of Van Riebeeck on this issue), called "Bantu", "Natives, "Kaffirs", "Plurals"; the locals were labelled as being lazy, inferior, stupid, slow, not-worthy-of-their-land-and-its-riches-as has been touted by the Apartheid rulers, and today can be observed and said by the new foreigners now living in South Africa and disrespecting the local Africans and hurling this type of abuse at them from every quarter.
That in the end we find the local Africans living in squalor, poverty, sicknesses and diseases of all kinds, ignorance, confusion and tension, uncertainty; and, in recent times, within an empty and hollow democracy- and being denied their humanity, democracy, culture customs, traditions, practices and ceremonies and basic human services and comfort; this has led to today's Colonial Mental disorders that are now commonplace amongst the Africans of South Africa.
Meanwhile, their detractors have no full understanding and nor sufficient knowledge of all the issues at play in the lives of Africans in South Africa and in the southern regions of Africa below the Sahara. Africans have been as a people under Siege - Literally and Practically; daily and to date! Suffering all these social malaise and dysfunctional social realities, and adding insult to injury, the Local African people of South Africa are the least respected communities in South Africa(as noted above) in their land of birth, and this is also visited on them by their own elected ANC-led government.
Everyone[most foreigners and European and some Africans[from the countries north of South Africa, and Africans South Africans, in South Africa, DISRESPECT the indigenous native Africans of South Africa, and this has become the way of life under the so-called rainbow government, too.
The Africans of South Africa who have moved up the social ladder, have some contempt for their poor brethren who are running confused and have no one to lead them or help them. If most of the tourists would begin to go into the townships, live with the people, and not see them through the lens of the past structures and strictures that were created for white dominance and pleasure, that is, meet these Africans in western-style cities, hotels and bars and shopping centers, does not make these people know who the Africans of South Africa are.
One can read the internet as much as possible, or visit South Africa for a month or year, but so long as that is the case, tourists living in five star hotels , and head to the townships through guided tours and take some pictures, this does not necessarily make them authorities on the Africans of South Africa-especially the posts they make on the Net(Facebook for one and other Social Networking sites, blogs and so forth.
This onslaught is gathering momentum and the African people have already noted that this is one issue which the world will see heads rolling! I mean, at present there is this struggle for Africans of South Africa trying to make sense of all what is going, and the there'll be action once they figure out what is happening to them.
There comes a time, when African people believe in the affairs of men and nations, and it becomes necessary for them to engage in 'bolekaja' ("Come down let's fight!") — a term applied in Western Nigeria to passenger lorries ("mammy wagon") from the outrageous behavior of their touts… I would like to make it clear, (without apologies to anyone)!
I am a 'bolekaja' pundit, like those outraged 'touts for the passenger lorries, (South African Taxis!), of African History, Culture and Customs, and that am administering a timely and healthy dose of much needed public ridicule to the reams of pompous nonsense which has been floating out of the stale, sterile, stifling caverns of academia and unequal and oppressive society such as the one in South Africa, which is smothering the sprouting vitality of democracy and freedom on Africa's Historical, political, economical and cultural landscape.
This the African people will have to do as a united people, i.e., to drag the stiflers of their lives down to earth for a corrective tussle. A little wrestle on the sands never killed a sturdy youth. I expect that this will help the sprouting democracy redirect and control their sprouting democracy and freedom into a modern and thriving society, culture and all its naturally acquired wares to their own benefit enhancement and upliftment. African people in this article will be drawn to the act that they need to cure themselves from 'colonial hangover' (Colonial setlamatlama).
The showing and writing about African culture, customs, traditions, languages and crafts will help and enable Africans to begin to see their selves not as "tribes", but as nations which are one and the same, and are made up of various and diverse, but the same culture, customs, traditions and practices and languages,which are not different customary and cultural practices as has been heretofore trumpeted by their detractors: This has been in such a way as to try to dismantle and debase the Nguni People's cultural mosaic. Let controversy rage; may it stimulate creative discussion...! "Ha eye Tau!(Let the Lion loose)
Mind Bending And Soul Wrenching Accessories
Education As Key
For the [past 500 plus-years], therefore, the world has been ruled/molded in the image and likeness of Europe. European history now becomes world history and the European experience now becomes the universal experience. One of the primary weapons Europeans have used to ossify, perpetuate, and maintain the myth and Big Lie of European supremacy, invincibility, and originality coterminous with the myth/Big Lie of African's inferiority and nothingness is education, albeit, miseducation. (Clarke)
I intend to use this Hub as an educational reference for those who would like to investigate some of the issues that will be raised herein. This will done so that a counter could furnished against those academic and writers of all stripes trying to tell the world about Africans in South Africa, without really contacting them, living in their places of domicile, nor knowing very much about the African communities and the Nation of Africans in South Africa as a whole.
Paulo Freire reminds us, "What these educators are calling dialogical is a process that hides the true nature of dialogue as a process of learning and knowing. ...Understanding dialogue as a process of learning and knowing establishes a previous requirement that always involves an epistemological curiosity about the very elements of the dialogue."
Freire reminds us that, "The awakening of critical consciousness leads the way to the expression of social discontents precisely because these discontents are real components of an oppressive situation." But as noted in the paragraph above, these knowledgeable persons who talk about Africans, cull their information form Apartheid's ideological projection of Africans, and from their own assessments which do not jive with the reality of Africans in South Africa.
We need to remember that beginning from the times of bombs, guns, bulldozers and brutal tortures, that the Europeans brought along with them when first colonizing Africans, Africans faced daily displays of state violence, beat downs on their bodies, with Apartheid operating with impunity through overt and covert political, economical, social and religious violence — conventional and counter insurgency warfare, forced removals, assassinations, "disappearances", detention and torture -as well as through myriad forms of "structural violence."
Under the weight of this oppression, and the gaze of psychological surveillance that had previously pathologized the African mind as an object of White consciousness was reversed, African people had to 'cope' and still hoping and surviving the constant and age-old onslaught on their humanity and human rights and freedom of expression and to live as a sovereign nation. In the 1970s a counterpoint to the destructive power of sovereign violence was secured into place.
Euro-colonial education was designed to produce people who would participate in the process of colonial rule; people who would participate in the process of their own oppression and in the oppression of their own fellow colonized people (neocolonialism); moreover "colonized schooling was education for subordination, exploitation, the creation of mental confusion, and the development of underdevelopment," powerlessness and dependency. Africans are re-living this horror in manifold ways today under the ANC-elected government. It also reinforced the "notion of privilege" and the "notion of alienation" (divide and conquer).
In other words, colonial and neocolonial education ossified the psychological dependency complex of the African colonized/oppressed to the extent that in the era of "flag independence," the African "wasn't preparing to be a sovereign nation" but instead was only "preparing" to imitate his slave master's ruling of a nation(Clarke). The condition of the people of African descent is testament to the statements made above.
Ipso facto, Africans not only: ...take for granted the validity, truth, and superiority of the culture of the (European) colonizer but )also) assume that the behaviors, culture, values, life-styles, moral preferences and definitions of morality of the colonized as invalid, wrong, false, or inferior... (Moreover, they) have been infected and conditioned to invalidate and reject their own culture, value and philosophical individuality ...
[They] tend to evaluate their behaviors in terms of whether or not they are acceptable to (European) colonizer. (They accept) the colonizer as the standard …[and] crave to be like their colonizers ... Clarke wryly adds: "European scholarship has darkened "The True Light of African History" and as a result we are brain-dead, brain damaged, and culturally comatose. What African people need to do as we are now in the 21 century is to de-Europeanize, de-mystify, detoxify, and de-brainwash their subconscious mind of this invisible drug called Eurocentric miseducation. In this way we can relocate our subconscious mind-set to its original locus/reference point - Mother Africa."
Prof. Clarke warns that: " ...We have to realize that education has but one honorable purpose ... one alone ... everything else is a waste of time: that is to train the student to be a proper handler of power. Being Black and beautiful means nothing until ultimately your Black and powerful. The world is ruled by power, not Blackness and beauty ..." I also add that power on behalf of an Imperial or deep pocketed Capitalist of Corporate potentates, is not power at all. So long as the education of African children and African society is not in their control, and is controlled by others, they will remain not only slaves and chained people, but also second hand poor copies of their masters. It would advisable to learn some thoughts and ideas about education from Jose Marti who writes:
1. Instruction is not the same as education: the former refers to thought, the latter principally to feelings. Nevertheless, there is no good education without instruction. Moral qualities rise in price when they are enhanced by qualities of intellect.
2. Popular education does not mean education of the poorer classes exclusively, but rather that all classes in the nation-tantamount to saying the people-be well educated. Just as there is no reason why the rich are educated and not the poor, what reason is there for the poor to be educated and not the rich? They are all the same.
3. He who knows more is worth more. To know is to possess. Coins are minted, knowledge is not. Bonds or paper money are worth more, or less, or nothing; knowledge always has the same value, and it is always high. a rich man needs money with which to live, but he can lose it and then he no longer has the means of living. An instructed man lives from his knowledge, and since he carries it with him, he never loses it and his existence is easy and secure.
4. The Happiest nation is the one whose sons have the best education, both in instruction of thought and the direction of feelings. An instructed people loves work and knows who to derive profit from it. A virtuous people will live a happier and richer life than another that is filled with vices, and will better defend itself from all attacks.
5. Every man when he arrives upon tis earth, has a right to be educated, and then in, in payment, the duty to contribute to the education of others.
6. An ignorant people can be deceived by superstition and become servile. An instructed people will always be strong and free. An ignorant man is on his way to becoming a beast, and a man instructed in knowledge and conscience is on his way to being a god. one must not hesitate to choose between a nation of gods and a nation of beasts. the best way to defend our rights is to know them well; in so doing one has faith and strength; every nation will be unhappy in proportion to how poorly educated ate its inhabitants. A nation of educated men will always be a nation of free men. Education is the only means of being saved from slavery. A nation enslaved to men of another nation is as repugnant as being enslaved to the men of one's own.
That is why the writing of this Hub is important in that it attempts to bring to the fore-front of Human World history, respect for and knowledge about African South Africans and their history, customs, tradition, languages, practices and rites more serious and respect that it deserves. The intention of this Hub is to earn that knowledge and respect of Africans and their being recognized as a Nation. Education, which is now in decrepit state, needs to be addressed promptly and thoroughly otherwise Africans will remain enslaved, as Jose Marti so expertly observed: "A nation enslaved to men of another nation is as repugnant as being enslaved to the men of one's own." It is also important to note how "Ubuntu" is displaced by "Alienation" which we will explore below
Ubuntu! Botho! The Act of Being a Human Being
"Paulo Freire connects the thoughts of Professor Clarke above by writing: 'While the problem of humanization("Ubuntu'?), has always, from an axiological point of view, been human kind's central problem, it now takes on the character of an inescapable concern. ...Within history, in concrete, objective contexts, both humanization and dehumanization are possibilities for a person as an uncompleted being conscious of their incompletion. Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human.
This distortion occurs within history; but it is not a historical vocation. Indeed, to admit of dehumanization as a historical vocation would lead either to cynicism or total despair. The struggle for humanization, for emancipation of labor, for the overcoming of alienation, for the affirmation of men and women as persons would be meaningless.
This struggle is possible only because dehumanization, although a concrete historical fact, is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors,which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed. It is very important that Education should be revamped and looked anew-education of a nation should be controlled and be in the hands of those whose interests it serves, and in this case, it should be controlled by and serve the interests of African South Africans.
One of the thrusts of this Hub is to essentially talk about the dehumanization that Fromm is talking about above. As has been noted in the other Hubs written about the lives of Africans under Apartheid. In this instance, one constant feature is the denigration and dehumanization of Africans in South Africa for the past centuries, and the modus operandi towards nation building is for them to decolonize, deprogram, de-colonize themselves, as Clarke has pointed out above.
It is absolutely clear that the majority have been denied decent education and respectable humanity, and with the advent of an incompetent ANC-led government, we have and are witnessing the disappearance of several generations engulfed by ignorance, poverty, mental diseases[of which these are on the rise as we speak] — carried from the past[as dictated by Apartheid], and present, of course the future, as it is now being set up by the ANC.
The ANC-led government is failing in its tasks to help educate the Africans masses because of the encroaching state and centralized control which is aggressively being pushed by foreign monied interests and governments (You can read the book "Confessions of the Economic Hitman" on this subject of operatives, governments and corporations in other countries).
The root of the problems now facing African South Africans in education was the appointment of the intellectually weak Sibusiso Bengu and the blustering Ideologue, Kader Asmal, They introduced "Outcome-based" education, and as they did so, both had no clue how to begin to overcome the effects of Apartheid's eduactional legacy and its effects on Africans, and they have no idea what needs to be done for the present state of education amongst Africans today.
Jose Marti writes: "The general happiness of a nation rests upon the individual independence of its inhabitants. A free nation is the result of free settlers. Honorable and durable nations are not made out for men who cannot live for themselves but are attached to a leader who favors, uses, or abuses them. Whoever desires an enduring nation aids in establishing his country's affairs so that each man may work in active labor applicable to a personal and independent situation. Let every man learn to make something which other need…" What, then, we have here is a situation turned on its head.
The present leaders in South Africa do not adhere to the maxims above, instead they have seriously embarked on to the road of corruption, greed, nepotism, cronyism, cabals, demagoguery, being imperial lackeys, fostering of community and social underdevelopment and impoverishment of their fellow being who form the bulk of the nation of South Africa: Africans! Erich Fromm describes this condition as follows:
"Reason is man's faculty for grasping the world by thought, in contradiction to intelligence, which is man's ability to manipulate the world with the help of thought.
"Reason is man's instrument for arriving at the truth, intelligence is man's instrument for manipulating the world more successfully; the former is essentially human, the latter belongs to the animal part of man."
This has been denied to Africans in South Africa since the coming of the Dutch seafarers/colonialists, and in the present day Democracy they have yet to be achieved and realized. That is why the Africans in South Africa today are saying that, "We wanted Freedom and they gave us Democracy."
The masses in South Africa are attached to leaders who 'favors, uses,or abuses them.' Although we know for a fact that, 'man will arrive at the truth, intelligence as their instrument for manipulating the world more successfully,' as in the case of the poor African majority eventually will, the very negative actions of their own elected government is constantly making them feel alienated, and social security a remote possibility, they will always feel oppressed and suppressed.
Erich Fromm informs us that:
"By alienation it is meant mode of experience in which the person experiences himself as an alien. He has become, one might say, estranged from himself. He does not experience himself as the center of his world, as the creator of his own acts — but his acts and their consequences have become his masters, whom he obeys, or whom he may even worship.
"The alienated person is out of touch with himself as he is out of touch with any other person. He, like the others, are experienced as things are experienced; with the senses and with common sense, but at the same time without being related to oneself and to the world outside positively.
"Africans are experiencing alienated life in contemporary South Africa as something that is not connected to them The 'elite' who rule over the dominated African majority, makes one wonder if these educated persons are actually equipped to face the real ordeal before them or unconsciously contribute to their own undoing by perpetuating the regime of the oppressor. "(Woodson)
This attitude of being blocked at every turn can be traced by taking a critical and seriously in-depth look at African South African history and culture and its meaning in the African society. This means that Africans need to learn and teach, control and design for themselves their education and culture, as they understand and know it and disseminate it throughout their people and a nation-as they see fit.
Erich Fromm informs us as follows:
"The basic entity of the social process is the individual, just as to understand the individual we must see him in the context of the culture that molds him [this we will look at in-depth below]. To understand the dynamics of the social process we must understand the dynamics of the psychological processes operating within the individual, just as to understand the individual, we must see him in the context of the culture which molds him.
"Modern man, freed from the bonds of pre-individualistic society, which simultaneously gave him security and limited him, has not gained freedom in the positive sense of the realization of his individual self; that is, the expression of his intellectual, emotional and sensuous potentialities.
"Freedom, though it has brought him independence and rationality, has made him isolated and, thereby, anxious and powerless. This isolation is unbearable and the alternatives he is confronted with are either to escape from the burden of his freedom into new dependencies and submission, or to advance to the full realization of positive freedom which based upon the uniqueness and individuality of man.
."…After centuries of struggles, man succeeded in building an undreamed-of wealth of material goods; he built democratic societies in parts of the world, and recently was victorious in defending himself against new totalitarian schemes(Hitlers debacles); yet, modern man still is anxious and tempted to surrender his freedom to dictators of all kinds, or to lose it by transforming himself into a small cog in the machine, well fed, and well clothed, yet not free man but an automaton."
This can be seen amongst the newly enriched Africans, albeit they be few in number compared to the whole African population.
Under the weight of this oppression, the gaze of psychosocial surveillance that previously had pathologized the African mind as an object of White consciousness was reversed. I have touched a bit on this mindset and set of social relations that were part of the reality of South Africa from 1652 up to De Klerk's rule, above. In the 1970s, and as the single most prominent disciplinary counterpoint to the destructive power of sovereign violence, Biko's Black Consciousness(BC) emerged to motivate an African Personality. Bantu instructs thus: "In my opinion, it is not necessary to talk about African culture."
