Colourful celebration

Our early South African arrivals, the Khoikhoi people which means the real people, helped to begin create our heritage. The Khoisan people formalised the day through their art and style of living. The Heritage day is fairly new in our calendar but truth is the Khoisan people were the first to gift the creation of this day. The art today is evident all over the places they lived. The early European visitors entered South Africa and, so were African groups who had already inherited South Africa, just to mention a few Xhosa’s, Zulu’s and Basotho’s.

All the groups worked to their best, teaching themselves all the skills and putting into thought all that would be beneficial for the next generations. It was during this time that proverbs, songs, idioms, stories and many other valuable teachings were developed. Today we are grateful to the many dance styles we have inherited, the popular snake dance started by the Khoisan people, taken further by the Ndebelas and many more. We all find ourselves partaking in all our styles of dance and clothes that we have self designed.

The thought behind these creations is rich even today. The people enjoyed all that surrounded them, our confirmation Psalm 136: 21. The Khoisan their attraction to the moon which may have been viewed as the physical manifestation of a supreme being associated with heaven, to add a few of us on how we call God, Tsongas, Xhikwembu, Batswana, Rara. The day today reminds me also of a story that was shared by my grandmother to me as a little girl, without educational background but knew these tales. This was another way for her to teach me about the future and things that I needed to be aware of. I trust that many today as they read this reflection will come to remember more of these treasured stories. This is our history and achievements. One of my favourite of these folklores was:

Cloud Eating

Jackal and Hyena were together, it is said, when a white cloud rose. Jackal descended upon it, and ate of the cloud as if it were fat. When he wanted to come down, he said to Hyena, “My sister, as I am going to divide with thee, catch me well”. “So she caught him, and broke his fall. Then she also went up and ate there, high up on the top of the cloud. When she was satisfied, she said, “My greyish brother, now catch me well. “The greyish rogue said to his friend, “My sister, I shall catch thee well. Come therefore down”. He held up his hands, and she came down from the cloud, and when she was near, Jackal cried out (painfully jumping to one side), “My sister, do not take it ill. Oh me! Oh me! A thorn has pricked me and sticks in me. “Thus she fell down above, and was sadly hurt. Since that day, is said that Hyena’s hind feet have been shorter and smaller than the front ones.

Ms Puleng Matsaneng
B.A. (Johannesburg)

Puleng works in Spirituality and researches Ignatian Spirituality in an African context. Her area of speciality is in exploring how African themes and practices of spirituality dialogue with the Western traditions, and how that is understood in relation to Ignatian Spirituality. She has looked at how Ignatian Spirituality can be integrated into the African worldview. Most especially, how the use of song and storytelling can be part of the prayer process. She is currently managing retreats in daily life and training prayer guides. Puleng is also involved in ongoing Spiritual Direction, giving 8-day and 30-day retreats. Her latest venture is a pilot programme of healing workshops that use the principles of Ignatian Spirituality.

p.matsaneng@jesuitinstitute.org.za
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