However, [in the light of the above statements], one realizes that there is so much confusion sown, not only amongst casual non-African readers, but even amongst Africans themselves, that perhaps a sincere attempt should be made at emphasizing the authentic cultural aspect of the African people by the Africans themselves. Since that unfortunate date - 1652 - we have been experiencing a process of acculturation. It is perhaps presumptuous to call it "acculturation" because this term implies a fusion of different cultures. In our case, this fusion has been extremely one-sided.
"The two major cultures that met and 'fused' were the African culture and the Anglo-Boer Culture. Whereas the African culture was unsophisticated and simple, the Anglo-Boer culture had all the trappings of a colonialist culture and therefore was heavily equipped for conquest."
It is better we know concretely what took place in South Africa and its colonization. As Biko says, the fusion of cultures was one-sided, and there never was 'acculturation' taking place in South Africa. It was and it is still a one way street-with Africans being disadvantaged by that 'fusion'.
"Where they could, they conquered by persuasion, using a highly, exclusive religion that denounced all other Gods and demanded a strict code of behavior with respect to clothing, education ritual and custom. Where it was impossible to convert, fire-arms were readily available and use to advantage. Hence, the Anglo-Boer culture was the more powerful culture in almost all facets.
"This is where the African began to lose a grip on himself.These oppressive and depressive laws and rules imposed on Africans have had some untold miseries and deadly effects over time. African people today need to know how and when were these policies imposed and forced on them and how and why they worked and are still working today."
While acknowledging that not all oppressed persons were equally subject to the alienating effects of Apartheid, which are the same as Erich Fromm explained his take on "alienation," which is in par with Biko and BC's focus on how it[alienation] insinuated itself into subjectivity meant that all African people themselves constituted the pathology, and therefore that their cure demanded rehabilitation of the entire social body. Manganyi characterized the ordinary African as a "psychological paraplegic" as he wrote: "...in the African experience there was over time developed a sociological schema of Black body prescribed by White Standards."
"The prescribed attributes of this sociological schema has, as we should know by now, been entirely negative. It should be considered natural under these circumstances for an individual Black person to conceive of his body image as something, something which paradoxically must be kept at a distance outside of one's self so to speak."
In this instance, the disrespect of Africans was set in motion and has lasted the last more or less 360+ years. As I have noted above, this opened the flood gates of disrespect for Africans in South Africa that is still going on to this day, inside South Africa, under ANC rule .
It is important to keep in mind that what is needed now for Africans in South Africa is a whole social and psychiatric help for the needy and poor Africans now undergoing a seriously deadly siege of their humanity and existence as a people. Biko and Fromm inform us as to how this "alienation" was foisted onto the people, the outcome of that insidious action and , as have been pointed out in this hub, is adversely affecting Africans in South Africa as a Colonialism which is presenting itself, amongst the African collective, as post-Colonial Mental disorders. It is therefore important we cull from the existing but decimated culture and raise it up in order to learn from it.
Modern South African African Culture:
Thumb-Nail Sketch of The Nguni/Bakone's Culture/Custom, tradition and Practices
There is there rampant belief that Africans in South Africa have no culture, no understanding of it and are essentially, culturally speaking, Europeans in Black skins who happen to be the indigenous or natives of South Africa. The term "Native" is used here to denote the original inhabitants of the part of Africa now called South Africa. There was and there still is the culture of Africans in South Africa.
Biko writes as follows on this issue:
"One of the most difficult things to do these days is to talk with authority on anything to do with African[South African] culture. Somehow, Africans are not expected to have any deep understanding of their own culture or even of themselves. Other people have become authorities on all aspects of African life or to be more accurately BANTU life[as has already be stated above]. Thus we have the thickest of volumes on some of the strangest subjects - even "the feeding habits of the Urban Africans"., a publication by a fairly "liberal" group, Institute of Race Relations.
"As an inward-looking process, expanded the meaning of violence to include sociological and ideological factors which they identified as destroying the authenticity of African people and undermining African's pride and dignity. He, Biko, then made this appeal: '... to come to himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse himself with pride and dignity; to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth."
If this is what Biko was saying about Africans under Apartheid, this has worsened now under the ANC-led government: they have made their African people who voted them into power, into "psychological Paraplegics". In fact, the present-day African South Africans are getting the worst end of the national deal. Most people complain about the rate of mental diseases that are now a common theme. Disrespect has now become the norm, and the mantra of "dog-eats-dog" has become embedded into the cultural consciousness of the Africans in South Africa and in their national existence and conversations to the detriment of their authentic culture, customs, traditions, history, rites and practices.
One thing that should be noted here earlier on is the fact that, "Inhlonipho"(in Zulu) or "Hlompho" in Sotho (Respect) is no more heeded nor the norm today, yet it is the basis of the concept of "Ubuntu". Not only is one recognized as a human being and acknowledged as one, but that any human is to be treated with utmost 'Respect' as a human being and part of the human family. This is part of the customary practices of the African culture of South Africa; the Anglo-Boer coalition made sure that they dismantled that part of the customary practices of African culture.
"Thus, in taking a look at cultural aspects of the African people, one inevitably find himself having to compare. This is primarily because(talking about respect and culture), of the contempt that the "superior culture" shows towards the indigenous culture. To justify its exploitative basis the Anglo-Boer culture has at all times been directed at bestowing an inferior status to all cultural aspects of the indigenous people.
"I am against the belief that African culture is time-bound, the notion that with the conquest of the African, all his culture was obliterated. I am also against the belief that when one talks of African culture one is necessarily talking of the pre-Van Riebeeck culture. Obviously the African culture has had to sustain severe blows and may have been battered nearly out of shape by the belligerent culture it collided with."
Yet in essence, even today, one can easily find the fundamental aspects of the pure African culture, which Bantu points out that the culture was never "'time bound' nor stagnant," as will be discussed in brevity below.
Religion: Biko decries the fact that Westerners had an aggressive mentality. ...He dismisses and draws a sharp line between the natural and supernatural and non-rational as superstition... Africans being a pre-scientific people do not recognize any conceptual cleavage between the natural and supernatural. They experience a situation rather than face a problem. By this I mean they allow both the rational and non-rational elements to make an impact upon them, and any action they may take could be described more as a response of the total personality to the situation than the result of some mental exercise.
We as a community are prepared to accept that nature will have its enigmas which are beyond our powers to solve. Many people have interpreted this attitude as lack of initiative and drive; yet, in spite of my belief in the strong need for scientific experimentation, I cannot help feeling that more time also should be spent in teaching man and man to live together, and that perhaps, the African personality with its attitude of laying less stress on power and more stress on man is well on the way to solving our confrontation problems."
Biko continues to add:
"All people are agreed that Africans are a deeply religious race. In the various forms of worship that one found throughout the Southern part of our Continent there was at least a common basis. We all accepted without any doubt the existence of a God. We had our own community of saints. We believed — and this was consistent with our views of life — that all people who died add a special place next to God. We felt that a communication with God, could only be through these people (Amadlozi/Badimo - my addition).
"We never knew anything about 'Hell' - We do not believe that God could create people only to punish them eternally after a short period on earth. Another aspect of religious practices was the occasion of worship. We did not believe that religion could be featured as a separate part of our existence. ...
"We thanked God through our ancestors before we drank beer, married, worked, etc. We would find it artificial to create special occasions for worship; that is why we did not see it logical to have a particular building in which all worship would be conducted. We believed that God was in communication with us and therefore merited attention everywhere and anywhere."
We learn from Biko that the missionaries were the ones who confused the African people with their brand of religion..Biko writes: "By some strange logic, they argued that theirs was a scientific religion and ours was mere superstition in spite of the biological discrepancies so obvious in the basis of their religion. They further went on to preach a theology of the existence of "Hell," scaring our fathers and mothers with stories about burning in eternal flames and gnashing of teeth and grinding of bone. This cold religion was strange to us but our fore-fathers were sufficiently scared of the unknown impending anger to believe that it was worth a try. Down went our central values!"
Biko takes some time to make a point as to the nature and characteristic of "Modern African Culture, as it functions as a culture within the realm of European culture, and as it holds its own 'concepts' of itself as an authentic culture. Although some European scholars and scholarship pontificate about the fact that African culture is dead and non-existent, Bantu has this to say about all these issues: 'Yet it is difficult to kill the African heritage and culture. There remains, in spite of the superficial cultural similarities between the 'detribalized' and the Westerner, a number of cultural characteristics that mark out the detribalized as an African.
"I am not here making a case for separation on the basis of cultural differences. I am sufficiently proud to believe that under a normal situation, Africans can comfortably stay with people of other cultures and be able to contribute to the joint cultures of these communities they have joined. However, what I want to illustrate here is that even in a pluralistic society like ours, there are still some cultural traits that we can boast of which have been able to withstand the process of the deliberate bastardization. These are aspects of the Modern African Culture - a culture that has also used concepts from the White world to expand on inherent cultural characters."
Biko expands on these 'inherent cultural characters' in the following manner: "Thus we see that in the area of music, the African still expresses himself with conviction. The craze about jazz arises out of a conversion by the African Artists on mere notes to meaningful music, expressive of real feelings. The [monkey Jive, soul, Mbaqanga, Scathamiya, Mohobelo, etc], some are peersuing a fusion of either purely African music, are some aspects of a modern type African culture that expresses the same original feelings.
"Solos like Booker T and the MGs, soul stars of the '60s and 70s, a little Elvis Presley Pat Boone, Otis Redding, Brook Benton, James Brown, etc., all of them find expression within the African culture because it is not in us to listen passively to pure musical notes. Yet when soul struck with its all-engulfing rhythm, it immediately caught on and set hundreds of millions of black bodies in gyration throughout the world," (the same goes for Kwaito and Rap Music, today in South Africa-my insertion).
"These were people reading in soul the real meaning — the defiant "Say It Loud! I'm Black and I'm proud!" This was fast becoming our modern culture. A culture of defiance, self-assertion and group pride and solidarity. This is a culture that emanates from a situation of common experience of oppression. Just as it now finds expression in our music and our dress(see photo gallery), it will spread to other aspects This is the new and modern Black culture, to which Africans have given a major contribution; this is the modern Black culture that is responsible for the restoration of their faith in themselves and therefore offers a hope in the direction Africans in South Africa are taking from here.
The concept of a modern African South African culture is at the heart of this Hub. What I am saying here is that it has been too long , as has been tabulated above, that Africans have been told that they are non-persons. But, as far as this Hub is concerned that is not true, and was never the right perception and the reality and existence of the culture of Africans as has been pointed out by our detractors, that African culture does not exist and died a long time ago-is false and a lie. No, it is not dead and has never died.
If one were to look at the Photo Gallery pictures, those that show the 10(ten) peoples or different groups that make the Nguni/Bakone Nation in South Africa, this Hub introduces the reality and fact that, if one were to look at the dresses, dances, Languages, initiation pageants, cultural festive performances, arts and crafts, houses and housing decorations, beads, different colors and the unity displayed throughout all of the material culture of Africans in South Africa
Events and performances, care and comfort, also entertainment of the tourists, visitors and the like are all greeted and welcomed to South Arica in the spirit of "Ubuntu" of the African people, can be seen as one united nations of Mzantsi: One or "Simunye"/"Re ngatana"/"Sisonke"(We are one People, one community and society; everyone who reads through this hub will be enlightened and will be enabled to get a birds-eye view of one nation of African people of South Africa - the Nguni/Bakone People-the 9(Nine) peoples, as has never been presented-like before.
South African Traditional Culture And Custom: Simunye: Re Ngatana - We are One
This Hub asserts that African South Africans have been under various forms of enslavement throughout their existence in South Africa. What I have attempted in the photo gallery is to present a small picture of the various clans or nations of South Africa, namely, the Zulus, Basotho, BaPedis, The Xhosas, The Batswana, Vendas or Tsongas, Shagaans, Swazis and Ndebele's Khoi-San, dressed in the regal gabardine of their clans, and if one looks at them closely, one cannot fail to see and recognize one people.
This concerns and relates to the way they wear and design their clothes; their dances, the type of drums they use; the music and singing[their musical styles can be heard on live365.com/stations/djtot12/]; their making of beads, arts and crafts, as pastoralists and settled communities, the architecture of their houses is similar, and so are their languages, customs, culture, traditions and practices: is diverse and one and the same.
The photos are many, but the lesson is presented in such a way as to show the culture of the Africans of South Africa in its fulness[length, breadth and depth], beauty and dignity: sameness. If one were to casually read the short captions written by people who really do not know them on the Internet, one gets a disjointed picture of "TRiBES". Indeed, where European and American scholars had argued that there were many different and disconnected cultures in South Africa. so they decided to tell us we are "Tribes" and are different, so that we cannot even become one united nation
Diop talks about the varieties of African experiences that they "gravitate around a single matrilineal center like some massive magnet pulling the pieces together into one coherent whole." His argument unfolds on the basis of linguistic, philosophical, and cultural evidence. Whereas, his cohort, Theophile Obenga and other African scholars have already used a "macro" approach to African history, and that the assertions and arguments and ideas are political or not have been considered political minimized the impressive scientific work accomplished by both scholars.
But the debate over the nature of the scientific evidence is often reduced to an argument over the political nature of science itself. Of course, Diop and Obenga would object, as other scholars have done, to the "micro" studies that tend to view African societies or civilizations as dis-embodied,disconnected, isolated, discreet, and detached entities with no organic relationship to any other societies or civilizations. The two gentlemen above encourage most African scholars to examine phenomena with all of the instruments at their disposal.
This might mean linguistic, anthropological, historical, ceremonial, oral tradition or mythic evidences and so forth, will have to fully vetted and interrogated extensively.
Diop debunks the established perspective that Africans are "tribes" because their being to referred as "tribes", meant that they stopped developing, and that these cultures are different and not related to one another in any way whatsoever. So that, from the get go, this Hub rejects the usage of the world "Tribe" as it is applied to describe the national entities that form the Nguni/Bakone people. I will only use the term, "tribe" whenever I am citing from someone who uses it, but will put it in quotations marks. Otherwise, I will interchange the names between clan, but preferably nations will be used more consistently…
The Crisis of Tradition and Identity
In the latter half of the Twentieth century, most African societies were struggling to resolve conflicts between the forces of tradition and change(foisted upon them by Colonization). In contrast to Westerners who found their societies mercilessly ravaged by the Industrial Revolution a few generations earlier, contemporary Africans are now more self-aware and conscious of the revolution restructuring their lives.
Defining ways of life that will unite the technologies and material advantages of the present age with the precious heritage of African cultures is an urgent problem, perhaps the most urgent of all is in contemporary Africa. Both rapidly growing metropolitan centers and rural African villages teemed with anticipation and excitement about the future.
But there was also a desire to preserve esteemed traditions. Most Africans were witnessing in their own lifetime a revolution of society and culture whose proportions were potentially Copernican; and the specter of such radical change produced its own antithesis, an intense struggle for [historical/cultural] continuity in the midst of change.
This dialectical tension between [historical/cultural] continuity and transformation, this concern for assimilating the best of an emerging world culture without in turn being assimilated by it — in short, this juxtaposition of how deeply it was felt but partially compatible desires — was the dynamic of social change in contemporary Africa.
This will help us clarify as to why this Hub is so long, and why the information applied herein is important as it stands, because the time and nature of the imposed assimilation on Africans has been going on in South Africa close to four centuries. So that, what will be needed is an in-depth historical and cultural accounting and auditing. When this Hub is published, its aims were to cover every culture and of South African Africans, it will still be elongated in the future giving other well researched cultures, custom, traditions, languages of those of the 10(ten) peoples not included herein, as of yet. That part of the other cultures is still being prepared at this juncture, and only a few are discussed herein.
Urbanization has also transformed many African societies. Throughout the continent, men have migrated to cities in search of employment, motivated in part by the centripetal pull of urban life and in part by the need for cash to send back home to the villages. In the villages, the men's absence created dislocations, modifying patterns of societal organization, and requiring redefinitions of moral codes and adjustment to culture, customs, traditions, languages and practices. For the men themselves, employment and urban life required the playing of roles that exacerbated alienation from traditional values. So that, traditional rural men were turned into city people, and the villages were altered and changed by their absence.
Even as unskilled laborers participating marginally in the affairs of the city, they acquired new conceptions of time, of work, of social relations with colleagues and kinsmen, and much more. Since the migrations are temporary or seasonal, the return of workers to rural communities became an additional force for change.They brought along with the them ways and mores of city life back to their villages, thus effecting permanent change to the way of life(culture, traditions, etc.), within their respective communities, and changed them forever. This we must take note of.
When families followed the men to the cities, the scope of Africa's social and psychological revolution expanded even further, and we begin to see and admixture of rural African cultural, traditional, linguistic and new cultural modal and lifestyles, superseded by the European Western Cultures; thus, we have what we an "urbanized African South African", and a morphed village or rural-cum-semi-urbane African", thus Creating a"two-ness" that has been discussed within this Hub. This 'two-ness' is partly what Du Bois talked about in relation to African Americans and their two-nessness' embedded in them)
The forces for change are everywhere much the same, but their impact on individuals varies considerably. For some, the erosion of traditional life portends an optimistic future. Freed from the constraints of tradition and orientated toward a different world(the Western form), that the members of this vanguard(Africans pro Western civilization) welcomes the opportunity for new political and cultural destinies.
To others(African cultural conservatives), however the possibility of change is fearful. Almost instinctively, these individuals realize that the experience they have acquired over a lifetime will count for little should the time-honored ways of life disappear. Backed by their conservatism, many of the traditional societies are putting up a determined and extraordinary fight for survival.
Attachments to the old orders are strong(as can be seen on the picture gallery, where-in I show-off the traditional, cultural, customary, dress, arts and crafts of the different nine to ten groups of the South African nations), and that of Mapungubwe, that in the final analysis, even highly acculturated individuals are often ambivalent about new values which threaten to displace ancient and venerable traditions. This point is a common lore in the discourse of Africans about the way those Africans who extol the virtues of Western superiority, but clandestinely steal away and find their way to the respectable cultures, traditions, languages and the whole bit.
We pick up a more cogent and succinct explanation of African culture in its entirety from Cheik Ana Diop who writes:
"The historical factor is the cultural cement that unifies the disparate elements of a people to make them a whole, by the particular slant of the feeling of historical continuity lived by the totality of the collective. It is the historical conscience thus engendered that allows a people to distinguish itself from a population, whose elements, by definition, are foreign, one from the other: the population of a large city market is composed of foreign tourists who come from the five continents and who do not have any cultural bond with each other.
"The historical conscience, through the feeling of cohesion that it creates, constitutes the safest and the most solid shield of cultural security for a people. This is why every people seeks only to know and to live their true history well, to transmit its memory to their descendants. The essential thing, for people, is to rediscover the thread that connects them to their most remote ancestral past.
"In the face of cultural aggression of all sorts, in the face of all disintegrating factors of the outside world, the most efficient cultural weapon with which a people can arm itself is this feeling of historical continuity. This erasing, the destruction of the historical conscience also has been since time began part of the techniques of colonization, enslavement, and debasement of the African peoples."
The passage below by M. Peyronnet, cited by Georges Hardy, is proof of this:
"There is a subject I would like see disappearing without regret [from the program of our African schools] declares M. Peyronnet , senator from Allier, in a recent article in the Annales Coloniales: it is History. A few reading during the French course would be enough to give them the notion of our country's power. ... There is an even simpler way to give a clear idea of our strength to the native youth, which is to decorate the classroom with the intertwined manigolos and to set a miniature 75 mm cannon on the teacher's desk.
"This, by itself, in some measure and for a given period of time, can replace history; but one should not forget that people very quickly get used to scarecrows: the sparrows end up making their nests in the pockets of the gentlemen who gesticulate in the cherry trees." Diop Adds:
"It is these possibilities of cultural aggression, linked to the vital importance of this subject matter, that have led the developing nations coming out of the colonial night, such as South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, etc., to make the teaching of history a national activity. In any case, the teaching of this material must particularly hold attention of the state."(Diop) In present-day South Africa, this is not the case.
"Social and cultural transformation, because all aspects of a system do not change in synchronicity, produces dislocations and conflicts. Individuals who live in the midst of change must develop ways to cope with the inevitable conflicts if their lives are not to be consumed and destroyed by the change process. A common way of dealing with such conflicts is maintaining a stance of compartmentalizing one's thoughts and actions."
Keeping each thing in its proper place, and not trying to resolve all the conflicts, is proving to be a successful modus vivendi for many Africans in adapting to the contemporary world, a mode which works reasonably well when connections among the many spheres in which individuals operate are maintained and when movement among them is possible.The breaking down of African culture above was not completed, and the present fledgling culture has the promise of a new and better future, anchored on the pillars of the past culture, which barely exist, but though barely fully functional, needs to be heeded and utilized by Africans.
Sociocultural changes raise inevitable questions about traditional identities and their relevance in altered environments, and, in many parts of the African continent, uniformities in the patterns can be discerned. This is one of the main thrusts of this Hub, although its focus is mainly within the South African African cultural/traditional, historical and linguistic orb, it also gives a thumb-nail sketch of other aspects of African reality and survival a much deeper look.
Traditional religions of small scale are giving way to membership of Christian and Islamic sects, which in turn become new bases of loyalty which crosscut traditional ethnic, language, and even national boundaries, and in most cases to the detriment of Africans themselves. The once relatively standardized cultural and traditional life cycles of many African societies are giving way to a myriad of new careers-foisted upon them by western civilization and its concomitant, accessories and intellectual condiments, for which both share only a few similarities with one another.
Migration to urban areas, even if only for short periods of time, has itself made Africans more aware of the cultural differences and sameness among themselves, along with many similarities and commonness embedded within their variegated cultures-yet one culture. But a new and free South African should be able to learn from his/her culture that these differences and similarities are but a matter of the 'degree' not acute difference, but sameness, i.e., in relation to their cultures-they(Africans of Mzantsi) are one folk. For individuals and for societies, such changes often precipitates crises of identity. This is the perplexing existential and precarious methods of coping that is a conundrum and causes of social dysfunction for the African peoples of South Africa today. This is what this Hub will deal with below.
Clarifying the Cultural Material Cement
The Historical Prognosis
Diop writes: "For every individual his or her own cultural identity is a function of that of his or her people. Consequently, one must define the cultural identity of a people. This means, to a great extent, one must analyze the components of the collective personality. The historical factor is the "cultural cement" that unifies disparate elements of a people to make them into a whole, by particular slant of the feeling of historical continuity lived by the totality of the collective."
For Africans to understand and rebuild and redefine their culture, Africans in South Africa need to study and understand the cultural material that is presented to them and are presently faced with in the post-neo colonial period. They should not only look at what's left of their past, but what does their left-over material culture has to offer and teach them about the themselves and their future, so long as they pay attention to the remnants of cultural indicators and the cultural material holistically, and as an aggregate, look at it in its entirety and present total historical/cultural manifestations, and what it does have to offer its charges as they deal with the future, in the 21st century.
Diop point out that: "It is the historical conscience thus engendered that allows a people to distinguish itself from a population, whose elements, by definition, are foreign, one from the other: the population of a large city market is composed of foreign tourists who come from five continents and who do not have any cultural bond with each other. This historical conscience, through the feeling of cohesion that it creates, constitutes the safest and the most solid shield of cultural security for a people.
"This is why every people seeks not to know and to live their true history, [culture and traditions] well, and be able to transmit its memory to their descendants. The essential thing for people is to rediscover the threads that connects them to their most remote ancestral past." This can be seen by all these Africans in South Africa who will look into the pictures in the picture gallery to help them realize the point just made by Diop. Also, to learn from such Hubs how coalesce around their own history/culture and make it work for them
"In the face of cultural aggression of all sorts, in the face of all disintegrating factors of the outside world, the most efficient cultural weapon with which a people can arm itself is this feeling of historical continuity," as Diop averred. The erasing and the destruction of the historical and cultural conscience also has been in existence since time began and was part of the technique of colonization, enslavement, and debasement of a people."
A second level, more general, further off in time and space and including the totality of African people, comprises the general history of Black Africa, insofar as research permits, restoring it today from a purely scientific approach will not be an easy task until information such as this one in this Hub can reach the vast majorities of South Africa and Africa, including the Western world, effectively and concretely: each history of the different clans of the 10(ten) peoples is thus pinpointed and correctly situated in relation to general historical coordinates and timeline within this Hub for the benefit of Africans and Westerners in the same manner. Thus, all the continent's history is reevaluated according to a new unitary standard suited to revive and to cement, on the basis of established fact, all of the inert elements of the ancient African historical mosaic.
Montesquieu wrote that: "As long as a conquered people has not lost its language, it can have hope because those languages are the unique common denominator of African history, and that they are characteristic of cultural identity par excellence." Some people say that Africa is a Tower of Babel, but this is not different from Europe which has 360 languages and dialects. Diop says that everyone knows that this superficial heterogeneity in Europe hides a kinship. Diop adds:
"If we speak today of a European linguistic unity, it is only at this profound level, released and restored to science by linguistic archeology.
"Otherwise the French, the English, the Germans, the Italians, the Rumanians,the Lithuanians, the Russians, etc., do not understand each other any more than the Zulus, Tswanas, Sothos, Pedis, Xhosas, Ndebelels, Shangaaans, Vendas/Tsongas, Wolof, The Bambara, the Hausa, etc., do.
"It is therefore a necessity that a duly conducted African linguistic research bring African people to experience deeply their linguistic unity, in the same way as Europeans have, in spite of the apparent superficial heterogeneity. The result obtained already allow us to undertake the cultural education and evaluation of the African consciousness in that sense."
"Africans would quickly discover, to their great surprise, that it is a typically Negro African language that has been the oldest written language in history of humanity. It began 5,300 years ago, in Egypt; Whereas the most ancient testimony to an Indo-European language (Hittite) goes back to the XVII Egyptian Dynasty(1470 BC), and this, probably under the influence of the political cultural domination of Asia Minor by Egypt. But this would take us too far.
"Let us only say that, all of a sudden, African linguistic research offers breathtaking possibilities to comparative linguistics and is about to reverse the traditional roles in this field. Be that as it may, it is through the study of the Egypto-Nubian languages that the historical dimension, up to now missing, is introduced in African Studies; the comparison that derives from it allows, with each passing day, reinforcement of the feeling of linguistic unity of the Africans, therefore the feeling of cultural identity and unity.
"The review of the historical and linguistic factors as constituent elements of cultural personality brings to light the necessity for a total recasting of the African program of education in the field discussed herein. and for a radical centering of these on Egypto-Nubia antiquity[including historical and cultural past of Mapungubwe]-in the case of South Africa, in the same way that the Western educational system has its foundation in the Greco-Latin antiquity: there is no [other]way more certain, more radical, more scientific, more sane and salutary to reinforce the African cultural personality and, consequently, the cultural identity of Africans." (Diop)
Africans in South Africa should pay attention to the fact that since they still retain their nine languages, as we center and suture them around the Egyptian linguistic history, they should also learn how to link and fuse them into one "Nguni/Bakone Dialect" by interfusing and transplanting important and historical linguistic utterances of the 9-(Nine) groups into one whole continuous robust linguistic unity. These 9 (Nine) language have common words found in each language and these can be used into forming a unified language for the purposes of linguistic continual cultural unity. I have written a sequel to this Hub and called it "History, Culture, Custom, Traditions and Practices of the Africans of South Africa: deconstructing Historical Amnesia" wherein I go into an in-depth look at the language and literature of Africans in South Africa in a much more expanded form.
Psychological and Cultural Invariants
The Egyptian civilization, with its grandiose art, entirely due to a Black(African) people, because we only want to stress the fact that the intellectual and psychological climate created by all the writings of this type, strongly conditioned the first definitions that the African thinkers of the period between the two World Wars, had tried to give to their culture. But today, in order to better grasp people's cultural identity, a scientific approach to the psychic factor can equally be tried.
For this, in the context of a socio-historical approach, one should try to answer the following questions: What are the psychological and cultural invariants that political and social revolutions, even the most radical ones, leave intact, not only among the people, but among the very leaders of the revolution? If one tries to answer such a question from the analysis of the historical conditioning of a given people and of the African peoples in general, one then already arrives at some results relatively better elaborated than before.
One realizes that this communicative gaiety, which goes back to the Galen's epoch, instead of being a permanent trait due to the result of the reassuring communally securing social structures that bog down our people in the present and in a lack of concern for tomorrow, in optimism, etc.-makes them seem stagnant and backward-looking; whereas individualistic social structures of the Indo-Europeans engender anxiety, pessimism, uncertainty about tomorrow, moral solitude, tension regarding that future, and all its beneficial effects on the material life, etc. Thus projecting as modern and progressive
Today, with the explosion everywhere in the world of these structures inherited from the past, we are witnessing a new moral and spiritual birth among peoples: a new African moral consciousness and a new national temperament are developing before our eyes, and unless the structures resist — and how could they? — This phenomenon of spiritual transformation of the people will become greater. Biko had set it in motion through Black(African) Consciousness Movement and thinking(Philosophy)
The cultural invariants we are talking about here are that the historical and linguistic factors constitute coordinates, quasi absolute reference points in relation to the permanent flux of psychic changes. In the work, approaching national building through recognition of their cultures, Africans stand a better chances of shaping, sharing and reformulating their futures. This, as has been observed above, can be found in the sequel to this Hub that I have already pointed out its title above.
The Deep and Excruciating Psychological Hurt
Recycling Apartheid: Western Civilization/Religion Negating African Culture
Biko writes: "The logic behind White domination is to prepare the Black man for the subservient role in this country. Not so long ago this used to freely said in parliament even about the educational system of the Black people, by the apartheid oppressors. It is still said even today, although in a much more sophisticated language. To a large extent the evil-doers have succeeded in producing at the output end of the machine a kind of Black man who is man only in form.
"But the type of Black man we have today has lost his manhood. Reduced to an obliging shell, he looks with awe at White power structure and accepts what he regards as the "inevitable position". Deep inside his anger mounts at the accumulating insult, but he vents it in the wrong direction on his fellow man in the township, on the property of Black people. ...
"In the privacy of his toilet his face twists in silent condemnation of White society but brightens up in sheepish obedience as he comes out hurrying in response to his master's impatient call. In the home-bound bus, taxi or train he joins the chorus that roundly condemns the White man but is first to praise the government in the presence of the police or his employers.
"His heart yearns for the comfort of White society and makes him blame himself for not having been "educated" enough to warrant such luxury. Celebrated achievements by Whites in the field of science - which he understands only hazily - serve to make him rather convinced of the futility of resistance and to throw away any hopes that change may ever come.
"All in all, the Black man has become a shell, a shadow of man, completely defeated, drowning in his own misery, a slave, an ox bearing the yoke of oppression with sheepish timidity ...This is the extent to which the process of dehumanization has advanced." It is as if Bantu is talking about the present-day Africans of South Africa and the condition, state and existence they find themselves mired-in."
Bantu continues to add: "This is the first truth, bitter as it may seem, that we have to acknowledge before we can start on any program designed to change the status quo. It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realize that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality. The first step therefore is to make the Black man come to himself; to pump back life into his empty sell; to infuse him with pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth. This is what we mean by an Inward-Looking process.
"This is the Definition of 'Black Consciousness'. One writer makes the point that in an effort to destroy completely the structures that had been built in the African society and to impose their imperialism with an unnerving totality the colonialists were not satisfied merely with holding a people in their grip and emptying the Native's brain of all form and content, they turned to the past of the oppressed people and distorted, disfigured and destroyed it.
"No longer was reference made to African culture, it became barbarism. Africa was the "Dark Continent" and religious practices, customs and practices were referred to as 'superstition'. The history of African Society was reduced to 'tribal' battles and internecine wars. There was no conscious migration by the people from one place of abode to another. No, it was always flight from one tyrant who wanted to defeat the 'tribe' not for any positive reason, but merely to wipe them out of the face of tis earth.
"No wonder the African child learns to hate his heritage in his days at school. So negative is the image presented to him that he tends to find solace in close identification with White society. ...A People without a positive history[and culture], is like a vehicle without an engine [or a body without a soul-my addition]. Their emotions cannot be easily controlled and channelled in a recognizable direction."
They always live in the shadow of a more successful society. Hence in a country like ours, they are forced to celebrate holidays like "Paul Kruger's Day, 'Heroes' day, 'Republic' day, etc., -all of which are occassions during which the humiliation defeat is at once revived." Africans are still forced to pay obeisance to their oppression by the present ANC-led government.
What we see today in South Africa has long been planted and well orchestrated. From the era of Bantu Education(which now seems better than the education of Africans in South Africa); to what I was just talking about in the paragraph prior, the so-called-model-C schools-and some mumbo jumbo Education blueprint and system today, both of which miseducate and confuse African children, are what has been displaced with exuberance by the Educational leaders, which ends up making people confused and ignorant.
When Apartheid set up Bantu Education, they were working towards ensuring that the African children remain left behind in comparison to their white counterparts; today, in looking at the African education, both in the townships and in the 'Model C' schools, its products and those of Bantu Education formats on steroids; the former are completely assimilated, and the latter were driven by a high level of political and social consciousness. African children, today, have a disdain for their African languages and culture, and they also have a penchant for the English language and culture, that in the long run, they have become a disruptive presence within their households and communities.
Parents are decrying the loss and lack of "Inhlonipho"/"Thlompho"-"Hlompho" (Respect) which the mostly 'Model C' display or regard with their sheer arrogance and dismissive attitudes that 'now' is their time' mantra, that the past was for those who lived it-and highly dismissive of the protocols of their African culture. In other words, what they see as 'freedom'(a la Born Frees).
Democracy, 'dead is Apartheid'('which, they ignorantly claim they have never experienced nor 'know-about''), and are 'psyched-out' by international Television, new and ever-changing emerging technologies, that they arrogantly gloat and act like their parents are the backwards people who do not even understand "White Culture", because these children trumpet the fact that they are attending the best white schools in the country, therefore they are better than their African cohorts(in the Townships and their parents and relatives and African community as a whole).
Reading Bantu's heavily quoted excerpt above , is like he was talking about South Africa today. What he talked about when he was writing in Frank Talk, is not only relevant today, but it really speaks to the confused and ahistorical Youth of South Africa about the things that they are doing today, believing and touting their present reality as if it's the first time that this has happened in South Africa for Africans.
What they are doing, they do not read Steven Bantu's Work, Mda, Robert Sobukwe's works in order to be able to supplement their becoming educated in present-day South Africa in an informed and positive historical and cultural perspective; and, also, and why it is that they are fighting with their elders, culture, customs and what it means being African-come to understand why, in historical terms, they are acting the way they do now, they cannot fathom that, nor can they wrap their heads as to why there is this continuous conflict with their own people-and they have become alienated(see the discourse on alienation above in the Hub)…
One thing that has been noted above is the fact that one of the important cultural pillars that Africans have been able to retain, was their languages. According to this notion, since African people were able to retain their culture by speaking and sticking to their language, and that this shows that the colonization of African was never complete nor successful, on that part of the European colonizers, and that, their history is deeply embedded within their mother tongues(African Languages), and if they could only understand this fact, they could use the language to upgrade their history.
African children today in South Africa converse in English, and most of them cannot spell nor write it cogently; neither are they intellectually functional to deal with their own history, culture, customs, traditions, languages and practices-in both English and heir own African languages. They are also finding it tough to speak and converse in their mother tongues(African Languages).
Yet, the reality remains hidden in plain sight. Africans in South Africa are still lagging behind in all areas. Little or nothing has changed much for them. One of the major obstacles faced by Africans today in South Africa are the proliferating different types of religious beliefs and institution. These have created a chasm amongst Africans, and many are confused as to what is happening to themselves spiritually as a society. Many are driven by desperation and poverty into some of these churches. There are many other reasons as to why many Africans are being fleeced, gauged and gypped by these "Fly-byNight" instant and mushrooming churches.
To better understand these religious shenanigans, we will refer to Bantu Biko who has written a little bit on this subject. Biko writes: "What of the White man's religion - Christianity? It seems the people involved in imparting Christianity to the Black people steadfastly refuse to get rid of the rotten foundation which many of the missionaries created when they came. To this day, Black people find no message for them in the Bible simply because our ministers are still too busy with moral trivialities.
"They blow these up as the most important things that Jesus had to say to people. They constantly urge the people to find fault in themselves and by so doing detract from the essence of the struggle in which the people are involved. Deprived of spiritual content, the Black people read the bible with gullibility that is shocking.
While they sing in a chorus of "mea culpa" they are joined by White groups who sing a different version — "tua culpa". The anachronism of a well-meaning God who allows people to suffer continually under an obviously immoral system is not lost to young Blacks who continue to drop out of church by the hundreds[if not by the thousands and millions, [today too-my addition].
"Too many different types of people and races are involved in religion for the Blacks to ignore. Obviously, the only path open for them now is to redefine the message in the Bible and to make it relevant to the struggles of the masses. The Bible must not be seen to preach that all authority is divinely instituted. It must rather preach that it is a sin to allow oneself to be oppressed. The bible must continually be shown to have done something to the Black man to keep him going in his long journey towards realization of the self. "
"Further, according to Biko: "Blacks must be freed from spiritual poverty. What must be demonstrated for Black people is the absurdity of the assumption by Whites that, "Ancestor worship" was necessarily a superstition and that Christianity is a scientific religion. Also, they should be made aware that Christianity is an adaptable religion that fits in with the cultural situation of the people to whom it is imparted"(Blacks, their religion and culture). Sekou Toure was right when he said:
"To take part in the African revolution, it is not enough to write a revolutionary song; you must fashion the revolution with the people. And if you fashion it with the people. The songs will come by themselves and of themselves. In order to achieve real action you must yourself be a living part of Africa and her thought ; you must be an element of that popular energy which is entirely called forth for the freeing, the progress and happiness of Africa.There is no place outside that fight for the artist or for the intellectual who is not himself concerned with, and completely at one with the people in the great battle of Africa and of suffering humanity."
As long ones religion that not serve its adherents, then it is useless as a spiritual vehicle if it handcuffs the spirit and development of a people, as is in the case of the oppressed, repressed and depressed people of south Africa
As I have pointed out above when I commented about the "Model C"-trained African youth and those instructed in the poor and shoddy pedagogy used in the townships, these children are not anchored nor moored in the culturalAfrican cultural moorings and positions best suited for them to be able to lead and control their destinies within the African community. The Africans have been treated with contempt to the extent that they were necessary to provide cheap labour, to aver Biko, and 'they helped raised the standard and lifestyle of opulent living for white people, and in the process they were set up to fail in any endeavor they might attempt to undertake'.
The rising, minority African bourgeoisie at this juncture, is perched on the horizon and rolling with the riches of the Gravy Train, looking inside from the outside at White Wealth, of which a few are let in, the rest remain aspirants and wanna-be millionaires, barely licking the enriched froth from the end-tables of their masters. But, as Sekou Toure advises that they(Africans-wannabe-White) "should be in the innards of the struggle, with the people, and that at the present moment they are not with the people and are criminally and greedily helping themselves with all the wealth they can lay their paws onto, and meanwhile, starving and distancing their African people at each turn of any new day away from their scrapped crumbs."
As noted in some of my articles, the ANC-led government did not start the June 16 1976 revolution and all the struggles thereafter, which according to Fanon helps promote "auto-self destructive behavior," which the present government is content in helping and encouraging to perpetuate. Our not understanding and acknowledging, respecting and improve our practice of African culture, customs, opens doors for the destruction of African South Africans.
South African African custom, culture, and practices are one issue that needs to be narrated based on what remnants of it can culled from today's African culture. This mind-set needs to be the 'modus operandi' of the 'cultural warriors' and political pugilists along with economical facilitators, working in tandem to not only put this culture back on world cultural map, but bring respect, glory and recognition of their culture and pride for all the world to seek/see, understand and acknowledge.
In order to enable Africans in South Africa to reclaim, control and own their culture, they need to see it as it is, and work with it from what they see and experience, which will afford them the opportunity to produce and perpetuate the culture/history that will then ooze from their re-working and re-establishing their Cultural mosaic in their own image. In order for us to understand the culture of the Nguni/Bakone peoples of South Africa(Mzantsi), we shall have to establish cultural, traditional, linguistic, customary and historical background(Historiography).
What must be paid attention to is the fact that social cultural issues and changes raise some inevitable questions about the traditional identities and their relevance in the presently altered environments in South Africa and in many parts of African continent, and whether these uniformities in the patterns of change can be discerned.
Traditional religions of small scale have in this day and age given way to membership in Christian and Islamic sects, which in turn become new bases of loyalty which crosscut traditional , ethnic, language and even national boundaries of Africa and the Africans. This is clashing with the local African culture and mores and creating a lot of confusion and the future does not look bright for the Africans of South Africa in this sector.
Those African societies that were once relatively standardized in the life cycles of many African societies are giving way to a myriad of new cultures which share only a few similarities with one another. African people's migration to urban areas, albeit for a very short time, has itself made Africans more aware of the cultural differences among their lot.
In the case of South Africa, and in this Hub in particular, I am showing that the differences between the different indigenous people's clans/nations is not very significant and real, but it is a created fiction,and in essence, it is the same, unified but as groups with diverse but unified cultures, customs, traditions and practices with variation of the same cultural manifestations in all spheres of the same cultural customary tradition [look at the pictures in the photo gallery].
We also need to pay attention to the reality that within any particular society, that the absolutes and givens of yesterday are today's variables. Our differentness is our wholesomeness; what has been seen as different cultures is instead the one big culture with greatness and a varying nature and variegated diversity of the culture of African people, which up to the point of this discussion, in this Hub, has been discussed as to how its detractors have presented it in an ill-defined characterization, especially concerning the African people's culture: that they have gone up to the point of casting it as being separate, and 'not the same', 'not related', and lastly, perpetually "tribal", and this is trumpeted by all those who know nothing about it.
The intention of creating this research is to begin to turn the dialogue around on the behalf of Africans in South Africa, and provide if not furnish them with building blocks in their learning about their history and culture, and how to talk and view, fully appreciate and promote their culture without apologizing to anyone, anywhere.
Instead, they should be able to elaborate it in its magnificence and send other people to the Hub above in order to begin the process of allowing other people to understand their culture, and for their culture to morph with the present changing world, but still preserve and promote/perpetuate its essential, vital and well grounded elements, aspects and core customary traditional and practical values in fashioning a South Africa in their African image and reality-from their own African perspective and experience.
Ways Of Learning African South African Culture
Wilson writes: "Under certain social-economic circumstances, cultural identity can become an instrument for the expression of power of the predominant cultural system which molded it, and may also become the instrument used by the dominant culture and its members to further its survival and enhance its empowerment.
Black cultural identity, even in its stratified and diffused state, even on the individual level, is a political economy or essentially an organization of lacks, deficiencies, interests, needs, desires, passions tastes, ideals, motives, values, etc., the response to which on the part of Blacks helps to maintain or enhance the social power relations, prerogatives, and integrity of the White dominated racial status quo.
The salvation, empowerment and liberation of African peoples require an appropriate, thorough, pragmatic cultural analysis of the deculturation and reculturation of ourselves by dominant European peoples, of reactionary "Black culture," and their social products as represented by reactionary Black identities. We must analyze how these identities, whether considered prosocial or antisocial, function to maintain the oppressive power of Whites and the subordinate powerlessness of black.
Our salvation requires that we perceive White supremacy as the major social, political, and spiritual problem to be resolved by African peoples, and that we ask and answer definitively the questions: What kind of a culture must we construct in order to overthrow White supremacy? What kinds of social identities, relations, arrangements, alignments, institutions, values, etc., which when actualized, will allow us to attain and protect our liberty? Enhance our quality of life? What kinds of socialization practices must we institute in order to empower ourselves to become the kinds of people we must become if we are to secure our right to be free?
Certainly, the answers lie in the direction of the reclamation of our African identity and the reconstitution of our African-centered consciousness supported by commensurate African-centered cultural, social, political and economic values, institutions and relations. It is very important to keep in mind that a culture is to a significant extent a historical product, a social product; a culture is socially manufactured, the handiwork of both deliberate and coincidental human social collusions and interactions.
A culture also manufactures social products, and some of the most important social products it generates include its own cultural identity, and the social and personal identities of its constituent group and individual members. Africans must confidently build and recreate their own culture from the remnants of the culture that they have today. This Hub is a motivation for such actions that need to be carried out by Africans of South Africa to begin to rebuild their people who are steeped in dysfunction and confusion.
Putting The Concept and Meaning of Culture Much More Clearly
Wilson continues to inform us about culture and what it actual is and means. It is important that at this juncture Africans in South Africa pay closer attention to Wilson's instructive points bout what they should know and understand is culture.
"What is culture? Horton and Hunt provide a workable answer to this question," Wilson cites: "From their life experiences, a group develops a set of rules and procedures for meeting their needs.
"The set of rules and procedures, together with a supporting set of ideas and values, is called culture." Anthropologist Clyde Kluckhon has defined culture as all the "historically created designs for living, explicit and implicit, rational, irrational and non-rational which may exist at any given time as potential guides for the behavior of man.
"As a set of designs for guiding the behavior of its members, i.e., a set of guidelines for directing and regulating the behavior of its members, and a culture provides standards of proper cognitive, emotional and behavioral conduct; a set of proverbial precepts as to what reality is, and an accompanying set of rationalizations or ostensible explanations for its nature and purpose.
"Thus, culture, though a product of the actual lived experience of a people — the primal source of much of their daily personal and social activities, their forms of labor and its products, their celebratory and ceremonial traditions, modes of dress, art and music, language and articulatory style, appetites and desires - is essentially ideological in nature as it is on shared beliefs, customs, expectations, and values.
"Culture constructs definitions, meanings and purposes, these cultural constructs are used to proactively and reactively mold the mind, body, spirit and behavior of the constituent members of a culture. These active constructs become the cultural and social heritage of the members of a particular culture. Hence, culture does not exist outside and independent of its human subjects.
'Culture is represented symbolically and operationally in the minds and characteristically mental/behavioral orientations or styles of its members, and is incarnated in the customary ways they move and use their bodies [also the clothes they wear and the dances the perform, the songs they sing and the instruments they use, along with the languages they speak — my addition].
"That in the final analysis the culture is represented "in" the minds and bodies of its members, and expresses itself through the systematic ways they attend, experience, categorize, classify, order, judge, evaluate,explain and interact with their world.
"Mentally, culture involves the socially shared and customary ways of thinking, a way of encoding, perceiving, experiencing, ordering, processing, communicating and of behaviorally expressing information which distinguishes one cultural group from another.
"All these activities are dedicated to the end of adapting the culture to the consistent and changing demands of its physical and social environment and reciprocally adapting the environment to the demands of the culture."
What Africans need to do as the definition of culture is explained above, they need to plug in what culture, tradition, customs, languages and practices that are now still evident, and they might see something different, new but still the same old culture, just that it is being upgraded into the technological Age and societies of the world.
Wilson further adds: " Socially, culture patterns the ways its members perceive each, relate to and interact with each other. It facilitates the ways they create, develop,organize, institutionalize, and behaviorally apply their human potential in order to adapt to the conditions under which they live so as to satisfy their psychological, social and survival needs.
"To the degree that the shared beliefs and behavioral orientations of the members of a culture are consensually consistent, reasonably rational and realistic, are effectively and consistently socialized and reinforced, the culture is characterized by coherence, somewhat low levels of internal conflicts and contradictions, relatively smooth, automatic, coordinated operation, and thereby effectively functional in the interests of its members." And this culture, if revamped in the manner Wilson points out to, will uplift Africans as a nation.
The culture of Africans in South Africans has all these points that Wilson is making above to make the definition clearer, cohesive and much more cogent, to be upgraded in a disciplined manner. These social interactions and communal ways are still being practiced today in South Africa amongst Africans, and as the picture gallery attests, it is the same culture with many variations, and yet not losing its core and traditional, customary and uniquely South African. Colorful and a lot of dancing and cultural wares that, if one were to look at it much more closely, is the same, albeit its variations.
Why I quoted at length from Wilson and from Bantu is because there has been so much written about South African culture that it is imperative that I delved much more into the writing of those, who, in their writing, will impart information clarifying certain issues, like cultural identity, as to what is that Africans should know and do to advance their society's culture and what are its components and building blocks that Africans need to learn, know, see, experience, understand and be enabled to change by their own culture as to where it fits in their lives and in the whole scheme of human existence and endeavors.
Those who colonized and enslaved Africans have worked assiduously hard to deny Africans their humanity and languages, customs, traditions and practices of their culture. By talking about culture within these two Hubs' content, I am hoping to help raise and revive the trampled culture of a people from the graveyard of history, after being in the doldrums of real colonial historical timeline, creating a society that has been made dysfunctional in its form and existence for the present African people of South Africa.
It is therefore my contention that the culture of Africans in South Africa is alive and well, and what needs to be done is to put it in a national perspective, South African cultural, customary, traditional and linguistic content and context, resuscitating it in the process, i.e.,this culture, in its manifestations shows that it is unitary, uniform same and united, although varied-giving it a sense of variety ,and that there is no difference but commonness/sameness about the culture as we look closely at the photo in the picture gallery.
What I am attempting to do in this Hub is to uplift the African nations in South Africa, as a 'Nation,' with its many variations and it being lived, experienced and passed from one generation to another, and mainly controlled and disseminated, culturally, customarily, traditionally, linguistically, historically and in its practices.
If this preoccupation is not made a national past time by the people of African descent in South Africa, the hope of reconstructing their nation within these contexts, diminishes, and that, by looking and seeing this culture as a culture that belongs to and practiced by the African Nation in South Africa, as a social duty, for those present and still in the future, will have to be the task overtaken by all Africans of South Africans and hope to achieve national cohesion. It is at this point, again, that we defer to Bantu who will lays out the blue-print towards solving this conundrum.
The Innards of African Culture in Mzantsi(South Africa)
The cultures, traditions, languages and customs of African people in South Africa are not dead, nor was it ever wiped off the face of the earth.They are still alive and well and the people are experiencing a cultural renaissance, albeit slow in catching up, it is nonetheless on the rise. Because we are talking about the presently ascending African culture in South Africa, we need to broach the subject and get a cultural and customary historical foundation and clarification as to how the Culture of Africans worked in the past and is still working-like today.
There still a lot of Boers and other White(irrelevant scholars) who are still insisting that Africans are made of "tribes," are different and will never be one nation. This is a false assumption and argument because its intended to divide and conquer Africans, which has been the 'modus operandi' of the Europeans and Boers who have been domineering the indigenous local African people. When one looks at the picture gallery, it is evident that the culture of Africans is one big national culture.
Even Europe, has one big culture for in their individual countries, and they are not uniform or monolithic, inasmuch as they are variations as they manifest themselves as European cultures. No one calls the different clans/nations in Europe 'tribes', and their 'kings' are not 'chiefs' and so forth. Semantics are used against Africans to show their culture as backwards, unscientific, diminutive and in fact, lost and nonexistent today.
These spurious arguments made against a culture , not hidden in plain sight, but existing in plain sight, creates a need for a corrective cultural history to be re-written on behalf of African people who are so poor that they cannot, en-masse, obtain computers, let alone pay for the exorbitant fees that are charged for the Internet in their poverty stricken dysfunctional state of existence: coping in an insane society. Later on in the hub we will address the thrust of this, which is to make and create a sane society.
As for now, we will cull a bit of Bantu's Some African Cultural Concepts Sub-chapter, wherein he lays down a much more simpler, cogent, coherent and straight to the point cultural history of the Nguni/Bakone peoples of South Africa.
The Sane Culture of Africans in South Africa
African Traditional Culture
The Africans of South Africa lost their cultural orientations, environmental familiarity and their own surroundings due to the Anglo Boer belligerent culture and military mights and murderous warfare campaigns against the indigenous populations of south Africa. It is at this point where we read Bantu writing as follows:
"One of the most difficult things to do these days is to talk with authority on anything to do with African culture. Somehow Africans are not expected to have any deep understanding of their own culture or even of themselves. Other people have become authorities on all aspects of the African life or be more accurate on "BANTU" life. Thus we have the thickest volumes on some of the strangest subjects — even "the feeding habits of the urban Africans" a publication by a fairly "liberal" group, Institute of Race Relations.
[Therefore], in taking a look at cultural aspects of the African people, one invariably finds himself having to compare. This is primarily because of the contempt that the 'superior'(Anglo/Boer) culture shows towards the indigenous culture. To justify its exploitative basis the Anglo-Boer culture has at all times been directed at bestowing an inferior status to all cultural aspects of the indigenous people. In other words, African peoples future propelled by their culture was set up to fail, no matter what Africans may try to do in regards to uplifting themselves and their culture in the future"(21st century ad infinitum...)
In his own words Biko further informs us that: "I am against the belief that African culture is time-bound, the notion that with the conquest of the African all his culture was obliterated. I am also against against the belief that when one talks of African culture one is necessarily talking of the pre-Van Riebeeck culture.
"Obviously, the African culture has had to sustain severe blows and may have been battered nearly out of shape by the belligerent cultures it collided with, yet, in essence, even today, one can easily find the fundamental aspects of the pure African culture in the present-day African. One of the most fundamental aspects of our culture is the most importance we attach to Man(Umuntu/Motho, or if you like, Human Being).
"Ours has always been a Man-centered society. Westerners have in many occasions been surprised at the capacity we have for talking to each other — not for the sake of arriving at a particular conclusion but merely to enjoy the communication for its own sake.
Intimacy is a term not exclusive for particular friends but applying to a whole group of people who find themselves together either through work or through residential requirements," [I have partly spoken about this above when citing Wilson on African Culture and in addressing the concept of "Ubuntu" several paragraphs above - my addition].
In fact, Biko continues, "In the traditional African Culture, there is no such thing as two friends. Conversation groups were more or less naturally determined by age and division of labor. Thus one would find all boys whose job was to look after cattle periodically meeting at popular spots to engage in conversation about their cattle, girlfriends, parents, heroes, etc. All commonly shared their secrets, joys and woes.
No one felt unnecessarily an intruder into someone else's business. The curiosity manifested was welcome. It came out of a desire to share. This pattern one would find in all age groups. House visiting was always a feature of the elderly folk's way of life. No reason was needed as a basis for visits. It was all part of our deep concern for each other."
Even today, one still finds the traces of this perceptions and perspective of africans in South Africa amongst themselves.
Bringing Up Children
Maybe today many young boys might not be interested in looking after cattle and sheep, but institutions that are dedicated to youth upbringing and teaching could be made a reality and most youth be passed through that type of cultural pedagogy. Amongst the Africans in South Africa, there is an overwhelming socialization mannerism that were all part of the concern of Africans for each other.
"These are things never done in the Westerner's culture. A visitor to someones's house, with the exception of friends, is always met with the question "what can I do for you?" This attitude to see people not as themselves but as agents for some particular function either to one's advantage or advantage is foreign to us. We are not a suspicious race. We believe in the inherent goodness of man. We enjoy man for himself.
"We regard our living together not as an unfortunate mishap warranting endless competition among us but as a deliberate act of God to make us a community of brothers and sisters jointly involved in the quest for a composite answer to the varied problems of life. Hence, in all we do we always place man first and hence all our action is usually joint community orientated action rather than the individualism which is the hallmark of the [Western] capitalist approach.
"We always refrain from using people as stepping stones. Instead, we are prepared to have a much slower progress in an effort to make sure that all of us are marching to the same tune." As we have noted, the situation today is no more what Biko is talking about. The Africans aptly call it 'dog-eats-dog world,' today in South Africa amongst Africans, wherein these values have been trounced and not caring for each other has become the norm, anomie reigns supreme.
"Yet, as we have been saying above, these cultural mannerisms are still part and parcel of Africans, and the only problem they face is that there are no serious cultural warriors to "Re-set" the culture, but the present African opportunists and criminals are guided by their greed and want of material wealth, in their haste towards opulence, they're trampling anyone in their rushing pell-mell into looting the land and people of its wealth, and depleting their public coffers but amongst the majority of the "poor" Africans, what Bantu is discussing is still aspects of customary respect and reality" "inhlonipho/Thlompho-Hlompho" (Respect) which still guides the relations amongst Africans and their neighbors and brethren: Man is still prime and considered to be the most important.
Celebratory, Work and Other Cultural Songs
To what I have just said above, Bantu adds: "Nothing dramatizes the eagerness of the African to communicate with each other more than their love for song and rhythm."All the nine African nations of South Africa shown in the Picture gallery, one more other cultural aspect displayed in the photos is the dancing and singing amongst them.
In effect, this does not make them 'different,' but any person of African heritage in South Africa should be, and will be able to discern the common theme of dancing people, of any of the 10(ten) nations are doing the same thing: they have dances for women, girls and elderly women, they also have dance for young boys, teenagers and those for older me.
All have them have dances that are performed by children of all sexes, teenagers of the same age, boys and girls, and those dances that incorporate dances of the grown-ups — men and women mixed. Biko continues: "Music in the African culture features in all emotional states. When we go to work, we share the burdens and pleasures of the work we are doing through music.
"This particular facet strangely enough has filtered through to the present day. Tourists always watch with amazement they synchrony of music and action as African working at a road-side use their picks and shovels with well-timed precision[or spontaneously sing in fantastic harmony a song for any occasion-those who have been to South Africa have come across what I am talking about].
"Girls and boys never played any games without using music and rhythm as its basis. In other words with Africans, music and rhythm were not luxuries but part and parcel of our way of communicating-but of their cultural interaction and elaboration(of ways of culture, customs, traditions and practices-my addition) Any suffering we experienced was made much more real by song and rhythm."
"The major tis to note about our songs," writes Bantu, "Is that they never were songs for individuals. All African songs are group songs. Though many have words, this is not the most important thing about them. Tunes were adapted to suit the occasion and had the wonderful effect of making everybody read the same things from the common experience.
In war,the songs reassured those who were scared, highlighted the determination of the regiment to win a particular encounter and made much more urgent to the need to settle the score: in suffering, as in the case of the Black slaves, they derived sustenance out of a feeling of togetherness, at work the binding rhythm makes everybody brush off the burden and hence Africans can continue for hours on end because of this added energy.
African Community, Property, Animal Husbandry and Agriculture
The life of Africans people of South Africa, before the coming of the European was peaceful and very communal. "Ubuntu/Botho" reigned supreme, as has been discussed by Bantu above, wherein the emphasis of African was more Man-centered than what we see today as the Western half-baked version of an African who is in full flight trying to be accepted into the White community at the expense of his people and culture. But, before the advent of the belligerent White culture into the country now known as South Africa, Africans had different perspective about many things that concerned and affected their lives. Biko informs us thus:
Attitudes of Africans to property again shoe just how unindividualistic the African is. As everybody here knows, African society had the village community as its basis. Africans always believed in having many small villages with a controllable number of people in each rather than the reverse. This obviously was a requirement to suit the needs of a community-based and man-centered society.
Therefore, most things were jointly owned,for instance,there was no such thing as individual land ownership. The land belonged to the people and was merely under the control of the local, minor "chief," who was ruled by a "King" on behalf of the people. When cattle went to graze, it was on an open 'veld' and not on anybody's specific farm. Farming and agriculture, though on individual family basis, and many characteristics of joint efforts.
Each person could by a simple request and holding of a special ceremony,invite neighbors to come and work on his plots. This service was returned in kind and no remuneration was ever given. Poverty was a foreign concept. This could only be rally brought about to the entire community by an adverse climate during a particular season.
It never was considered repugnant to ask one's neighbors for help if one was struggling. In almost all instances, there was help between individuals, clan and clan, chief and chief, king and king, etc., even in spite of war." (This was the case when Shaka's army," attacked Moshoeshoe on Thaba Bosiu, and he successfully repelled the attacking warriors, who, when in the end grew tired and hungry, he sent them food and cows to slaughter, and they subsequently returned home, to Chaka - my example…)
As we are reworking the presentation and respect for the culture of Africans, we need to keep many things in perspective, as Bantu noted that it has been whipped out of shape when it collided with other foreign and belligerent cultures of Europe. So that in presenting it as I am doing, this is done to flesh-out and imbue it with matter and material that will cover its present state, and preserve it for many years to come for future generation of people of African descent. Bantu, generally speaking, is giving us the synopsis of the culture of Africans in South Africa as a whole, not of one 'clan'.
What he is writing about is the whole of African ten(10) groups as to what their culture is all about and is like. This is important for whenever the detractors of African South African people attack their culture, they discuss it as if one group of the Africans people's culture is not related to the other group and so on.
It is not a separate culture, and it is a viable national and cohesive culture which should be addressed as such and written about as being one, not different nor divided. Some of the enemies of African people in South Africa and those that are ignorant about the mind-set of Africans in South Africa, and they do not really know the state of mind and the psyche of African people in South Africa. Bantu Biko explains:
African South Africans State of Mind
"Another aspect of the African culture is our mental attitude to problems presented by life in general. Whereas the Westerner is geared to use a problem-solving approach following very trenchant analyses, our approach is that of situation-experiencing." Dr. Kaunda illustrates this point thus: "The Westerner has an aggressive mentality. When he sees a problem he will not rest until he has formulated some solution to it. He cannot live with contradictory ideas in his mind; he must settle for one or the other two. And he is vigorously scientific in rejecting solutions for which there is not basis in logic. He draws a sharp line between the natural and the supernatural, the rational and the non-rational, and more often than not, he dismisses the supernatural and non-rational as superstition.... Africans, being a pre-scientific people do not recognize any conceptual cleavage between the natural and supernatural. They experience a situation rather than face a problem. By this I mean they allow both the rational and non-rational elements to make an impact on them, and any action they may take could be described more as a response of the total personality to the situation than the result of some mental exercises."
These differences are often denied or dismissed by the Colonizers who maintain that African culture and ways of thinking and knowing are irrelevant, backward and unscientific, Yet, there is always a clear distinction between people of the world, different cultures and so on, who understand that we cannot think alike, and that colonization is immoral, unjust, and very detrimental to the humanity of African people and their right of being humans. Biko follows up the Kaunda citation above in the following manner: "This I find a most apt analysis of the essential difference in the approach to life of these two groups. i.e., as a community, are prepared to accept that nature will have its enigmas which are beyond our powers to solve. Many people have interpreted this attitude as lack of initiative and drive, yet, in spite of my belief in the strong need for scientific experimentation, I cannot help feeling that more time also should be spent in teaching man and man to live together and that perhaps the African personality with its attitude of laying less stress on power and more stress on man is well on the way to solving our confrontation problems."
African Customary Traditional Religion; Western Religion
If one were to read some of the HubPages articles written by mostly, Afrikaner European people of South Africa, one would notice how demeaning and insulting they are. When the Afrikaner descendants of the Dutch Sailors and settlers every time attempt to write about Africans, their disdain and dislike of Africans often permeates their writing and they are also so paternalistic and looking down on Africans, their culture, customs, traditions, practices and languages, and insist on calling them 'tribes'.
And their 'kings' called 'chiefs, and every African person a 'Kaffir' that despite their dull efforts at doing this, one can simply see this from the Boer Trekker, Piet Retief and the Dutch sailor, Jan Van Riebeeck, how their attitudes towards Africans were vehemently racist and very mean towards Africans and the San. To really get a sense of this dislike of Africans, we will casually peruse the cultural/religious history of South Africa and how it came to be what it is.
Again, we defer to Biko who writes: "All people are agreed that Africans are a deeply religious race. In the various forms of worship that one found throughout the Southern part of our continent, there was at least a common basis. We all accepted without any doubt the existence of a God. We had our own community of saints.
"We believed — and this was consistent with our views of life — that all people who died had a special place next to god. We felt that a communication with god, could only be through these people.
"We never knew anything about hell — we do not believe that God can create people only to punish them eternally after a short period on earth. Another aspect of religious practices was the occasion of worship. Again, we did not believe that religion could be featured as a separate part of our existence on earth It was manifest in our daily lives.
"We thanked God through our ancestors before we drank beer, married, worked, etc. We would obviously find it artificial to create special occasions for worship. Neither did we see it logical to have a particular building in which all worship would be conducted. We believed that God was always in communication with us and therefore merited attention everywhere and anywhere."
There are many reasons why all the above issues did not take hold in South Africa. The Africans in South African knew of all these issues and were living in accordance to their dictates. Some still do today, but, a whole crew of christian missionaries saw to it that the destruction of African culture, religion, customs and traditions were crushed under the iron boot of western-type of religion.
It is at this point when Biko writes to inform us that: "It was the missionaries who confused our people with their new religion. By some logic, they argued that theirs was a scientific religion and ours was mere superstition in spite of the biological discrepancies so obvious in the bases of their religion.
"They further went on to preach a theology of the existence of hell, scaring our fathers and mothers with stories about burning in eternal flames and gnashing of teeth and grinding of bone. This cold and cruel religion was strange to us but our forefather were sufficiently scared of the unknown impending anger to believe that it was worth a try. Down went our cultural values!"
The effect was not nearly total and complete as the colonizers would have it. It is true that they 'whipped African Culture out of shape,' but as this Hub is showing, the culture still lives and has a certain authenticity and vibrancy to it. How did these African people become "TRIBES," instead of 'Nations'. Basil Davidson gives us a historical glimpse dealing partly with this issue below.
Africans Remain 'Tribes" Even in the 21st Century
The Historiography of South African African Culture has been written about by many people who have never lived it nor know it. They observe the present life-styles of African people, and do some copious notes from unproven accounts abut African culture, then read up some obscure written account about the Africans , gather some oral account here and there, and overnight they are experts on African South African culture.
Most of these experts always make a point of pointing out how diverse, but, very different cultures are there amongst the indigenous South African African people. Even though we know that there are10(ten) nations, and the other languages added to this are all foreigners who have to pay some respect to local culture as being the original and sturdy African languages, they are never referred to as one, but as part and parcel of the national languages of South Africa.
South Africa is not a melting pot of cultures and the rest are and have always maintained their foreignness, and African and their culture were looked down upon and stagnant and not changing; as to whether it should be changed and become an appendage of European and other cultures — meaning that African culture should change and these other foreign cultures should remain as they are, they supposedly can accept African culture, and have it changed to fit their own foreign culture.
This is why, even today, Africans and the culture are viewed as 'Tribes' and unable to come together. We have touched on this above as stated by Bantu Biko.
It is interesting to note the works of the likes of Krishnamurthy and Dejan Verdic who give an erroneous analysis of African South African, that to show their biases and ignorance, one will have to reject the syntax, wording and semantics used in trying to inform the reader about who and what African South Africans are, in terms of their inability to unite, have one culture, and not knowing how, when they become westernized they'll need to face up to the need to either take up the newly acquired culture while remaining authentic.
I have also pointed out this false premise above and discussed the fact as to how Africans are suffering from this twoness, and what its origins are. These two authors speak about the existence of a "deep discord" between cultural 'preservationists' and 'developmentalist' on cultural preservation.
The former arguing that such a transition should not undermine the fundamental value systems of Black Society, which they claim is akin to the Afrikaners wanting to preserve White Afrikaner Culture and the Afrikaans languages. It is as if the Indian, Chinese, Greeks and other cultures do so, as a matter of fact, and this finally makes their observations biased, racist and devoid of African historical perspectives and knowledge about African culture in South Africa.
Most of these so-called pros on African history are ignorantly arrogant and do not respect nor know the culture , custom, traditions and practices of Africans are all about. They conveniently forget what the Apartheid regime did to African culture, which I have documented elsewhere in my Hub whilst I anticipated I will have to deal with. In this Hub I will only touch up on it as I have noted in this paragraph.
I will be dealing with it in full using the literature as written by these experts and refuting them point by point they falsely and wrongly raise, highlight or point to in their writing-in some future Hub. One thing the authors mentioned above do not know is that the 'lack of interpersonal, collectivistic social acumen, have been fostered by global the Apartheid culture, global culture, acculturation, media imperialism, the resurgence of cultural and religious conflict,intercultural communication(if there are any that are normal),
That we see the conditions as they are in contemporary South Africa. For them to cite Boon whom it is claimed wrote extensively about racist tribalistic perspective is unconscionable. Boon's tribalistic analysis' is just as archaic as the old trumpeters of Apartheid ideology in misleading the readers about Africans and their cultural mindset and how it is relevant today, not as irrelevant as it is made to be by the propagandist against African people's culture, custom, tradition and practices.
We will take the liberty of culling from Basil Davidson about issues pertaining to Why Africans are referred to as African 'Tribes' and how they turned that around to be regarded as Nation states.
If the ethnic diversities of Africa outlived the long medieval period of the regna, many subsequent revolutions and reorganizations, and finally the manifold upheavals of the nineteenth century, these diversities then found it relatively easy to live through the colonial period-as ethnic diversities, that is, though sorely often not as persons or constituent communities.
The new nationalists of the 1950s would then embrace national-statism as the only available escape from colonial domination. Striving to transform colonial territories into national territories, they would find Africa's wealth and ethnic cultures both distracting and had to absorb into their schemes. They would fall back into the colonial mentality of regarding it as "tribalism," and, as such, retrogressive.
This diversity, it seemed, had to be just another hangover from the unregenerate past. It should at least be on its way to museum shelves, and should be meanwhile handled as a temporary nuisance. That was to prove difficult. The nuisance was found, as in the earliest days of nation statist debate in centers as Cape Coast during the 1860s, to be stubbornly insistent. It refused to disappear into museums.(Davidson)
Foreign Enforcement of Africans as "Tribes"
Davidson further elaborates: "This was scarcely surprising: most of these precolonial political formations were communities with a venerable past rooted in popular acceptance. In the public mind they were living realities; they were identities to which people strongly held.
"Dismissing them as the regrettable phenomena of 'tribalism' might comfort those, British or others,who preferred to think of precolonial Africa as a kind of savage backwoods, rather than the notion of a Scottish nation or a Welsh nation had long become an antiquarian absurdity to average English opinion.
"But that is not how the 'tribesmen' were prepared to see it. Out of this came confusion. For there was also at work, from quite earlier in the colonial dispossessions, another meaning for "tribalism." This was the new product of "divide-and-rule" policies, perhaps the only African political invention of those times that did or even could succeed, and as well promoted by the British and the French, major colonial powers, as a useful administrative instrument.
"Let related ethnic 'units' band together and become "tribes" — a term probably applied in the African context by Officials educated in the classical tradition of Caesar's Gallic wars — because, if they banded together, the costs of European Administration would be that much less."
Davidson adds: "Segments of even substantial communities in more of less closely related communities, though historically separate and distinct fro one another, now declared themselves a single people; and new 'tribes' such as the Sukuma and Nyakusa, rose fully formed from the mysterious workings of "tradition"."
"Not being worried by such workings, whatever the Europeans supposed them to be, such coagulated clans and segments do not seem to have minded becoming 'tribes' with exotic names - Sukuma, for example, is a word borrowed from the neighboring people of Unyamwezi - but rather pleased about it.
"A single agreed spokesman against the claims and demands of colonial power was easily seen to wield more argumentative clout than a mob of spokesmen from smaller units. And then, of course, Europeans believed Africans belonged to "tribes": Africans built tribes to belong to."
Ilife adds: "And the effort to create such "tribes", was as honest and constructive in those circumstances of apparently permanent foreign rule as the latter effort, when the appearance of permanence was gone, to create a Tanganyika nation," Both were attempts to build societies in which men could live well in the modern world."((Ilife)
Davidson tells us how this came about: "This was one situation. And as Africans from rural areas moved, ever more in the 1940s, toward the "melting pot" of peri-urban slums and shantytowns, this "tribalism" that was a genuine product of African diversity, but also an invented weapon of self-defense, became a potent factor in opening the route to nationalism.
"Tribal Unions" and "Tribal Associations," or other such manifestations of solidarity, began to flourish in the 1940s, and were to be powerful influences in the building of nation-statist politics. Their nature, of course, meant that they were destined to become divisive of national unities. They would then play the role, after independence, of opposing 'tribe' to 'nation.'
"But that was still for the future. For the present, these "tribal unions" were able to rephrase and reabsorb Africa's own history in times of great political change and challenge. ...Broadly, the educated elites in West Africa - for a long time, it would be much the same in South Africa - saw Africa's own history as irrelevant and useless.
"The issue has been contradictory because so was their stance. They saw that the assertion of Africa's having a history of its own must be part of their case against colonialist racism. They presented this assertion in books they wrote about Africa's past glories. They lectured on the subject, composed brilliant and poetic evocations of great moments in Africa's past.
"If they were clergy men, they recalled the Christian African bishops of Byzantine descent. If there were lawyers, they praised the writings of classical Greece in praise of Homer's "blameless Ethiopians." If they were politicians, they did their best to square the circle.
"But when it came down to brass tacks, to the question of who should take over from the British withdrew, they demanded a more or less complete flattening of the ethnic landscape. All that history then belonged to what Attoh Ahuma back in 1911 in his book The Gold Coast Nation and National Consciousness, had found no difficulty in calling the "savage backwoods."
Deplorable in the past, it could do nothing for the present; and the future would forget it. As the gathering force of national-statism in its guise of liberating ideology began to reap the fruits of argument and agitation around mid-century,what David Kimble has called the clash between "the inherited privileges of chieftaincy" and the "acquired privileges of education" — meaning Western education, and it derivatives — became acute and would soon become violent.
As for the culture of African people, it followed in the path of all the African states who in the end became post colonial nation states always appeasing their former colonial master. The ANC-led government does this very well: being a buffer between African people and their culture, and they(ANC) safeguarding of foreign cultures and people, and meanwhile neglecting their own indigenous Africans of South Africa in so doing.
The point I am trying to make is that, those who write about Africans and their culture, do so without really understanding what they are doing to a people who are still not yet in the position of telling the world, "themselves," what they want to say about themselves as African people of South Africa.
Every time and anyone who writes about the culture of the Nguni/Bakone, they are mostly telling their readers about how different the African people are from each other culturally or otherwise. This serves their need to keep on dividing and conquering, if not debasing and deconstructing African people and their culture that in this Hub, I have utilized the pictures of the 10(ten) groups of African people within the Photo gallery, and without having to talk about the pictures in a direct way within this article, the photos speak for themselves.
It is not a question as to whether there is any doubt in the minds of Africans in South Africa that they have to ease into the 21 century as do other nations, it is also true that they know that they can morph into their culture with relative ease and spontaneity that always amazes tourists and intellectuals alike that they cannot help but see this culture as alive and vibrant.
In fact, White people peddle African culture as a front in order to gain renumeration from the visitors or buyers of African Artifacts and other types of arts and culture. Many of the former colonizers have become the spokespeople, for the past hundreds of years which has now come down to the point where everyone today on the Internet is a 'Kits'(Instant) Historians on South African African history and African South African historical culture.
As Biko noted, 'once an African starts talking about African History and African Cultural history, he assailed and projected as whatever choice words they choose to hurl his way.' Yes, time has no come to set the record straight because once one begins reading such comments as those uttered by Boon as cited by Krishnamurthy and Vercic that: "For the Africa of the 21 century to succeed, that it must become rational and pragmatic. Underdevelopment is not a matter only of capital or resources, but it originates "inside the heads of Africans[P, 61 - Boon(1998]. ...
And that he wrote extensively about tribalism and ethnicity and stated that, 'tribalism exists in the present not only in distant rural areas but also in peoples heads." They say that Boon suggested that, 'people retreat into ethnicity when they are most threatened. Communities then form communications so that they could get the "tribe's" perspective on the threat posed by massive change'(What Change? From who and how is it change?-my questions).
This is just a smattering of all the hogwash by nattering nabobs like Boon, whose work inspired a book by both Krishmamurthy and Vercic, who ignorantly and in an ahistorical skewed, biased and demeaning way believe that pungent analysis by Boon, and edited a book they called "The Global TPublic Relations Handbook: Theory, Research, and Practice." Africans are called a 'tribal' people whenever it suits the Europeans to divide, and all those who do not have respect for African.
They expect that any African people, talking about his culture, should consult with other races because they themselves(Africans) cannot understand nor know their history by and about themselves. Africans retain and are endowed with the rights of writing and saying what they like or how their perceive their cultures as it suits them, only. Africans should not be asking for permission from anyone for them to describe and discuss their 'own' culture, however they choose to do.
African Culture is What Africans Say it is; Any Questions?
African South African culture is Similar and the Same
Chancellor Williams writes and tells us that: "The present-day confused outlook of the African people is the result of centuries of Caucasian acculturation, a quite natural process wherever one people come under economic, political and social domination of another people. The ideologies and value system of the oppressors quite unconsciously become those of the oppressed, even when the result is demonstratively against themselves.
"But all other oppressed peoples, whether Indian, Chinese or Japanese, were able to hold on doggedly to their own racial pride and cultural heritage as the last response for survival as a people. Unlike the Blacks, they were never completely cut off from this sustaining life-line of every people."
Just what can we really find out about what actually happened to the Africans South Africa and the destruction of their culture. It is important that we use history to unpack and peal back at the hidden layers of what African people should know what happened to them as they will undoubtedly begin to see and talk about their culture from an informed African historical cultural backdrop.
The eighteenth-century commando frontier impinged on regions inhabited by the Bantu --speakers and Khoisan. ('Khoisan' includes both pastoral Khoikhoi and groups of hunter-gatherers whom Khoikhoi clans 'San' and whom the colonists called 'Bushmen').
"In central Namibia, south of the Ovambo peoples, were the Bantu-speaking Herero, cattle-keepers par excellence[H. Vedder] East of the Kalahari [which may not have been as extensive then as it is now] the HIghveld and central and eastern Transorangia were dominated by the Bantu speaking Sotho-Tswana peoples, who were cultivators as well as pastoralists.
"The southernmost of these in the eighteenth century were the Rolong(Barolong)(south of the Molopo) and, to their east, the Fokeng(Bafokeng), Ghoya and Taung(Bataung) spread as far south as the Caledon river(L.M. Thompson) South of the Bantu-speakers, and interspersed among them, were the Khoisan(I. Schapera).
Prior to the eighteenth century there is evidence that cattle-keeping Khoikhoi were living adjacent to Bantu-speaking communities, at least in Namibia and along the middle Orange(Wikar and Gordon) by the early nineteenth century these Khoikhoi north and south of the lower Orange were known generically as the 'Nama,' and those north and south of the middle Orange as 'Kora'.
In contrast, the region of eastern Transorangia (roughly present-day Orange Free State), was, in the eighteenth century,occupied only by the Khoisan hunter-gatherers alongside the Bantu-speakers(John Campbell). In all these cases, specifically regarding Nama and Kora, it is almost impossible to disentangle which elements were long-established inhabitants of the area, and which had retreated from the Cape during the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries, though there is fragmented evidence of both situations(J.A Engelbrecht).
The resulting tangle of social relationships, exacerbated in the frontier zone period, makes it well-nigh impossible to link Khoisan political groupings in the nineteenth century to any earlier Khoisan political historyL.F. Maingard).
The obsession in the historiography of South Africa with the analysis of society in 'racial' terms produces endless attempts to differentiate Bantu-speakers from Khoisan, Khoikhoi and San, Sotho from Nguni/Bakone, and, within each, sub-'tribes' from sub-'tribes', and so on. It is only through an analysis which begins from the social relations of production that this tendency can be overcome(R. Moorsom).
Indeed, for the thrust of this hub has been that all the African nations in South Africa are the same and similar. All were small-scale societies in which persons were depended on forces of nature over which they had but little control. Some communities gathered for subsistence, others hunted, others kept cattle or grew crops. Some engaged in more than one ,or all of these practices.
The social relations of production in such communities have inadequately explored. Certainly there was a sexual division of labor, although this was more pronounced among agriculturalists and mixed production communities than among pure pastoralists or hunter-gatherers. There were also craft specializations (blacksmiths, herbalists, rainmakers) mostly in Bantu-speaking communities.
Mining was carried on, both of metals and of a decorative yellow ochre called 'Sbello'; it;s still unknown who did the mining, nor under what compulsions or incentives [Obviously it was the africans of SouthAfrica who did the mining](Campbell). Relationships in all communities were expressed, neither economically nor politically, but in terms of kinship. Kinship was the language of social interaction,disguising the relations of production.
The only potential for class relationships existed in societies where there was 'chieftainship'. This office was inherited through lineage descent, and could therefore emerge or disappear in kin-based communities without any basic alteration in social structure. Where it became institutionalized, it was surrounded by a structure of government based on leading lineages: lineage-members were the councillors of the 'chief'.
The officers of government had the obligation to redistribute resources for the benefit of the community, but these obligations obviously required the appropriation of resources to redistribute(I. Schapera)
The prerogative of 'chief' to receive labor was well established in many Bantu-speaking societies by the nineteenth century (though this practice postdated the upheavals of the Mfecane in the 1820s and 1830s). Equally, the presence of mining products, handicrafts and cattle provided a potential basis for appropriation and for either redistribution or private accumulation.
By the late eighteenth century, trade was already conditioned by merchant capital: Khoisan traded cattle southward to the Cape; Bantu-speaker exported metals, karosses(Hides), finished furs, and increasingly, ivory to the Portuguese settlements of the East Coast(C. Saunders)
This trade was not carried out by long-distance traders but through a series of relays than the reverse. Exchanges of goods customarily took place either at the neutral frontier between communities or at the 'Kgotla'(sort of Congress or forum) in the town center of the community.
Where a chiefly structure existed, the chiefs and the heads of lineages, would gather around them as many Men as their wealth would admit, to each of which they assign the milk of one or two cows which, together with the efforts of the Man's wife in gathering roots, wild fruit, locusts, and the cultivation was generally sufficient to enable him to maintain his family.
At one level this relationship of clientage was simply one of the major ways through which communities could grow on a non-or-quasi-kin basis. At another level it's a proto-feudal relationship of personal dependence which acquired the name of the fhisa or Mafisa system among Sotho-Tswanas in the nineteenth century.
Hunter gatherers might also become dependents, acquiring dogs, old iron weapons or tobacco from their patrons in return for supplying karosses.(Legassick).
One other thing I would like to add at this juncture is that it seems that the Iron age inhabitants of the Transvaal and Swaziland were agriculturalists and herdsmen, and they manufactured pottery similar to that known from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi; but what will surely disrupt the colonial theses that Africans came from Egypt, as characterized in Wikipedia, but one thing Wikipedia does is to recognize that the Nguni nations made up of clans, based on males ancestry(even female ancestry), and that they formed the highest social unit, led by influential men [and women] who were independent by creating their own clan
The Ways of Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices
Whenever most historians talk about the history and culture of the African people, they have inserted a false fact by trying to show that the Nguni(I guess they mean Zulu and who else? ...As if they are different from the Sothos and Tswanas-are the only people worth studying. In the Sesotho language the Word for "Nguni" is "Mokone".
The language of the '10 people' of South Africa makes the history, custom, culture, tradition and practices easy to understand, it speaks to and of the traditions and customs; the language and the meanings are contained within its accentuation and intonation, including deflections is a great historical recorder and keeper; it decodes and encodes discourse, effects meaning systems; the language of Africans in South Africa has paradigms, idioms, codes along with the history of the people embedded within the core of their languages.
In performing and living their culture, customs and traditions and customs, there are certain actions, observances, rituals, sayings and other related cultural artifacts' usage, behaviorism, drum beat music, Africans performers and performances, sayings and idioms, singing, linguistic gymnastics.
Or, the making of African beer for the ancestors, food of all sorts, slaughtering and sacrificing of certain beasts, consulting with their 'African Doctors, in matters concerning the instructions from their ancestors, the instruction relayed though the "Doctor" in matters of which they are dissatisfied with or suggestions of how families should deal and or live with certain social phenomena arising and causing social maladies and other related human concerns beyond their control.
Issues of magic and sorcery, instructions given to the "Doctors" on how to deal with those matters through the Doctor by the Ancestors. Africans need to know that all their social and cultural and linguistic utterances, activities or products are encoded, wired-into their biological, psychic, social and otherwise existence and reality, and they have signification(the denotative).
This culture understands and recognizes dissonance , cognition, rhetoric, cybernetics, entropy, messages, redundancies and so forth, that are apparent in their linguistic-cultural(Isiko/Setso)-customary, traditional and ceremonial mannerisms and behaviors and beliefs.
This is important to know, that there is no different "tribes" in South Africa, but a whole Nation of the Nguni/Bakone, no matter in what accents, context or diction it is uttered or said, or acted; all these 10 people adhere to the same customs, traditions, culture and practices which we shall look at closely in a short while.
The history of the Africans in South Africa can clearly be traced back to some 170,000 B.C.[of which a separate Hub is going to be written about this time period and pictures to go with it. Years ago, or even better, we can concretely trace it to between 1,000 to 13,000 AD
This has reset the historiography of South Africa because most this history was hidden and kept secret by the Apartheid regime, whilst lying that African people came into South Africa when they(Europeans) landed in the Cape in 1652, Jan Van Riebeeck, or 1492 or so with the passage of Vasco da Gama and Bartholomew Diaz. Some state that the Africans came and killed-off the Khoisan, and other such nonsense and ahistorical babble.
Before we breakdown the cultural, customary and traditional practices and ceremonies of Africans in South Africa, I would like to insert the background on the History of Mapungubwe ad their material culture which some so-called-experts state that it started around 1,000 and 13,000 years ago after the Christian era.
Well, as I have said above, the history of Africans in south Africa can now be traced back as far back as 160,000 years ago. This, as I have indicated, will be for another Hub in the immediate future.
Mapungubwe: As Nguni as You Like or Not
The Missing Link; African Historical and Cultural Renaissance
Mapungubwe is as important to African South African History and Cultural History, as is Egypt is important for the Whole of The history and culture of Africa. There is ample literature in the world that helps illuminate the culture of africans from derisive dismal which literally tried to write-off African Cultural history form the Map of World cultural history.
The Apartheid regime tried very hard to keep the history of the civilization of Mapungubwe, but with the changing of the regime, the ANC-led government demanded the material and historical cultural heritage of the area of Mapungubwe be made known public.
According to the official Website of The University of Pretoria, "The story of Mapungubwe's research and excavations is detailed and complicate because it has a long tradition that serves as the foundation o an African foundation that enables African people to be able to journey back into the past, where every rock and artifact was unearthed and studied and tried to learn about the secrets of the ancient civilization that was there.
"Over time, archeologists, botanists, geologists, paleontologists, anatomists, naturalist and many other scholars contributed,through their dedicated research, to the new understanding of prehistory and an in-depth studies of Iron Age communities in southern Africa."
In order for us to try and find the common themes of the culture of Mapungubwe, and the Cave paintings The outlying mountains around the Areas of Mapungubwe, along with those "Izintaba zika-Khahlamba"(Drakensberg Mountains) as being similar to the Nguni/Bakone people, and helping this research to show the similarities and sameness of the Nguni/Bakone culture, we will unpack the History of Mapungubwe. According to Basil Davidson:
The finds at Mapungubwe are important for two reasons: they were rich in skeletal material and in gold and other objects, and since no Ancient Ruins Company had plundered here, nearly all were undisturbed and could be examined where they lay. A table mountain of rough sandstone precipitous on every side, the hill of Mapungubwe is only one of many such hills amid the blue and ocherous solitude of Northern Transvaal.
It lies just south of the Limpopo River, which divides the modern states of South Africa and Southern Zimbabwe and south-eastern Botswana." The university of Pretoria's website picks up the story thus: "In the early 1930s, a teacher by the name of Emst van Graan heard rumors of riches at an ancient burial site in the far northern reaches of the country, known then as Northern Transvaal. Van Graan and his son Jerry and a group of friends pursued the legend of hidden treasure.
"White men of this unchartered country, mostly of Boer stock, had long heard people of the country, who were the forerunners of the Venda People of South Africa, who were talking about the buried treasures. Van Graan, on deciding to find the treasure, knew it would be difficult, for the people of the country had always thought of the Hill of Mapungubwe as taboo (some accounts said Africans wanted to keep it secret).
This remarkable story were in the end reported by van Graan were in the end reported by his son to his professor at the University of Pretoria. As a result of research finding, and in order to protect the site from looters and treasure seekers, the university sought and secured rights and custodianship of all material recovered.
The Parliament of the Union of South Africa was immediately informed about the importance on Mapungubwe that they in the end passed an Act for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments in 1934.On April 1933, The Illustrated London News reported a "Remarkable discovery in the Transvaal: a grave of unknown origin contain much gold work, found on the summit of a natural stronghold in a wild region."
With Mapungubwe's instant international recognition was set in motion a course that changed the course of South Africa's "prehistory," and therefore the beginnings of the Museum collection (see the Photo Gallery presented here for the readers viewing).
For historical record and reseting the moorings of African culture into clear cultural , customary and traditional historical perspective, we will review how and when the diggings took place and what happened. These phases have been provided for by the University of Pretoria
Phases of the Digs
- Phase one lasted from 1934 to 1940, when exploratory excavations by the University of Pretoria were followed by large-scale excavations which were conducted on the main site at Mapungubwe and K2. Due to Malaria and World War, these events stalled the excavation, and the excavation done in 1945 were only published in 1963;
- Phase two was intermittent, covering 1951 and limited excavations on the Southern Terrace during 1953 and 1954, and later in 1968 by the newly established Department of Archeology at the University of Pretoria. In the mid-1980s, the escalating bush war on the northern border of south Africa interrupted the fieldwork. During this phase, a reconnaissance visit to Mapungubwe by anthropologists for the University of Pretoria who were conducting oral ("This simply means they were getting oral history from the inhabitants of that area about the life of the people of Mapungubwe.[This will be further explored when writing about the 170,000 year history of South Africa in an upcoming Hub);
- Phase three lasted from 1970 to 1995, when detailed research concentration stratigraphic recording , specialized site documentation and interdisciplinary research into the human and cultural remains(Meaning, African cultural material). Mapungubwe and K2 were declared as national monuments by the then National Monuments Council. In the 1980s, measures taken to protect the stratified deposits, sites and artifacts by means of legislation and conservation procedures, coinciding in 1990 with the ideas of establishing a National Park;
- Phase four of the research lasted from 1996 to 1999, and included the official establishment of the National Park on 9 June 1995. This phase covered research pertaining to detailed studies on aspects related to settlement, chronology and human remains registered by the Department of Archeology and the Department of Anatomy with the South African National Parks as the new owners of Greefswald;
- Phase five began in 2000 and is regarded as the most important phase since the Mapungubwe Museum at the University of Pretoria was opened to the public in June 2000. In July 2003 Mapungubwe received National status, and it officially became known as Mapungubwe National Park in 2004. Research for the past decade have become museum collection.
The University of Pretoria, in its website gives us this partial history of Mapungbwe by stating that: "Hunter-gatherers of the Stone Age roamed the river plains and cave sandstone hills of the Limpopo Valley from time to time and left their stones tools there[I think that was their place of abode-from time immemorial]. Paintings in /rock Shelters and a few rock engravings are evidence of San hunter-gatherer communities in the Stone Age landscape.
"The first communities who made iron tool and clay pots might have arrived in the Central Limpopo Valley during the early Iron Age[I think that these people having lived there before 500 AD, might have evolved from stone to Iron usage by virtue of their having lived there much longer, and their interaction with the Monomotapa Civilization which covered areas from Maputo(Mozambique then) all the way to Angola]."
This part of African South African history is going to be made much more clearer with the Upcoming Hub updating this present Hub I am onto, in terms of timeline and historiography
It is important for the reader to be leery and wise about the history of Africa and how it becomes the history of Africans, not written by Africans, but by any other people, built or created by any other people , except for the Africans themselves. Basil Davidson writes. "Time and again the achievements of men in Africa - men of Africa - have been laid at the door of some mysterious but otherwise unexplained 'people from outside Africa.'
I"t is not only "Hamites" who have given scope fro the "inarticulate major premise" of an inherent African (or black) inferiority. Over the past fifty yeas or so, whenever anything remarkable or inexplicable has turned up in Africa, a whole galaxy of non-African (or at any rate non-black) peoples are dragged in to explain it. The Phoenicians are brought in to explain Zimbabwe in Rhodesia(Now Zimbabwe).
"The Egyptians are produced as the painters of the 'white lady' of Brandberg in South West Africa. Greeks or Portuguese are paraded as the inspirational teachers of those who worked in terra cotta and in bronze in mediaeval West Africa. Even the Hittites had had their day Yet everyone of these achievements and phenomena is how generally agreed to have had purely African origin."
I have cited Davidson above to make the point that, even the history of a place that has been ''discovered, and was unknown', paltry evidence and vague references are made of the inhabitants there, The Venda, Shona(of Zimbabwe) Pedi' and Tswana people is ever-so-slightly made vague and the people, whose oral tradition is what helped the researchers discover and know more about the place, fail to mention them in full, and the researchers fail to mention that the discovery of this 'mound', was made possible by the Vendas/Pedis/Tswanas and so on who regard the people of Mapungubwe as their ancestors.
Anyway, be that as it may, we pick up the historical narration from the University Pretoria who write: "The Iron Age sites at Mapungubwe and K2 were inhabited between 1000 AD and AD 1300. Archeologists believe that both sites were once capitals of the African Kings(Which?).
Unfortunately the habitants identity remains a mystery since this part of history goes back before written record and no known oral traditions can be recorded over a period of a thousand years, therefore, the inhabitants are merely known as the "Mapungubweans"(who named them?
Are there no Pedi or Venda inhabitants of the areas from whom this oral tradition was eked out from them? Are the people of Mapungubwe not Vendas of Pedis? What are the ramifications of answering that they were either or all of the people of the Venda, Pedi and Tswanas nations, on whose lands Mapungubwe land mass criss-crosses and intersects where the lands of these people fuse, and was where they lived?"
Davidson enlightens us as to how, and why the colonizers of lands and information present the history of Africa the way they do. The problems of backwardness and progress — even when and where these exist, and are more than the illusion of Eurocentric frames of thought — cannot be explained along these simple lines.
They cannot be explained along any racial lines, environment, nor race, provides the key. And that is why it will be found that even when African peoples have taken much from outside, at different times and places, their process of borrowing — whether of techniques or beliefs — has always undergone an adaptation, through environment and circumstance, into societies and cultures and civilizations which became specifically and uniquely African. Achievement and failure can be traced to the same complex and endlessly interesting source: the interplay of men and their environment…"
The Material Culture of Mapungubwe is that of the Nguni/Bakone
Unpacking The Mapungubwe Material Culture
Before we caricature the material culture of Mapungubwe, one needs to point out that the similarities of this culture, though it be made of gold, glass and porcelain, baked clay being glossed , and their workings on steel, the reader should be reminded that the very nature and forms that these unearthed material culture can still be found amongst the various and present 10 peoples' of South Africa who still design them in one form or another.
Most of the information about Mapungubwe was provided for by the inhabitants of South Limpopo, and these people were the Tswanas, Pedis, Vendas and Shonas. According to Andre Meyer, "Current research shows that the Kingdoms of K2 and Mapungubwe contributed to the current indigenous knowledge systems of the local communities in that region." Meyer adds: "Mapungubwe and K2 are often referred to in current public debate.
"They are prominent heritage elements within politicians' vision of the expected 'African Renaissance'. The gold funerary objects and numerous other artifacts, the exceptional stratification, settlement features and settlement sequence are fundamental to their value as heritage sites that represent "African History" of almost a millennium ago."
Maryna Steyn wrote this for her abstract: "Skeletons form the Mapungubwe complex or sites form the largest single collection of Iron Age Human remains in Southern Africa, and are thus excellently suited for study of a whole population."
She further writes: "In this paper, an attempt is made not only to use the more traditional approach of determining population affinity, but also to assess various aspects of life-style. Issues such as the general health status of the population, demographic profile and dietary analysis are addressed. It is proposed that the unusual distribution, with an excess of juveniles, is due to rapid population growth rather than selective burial practices.
Generally speaking, the people from K2 and Mapungubwe seem to have been relatively healthy, and this is attributed to their reliance on cattle herding as a supplement to food cultivation. Incidence of tooth decay point to an agriculturist as opposed to a hunter-gatherer diet. Analysis of population affinity basically confirms the conclusion of some earlier researchers, that K2 people should be grouped with the South African African spectrum of peoples."
Pointing out the fact that K2 and Mapungubwe, will require the scholars of African history to read all related literature, cull and deduce from the knowledge and cast a well rounded history of the peoples of African descent in South Africa. For example in their abstract Munyaradzi Manyanaga, Innocent Pikirayi and Webber Ndoro inform us as follows:
"Recent research in the south-eastern region of Zimbabwe shows that it was intensively occupied during the early second millennium AD. The hot, dry climate, the low, variable rainfall and the presence of tsetse fly have always been viewed as a major deterrent to human occupation in this low-veld territory. [Although tis was mere speculation]
"Archeological surveys have produced a range of sites, including Zimbabwe tradition stone walls, two 'Iron Age' sites were excavated and the analysis of faunal and floral data gives pointers as to what happened between the decline of the state once based at Mapungubwe in the middle Limpopo Valley and the rise of Zimbabwe to the North." [This also need to be clarified, verified and elaborated upon]
Cultural Loot Identification
Mapungubwe is a Venda term which means "place Where Jackals Eat" because the land was littered with human bones which attracted these scavengersIt is important that at this juncture to briefly cite Brian Fagan who writes: The Archeological Committee appointed G.A. Gardner as director of excavations. He worked on the ranch for six long seasons between 1935 and 1940, concentrating initially on K2, and later excavating a large trench at the Western end of Mapungubwe Hill."
The second volume of Mapungubwe was published 23 years later(due to Apartheid laws that were in-force to deny African people their true history). The material culture of Mapungubwe was saved from being looted and sacked when academicians like Prof. Fouche were working on it and tried to protect its material culture.
"Talking about Mapungubwe, Brian Fagan writes: "Immediately to the south of Mapungubwe is Bambadyanalo Hill, to the south-west of which lies the settlement named Bambandyanalo or K2 Stratigraphical profiles have revealed that the occupants settled in the Bambandyanalo Valley, and, by successive or continuous occupations, accumulated the mound of habitat.
Graan and his friends found large pieces of plate gold and some of them shaped; also, they foundation debris that survives today. The center of the village was used as a cattle kraal, around which the houses were built."
Basil Davidson informs us that,
"Working on his own in 1934, one of the excavators, Van Tonder, uncovered an extensive grave area and was able to hand to scientific judgement a large quantity of gold and other metal objects as well as the fragments of twenty-three — the first fully authenticated and more or less preserved 'royal burial ground" of pre-European times in southern Africa(and in South Africa, in particular).
"One of these skeletons was associated with another seventy ounces of gold in various forms, and a third had its legs "wreathed in over a hundred bangles constructed of coiled wire"-[see photo gallery]. Several pieces of beautifully worked gold plating were also found, as well as about a thousand gold beads."
"The term 'African Renaissance' carries great resonance, but for historians and archeologists the question will inevitably arise: "What was the original African "Golden Age" that will inspire the Renaissance - the rebirth of society and culture — in the new millennium?" The European Renaissance, emerging out of the "dark" Middle Ages, invoked as its vision the "Golden Age" drawn from the classical cultures of Greece and Rome."
"What is it that southern Africa[South Africa in particular) can call upon in the postcolonial era to serve as an appropriate model from the past. According to Archeologist Tim Maggs, in 2000, simply stated: "It is Mapungubwe." (Jane Carruthers)
Carruthers furthers her point in this manner:"This is reflected also in the symbolism projected by the Order of Mapungubwe, a national decoration that recognizes excellence in science and creativity.
Of this, Mapungubwe is an indigenous example. Its claim to technological brilliance is the indigenous production of wrought gold, ironically and industry generally much maligned in South African history because its demand for cheap unskilled labor meant a level of coercion that played the major role in this integration of traditional African community structures(Making them dysfunctional), and the consolidation of racial segregation.
The ANC need to make use of the issue of Mapungubwe to meet its Capitalist tendencies, is what some people says. Yet Carruthers writes: "Mapungubwe is an appropriate symbol because it salutes an early modern, technologically advanced state and economy that existed in the region long before the era of colonization.
For South Africa, Mapungubwe is an important contemporary economic and cultural driver: it is well suited for birding and botanizing; it needs to be interpreted(as South African African, of course); access by the people of South Africa should be made readily accessible and information broken-down the meet the need-to-know reality; as Mr. Romokone asserted: "Limpopo is the home of Mapungubwe, the home of civilizationFestivals and arts have begun to put Mapungubwe on the International map."
This is the right time to give some 'kudos' to the African National Congress. Carruthers informs us thus: "Before coming to power in 1984, the policies of the African National Congress, the Congress of the South African Trade Unions and south African Communist Party were based on a vision of a classless society, entrenching workers' rights and [were going to be] instituting anti-capitalist program of nationalization.
Some rhetoric of this kind remains despite the introduction of GEAR(Growth, Employment and Redistribution) and government policy certainly aims to try to reduce the gap between rich and poor." Although I might cite Carruthers and utilize her observations to help support some part of may narrative, I disagree with her when she states that, "Technology, mining, international trade, environmental and human 'exploitation' and 'capitalist accumulation are integral to the cultural landscape that is World Heritage Mapungubwe."
I have given sketches of the culture of African people and in it tried to portray the way of life, culture and economy of Africans in south Africa, thus my reasons for negating what Carruthers asserts. What the ANC decides to embark on as their state national policies within South Africa, does not mean the whole population of South Africa is what the ANC cadre behave-like.
Since, up to this point, many writes are still depended on he local Venda, Pedi, Tswana and Shona people for some of their oral History, one cannot impugn from the material culture that the civilization of Mapungubwe was"Capitalist," because it supposedly used 'cheap or slave labor'(supposedly "must"have taken place-but still no proof of this has been forth-coming)).
Below we will be discussing the Practices, Customs, Traditions and ceremonies of the Nguni, which in effect are key to understanding the Africa South African culture, customs, traditions of the Nguni, whom we have expansively discussed above in the Hub, and the fact that they are the same, and Mapungubwe was the epitome and zenith of their civilizing and being made a civilization by the existence of the Culture of Mapungubwe.
The civilization of Mapungubwe has provided us with the following, according to the University of Pretoria:
Mapungubwe's Material Culture is African South African
- Mapungubwe: Stratigraphic pages of African(South Africans) History. Mapungubwe Hill is a sandstone hill with vertical cliffs and a flat top approximately 30 m high and 300, long. A substantial deposit with layers of soil covers it; remains of floors, burnt houses and household refuse(What?). The southern terrace below was inhabited from around AD 1030 to AD 1290(about 260 years). The hill top was inhabited for about 70 years from AD 1220 to AD 1290. These dates will be doubled-checked with the availability of new research information (See first or main[Hub] picture in photo gallery).
- The Cultural Landscape: Settlement and cultural sequence in the Limpopo. According to the University of Pretoria Website, "hunters-gatherers" of the stone Age [lived] on the river plains and cave sands on the hills of the Limpopo Valley for a very long time. Evidence of paintings in rock shelters engravings was proof that the San people tarried there, too. [by the year 500 AD the communities in Mapungubwe were already making iron tools and clay pots right into the Early Iron age] Those that now live around the Limpopo River, the Batswana, Bapedi, Vendas and Shonas, are a left over of the people of Mapungubwe, that when it disintegrated, some of the inhabitants of that civilization were well mixed-up or intermarried with their Nguni Folks, and these were one community with the Nguni/Bakone people of the contemporary African communities of modern South Africa.[My point here is what if the San people were living at the same time with the people of Mapungubwe as they do with us today?]
- The Settlements: Mapungubwe is the site of three royal graves and was the center of terraced settlement. Stonewalls buttressed the slopes and homesteads were scattered [all] around. The King and his soldiers lived near the hill and lived in [a communal setting with their people, examples of this life-style can be gleaned from those of the Nguni/Bakone People, with their variation and sameness] . The neighboring village of K2 is the large central refuse site, from which archeologists have been able to glean an assorted information. Human remains from various graves indicate that these communities enjoyed a healthy, varied diet. People were prosperous and kept domesticated cattle, sheep, goats and dogs. The charred remains of storage hut have also been found, showing that millet, sorghum and cotton were cultivated.
- Technology and Trade: Findings on Mapungbwe are typical of iron age. Smiths created objects of iron, copper and gold for practical purposes — both for local use and for trade. Pottery, wood, ivory, bone. ostrich eggshell, and the shells of snails and fresh water mussels indicate that many other materials[Which ones specifically?] were used and traded with cultures as far away as East, North and South Africa, Persia, Egypt, India and China. Imported glass beads(and maybe made locally)? Were obtained in exchange of skins(ivory? Gold?) [Some additional information is still needed on this accounts.]
- African Farming Communities and Kingdoms: Traditions, subsistence, technology and Trade. The traditions of African farming communities were central to their social life, settlement patterns, animal husbandry, agriculture, technology and trade. Many of these cultural aspects are reflected in the remains from K2 and Mapngubwe. A traditional african village is organized around family relationships, and creates household activity areas and places for special social occasions such as initiation schools and religious, traditional and customary ceremonies. The close relationship of the villages with their cattle is often symbolized by the position of the cattle kraal in the village. The domestic animals kept by African Iron age(people of Mapungubwe) included sheep, cattle, goats and dogs. The Mapungibweans cultivated plants such as varieties of sorghum,millet an beansThe people of Mapungubwe were skilled miners metal and other metallurgical knowledge. Some of the evidence can be found in numerous gold mines in Zimbabwe and there are many tin and copper mines.
- K2 - An Iron Age Site: At the foot of Bamandyanalo Hill. K2 is 1 km southwest of Mapungubwe Hill in a mall valley surrounded by cliffs. G.A. Gardner, who excavated there during the 1930s, named K2. Between AD 1030 and AD 1220, for nearly 200 years, many generations of farming people lived at K2. The main site of about 5 hectares includes the remains of a central homestead area, a central cattle kraal and a central midden, surrounded by smaller homesteads.
- Evidence Of Daily Life At K2: K2 is a particularly large Iron Age site with vast deposits containing a wealth of artifacts such as glass beads and pottery, often found in the numerous graves of the villagers. Huge quantities of bone fragments from slaughtered domestic animals and burnt seeds of domesticated plants such as sorghum and bullrush millet indicate that the K2 people were successful farmers. They were healthy people due to their nutritious diet. They were skilled craftsmen who produced characteristic pottery, large glass beads, tools and body ornaments of iron, copper bangles and figurines of humans and domesticated animals. They hunted elephants and traded the ivory for glass and other porcelain objects via the East African coast by traders such as the Swahili and so on.
- Gold Symbols: The gold objects from Mapungubwe graves, such as the rhinoceros, scepter and bowl(See picture gallery), were originally gold sheet or foil covering wooden carvings. The gold sheet was folded around the wooden core and held in place with tacks. In some cases, the gold cover was decorated with punched indentations or incised lines. Some of these objects, such as the scepter and rhinoceros. Were 'possibly' symbols associated with a person of special significance or high status, such as a King(as we have argued above that Africans had Kings, and the use of 'chiefs' in naming them was underdevelopment of African culture). The person was eventually buried with these objects in accordance with traditional culture, customs, social and religious beliefs. Numerous beads and bangles from graves on Mapungubwe Hill indicate that some members of the community adorned themselves with different types of golden jewelry.
- Clay Artifacts: Many objects were made of fired clay, or pottery. They were used for various purposes, some still unknown. Human figurines, usually with an elongated body and stumps for heads, arms and legs, were common at K2. They are often decorated with incisions or rows of dots. Some are highly simplified, like the conical figurine found at Mapungubwe. Animal figurines, mostly from K2,include cattle, sheep, goats, giraffe, etc. The conical figurines often found at Mapungubwe had some symbolic significance. Some everyday practical items include spoons, whistles, a funnel and spindle whorls used in production of cotton cloth. Large pottery beads and mould were used to manufacture large cylindrical glass beads, known as garden roller beads.
- Artifacts Of Animal Origin: The Mapungubweans adorned themselves with numerous beads made of ostrich eggshells, large land snails, bone and ivory. They wore bracelets made of ivory, decorated their "clothes" and hair with pins made of bone and ivory, and wore perforated cowrie shells imported from the East. Some of the inhabitants of Mapungubwe made and used polished bone arrowheads and arrows used by the San, and Khoi. Some bone arrowheads from Mapungubwe have flattened front ends into which iron tips were fitted. The people used awls and flat needles made of bone, to manufacture clothes and from animal skins.
- Glass Beads: Traditions and Trade. Thousand of glass beads have been found in the middens and graves at K2 and Mapungubwe. Burial customs show that children and adults wore strings of beads in a traditional African way(Needs to be made specific-more research will still be done on this material culture).
- K2 people manufactured large beads, known as garden rollers. Whole and broken trade glass beads were melted and the molten glass wound into a prefabricated clay mould to set. The clay mould was then broken to remove the new garden roller glass bead. These are the oldest glass objet made in South Africa.
- Besides the rich cultural heritage of the Mapungubwe, most of the continents big game roam here. There is also a tremendous diversity of plant and animal life, and this will make for the place to be a serious and main attraction to tourists to South Africa.
Thus far, I have tried and attempted to cover the basic undergirding and solid foundational pillars of the Culture, Customs, Traditions, Practices and Ceremonies of the Nguni/Bakone People in South Africa, and asserting that it is one and same culture, and that Mapungubwe was the highlight of their civilization and culture.
If one were to carefully study the culture of the people of Mapungubwe, in order for the social life of the inhabitants of this civilization to make sense, it will be best to look as several customary, traditional and cultural facts of and about the Nguni/Bakone people of South Africa much more closely so's to get a sense of how these cultures are one with the culture of Mapungubwe.
This will also help us to debunk and deconstruct all the lies that have been written about the Africans of South Africa and their culture. This hub is written from the perspective of Africans in South Africa, laying down and re-claiming and rewriting their culture and by wrestling it away from the clutches and interpretations of the colonialists and imperialists information and knowledge peddlers.
It is important that the 'lived historical and cultural experiences" of the Nguni/Bakone are consulted with and this will enable us to see that the culture is one, diverse and that there are no differences nor differentness about the African South African culture, at all. But, firstly, I would like to establish the fact that the civilization of Mapungubwe was a South African African culture.
Nguni/Bakone High Culture
Mpaungubwe is Usa African South African; We are descendants of Mapungubwe
The full story of the civilization of Mapungubwe is still being told and researched. I will now discuss the outside parameters of this biggest civilization in Southern Africa, akin to Egypt, in its glories, riches and advancement, technology and trade, peculiar and distinctly African specifically African South African(this, as I have alluded above, is going to be covered in the upcoming Hub which dates South african history, culture and archeology way back to 170,000 years BC).
The information shed on this hub is about the Civilization of Mapungubwe as African South African. "What in any case is certain is that the men of Mapungubwe had evolved a complex Iron Age culture no different in its essence from similar phases of civilization elsewhere. Defended by their strong system of fortified kopjes to east and west, with the river on one side of them and the ranges of the Zoutpansberg on the other, these Lords of Mapungubwe in their solitary splendor throw down a curious challenge to posterity."(Davidson)
Much of the literature written on this subject seeks to ignore the local Nguni/Bakone Culture and the information it has to provide in regard to the Culture of Mapungubwe. So that, "One cannot understand and know the culture, traditions, customs and practices of the Nguni/Bakone people when one does not know about the civilization of Mapungubwe; likewise, one cannot know, understand and appreciate the culture, customs, traditions and practices of Mapungubwe if one does not know, understand, respect and appreciate the cultures, traditions, customs and practices of the Nguni/Bakone people.".
South African archeology, like any segment of our newly democratized country, lives under the expectation of transformation. But it has not actualized nor realized this expectation. In the new political dispensation, South African archeology remains untransformed. The hosting of the World Archeological Congress in Cape Town was done with the view that social and political transformation were occurring and would inevitably have an effect on archeology (Gero, 1999; Hall, 1990; Ucko, 1990).
Sadly this has not been so. Even though both men and women of European descent have played recognized and important roles in South African archeology, the academic participation of Africans has been minimal. This exclusion has not involved formal qualification only (Shepher, 2005), but extends to restricting or preventing access to archeological sites for ritual purposes (Loubser and Dowson, 1987; Ndlovu, 2003, 2004, 2005; Ouzman, 1999; Rudner and Rudner, 1970; Taruvinga, 1995.
There has also been significant lack of acknowledgement in any official accounts of roles played by African people, such as excavators, domestic servants, and interpreters (Shepherd, 2003b). Yet, these are the men and women 'who dug, sieved, sorted, located sites and finds, fetched and carried, pitched camp, cooked and served food, negotiated with local chiefs and suppliers, and assisted in the interpretation of artifacts and events , yet who remain unacknowledged in official accounts of the discipline' (Hodderb; see Langford, 1983; Shepherd 2003b;334).
Challenges were not only about receiving acknowledgement but also about salaries paid to local laborers (Hall, 2001), [and informants]). Unlike those who advocate certain disciplines over other and all that type of real-politicking, I have chosen to explore the line of history-do everything to try and glue together the civilization of Mapungubwe and the Nguni/Bakone Culture.
What I am about to do below, is to shred and breakdown, in an explanatory way, the culture of Africans and in the process try to show how common everything one clan does it is to the other Nguni/Bakone clans of the 10(ten) peoples of South Africa. In practice, Apartheid was an ideology of violence in that it sanctioned the full use of the coercive powers of the state to preserve racial domination.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Fanonesque apocalypse: anti-colonial revolution in which the colonized seek to put into practice, through cathartic violence, the precept that, "The last shall be first and first shall be last. African South African intellectual have by and large shunned extreme views" of this kind, yet at the rank-and-file level of the African political movements, and nowadays in the Townships and Shanty Towns, undercurrents of such thinking have always run strong and are still doing so to-date.
Before we flesh out the culture of the Africans, we can take some lessons from Fanon about what the oppressed people can do and what will motivate them to act against their oppressors. Based on his observations as a psychiatrist during the Algerian revolution, Fanon described the mind of the oppressed as set in a Manichean mold: everything pertaining to the colonizers is evil, everything about the oppressed is good.
Morality and truth are defined to serve the cause of the oppressed. Truth is that which hurries on the break-up of the colonialist regimeIt is all that protects the native, and ruins the foreigners. In this colonialist context there is no truthful behavior; and the good is quite simply that which is evil for them. The masses have an intuition that their liberation can only be achieved by violence, for violence is the only thing capable of breaking the colonizer's power.
Moreover,the oppressed since their own emotional health can only be restored through violence At the level of individuals, violence is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect. Notions of evolutionary change only inspire his cynical contempt, for he sees them as transparent ploys to buy his time for his oppressors.
His objective is simple: eliminate the oppressor, "them," the colonizers who have stolen his land and crushed his manhood. The native is in fact ready at a moment's notice to exchange the role of the quarry for that of the hunter. The native is an oppressed person whose permanent dream is to become the persecutor. ...
As his political sophistication grows he comes to realize that intellectual and bourgeois members of his own race are seeking ways to depolarize the struggle; but he still finds it difficult to consider any middle ground of compromise in the present or reconciliation in the future.
The Africans of South Africa are aware of the fact that when they sought Freedom in their struggles against apartheid, the incoming ANC-led government has given not even given them democracy. It is this undemocratic democracy that they are now living under that they have now realized that they had been hoodwinked and told lies, on top of the unfulfilled promises made to them by the present ANC government.
So that, when a hub of this nature is being written, what should be borne in mind is the fact that African people will reclaim their Freedom, as is now happening in North Africa-also, they will take over their cultures, and Hubs like these will provide the rudder to that destined end-Cultural reclaiming and perpetuation of their reality as it is their destiny to do so.
Cultural Material's Nitty-Gritty
For centuries the rich History of South Africa dating back to more than 1000 years was hidden from its people. The fact that the Nguni/Bakone peoples of the region had a highly civilized existence hundreds of years before the first Europeans arrived was simply too much to bear[especially for the settlers, colonizers and Imperialistic Europe and America]. Mapungubwe then, is a testimony of a civilization that existed and flourished years before European occupation.
Also, the findings in Mapungubwe provided evidence contrary to the racist ideology of African inferiority that underpinned Apartheid. As already indicated above, the Apartheid regime remained tightlipped for more than 40 years, specifically about Mapungubwe. The evidence was only made public a few years after the first democratically elected government came into power in 1994.
In fact, in the annals of African history, this subject has been written and talked about, so that, this does not mean the historical community was not aware, but I concede that maybe' in South Africa, ordinary Africans did know much if anything about Mapungubwe, And this Hub is now going to make it possible for the first time that the ordinary African South African man has a chance of knowing about the civilization of Mapungubwe and its relevance to African South African culture, customs, history, tradition, languages, rites and practices.
We now know that Mapungubwe was the most advanced culture which can be traced back from 800 AD to around1400 AD. It was the center of the largest civilization in the sub-continent, from where the Mapungubweans traded in gold and ivory(as noted above).
Carbon-dating back as far back as the 1950s, nearby Bambandyanalo it was settled for more than 300-400 years, seemingly, before Mapungubwe(still to be determined). It means that b