Worshipping God through action
HE Raam Bhajan, which is dedicated to Lord Venkataswara, patron deity of the Telegu people and whose abode is in the Thirumala Hills in Thirupati, has been brought to this country by our forefathers from the villages of Andhra Pradesh.
They came from Visakhapatnam, Ummalada, Annakapalli, Guntur, Kakinada, Voltaire, Yenkipalam, Dubbupalam and many other villages.
They brought with them the rich Andhra culture and tradition, the cuisine and the music.
The Raam Bhajan performed in these villages was one such festival that to this day continues to be celebrated here in our own homes and temples.
Sitting at the Durban Exhibition Centre on Saturday and listening to the beautiful rendition of the Raam Bhajans in praise of Lord Rama transported me back to our own settlements where most Telugu-speaking people resided.
Places like Puntans Hill, Rossburgh, Stella Hill, Seaview, Mount Edgecombe, Illovo and Clairwood.
The Raam Bhajan was usually performed during the month of Purtassi and in those days it used to be an all-night prayer from 6pm to 6am, but because of security issues, these days it ends by midnight.
Groups of people, usually men, dance around a brass lamp with branches all lit up with lamps and decorated with marigold flowers.
This lamp is called the Bhajan Chettu, and some families still possess and treasure this, as it was brought by their forefathers from their ancestral villages.
This year, in addition to our local groups, it was good to see youngsters coming all the way from Gauteng, Coolaire Dalton and Mauritius, adding an international flavour to the festival.
Praise must go to Lenny and Menon Naidoo and their team of dedicated men and women who have worked tirelessly since June 2016 to make this year’s festival a resounding success.
Not forgetting the women who fried thousands of the traditional sweet offerings, which are commonly called “Buru Mookulu” or “Woorunder”.
They are a must at all Raam Bhajans and an Andhra delicacy.
We are fortunate in this country to have organisations in all linguistic groups, who come hell or high water and will continue to uphold what was passed on by our ancestors.
We must also support publications like POST, which I’m sure will continue to report on the Indian diaspora.
Women from the Effingham/Greenwood Park Andhra Sabha, from left: Narishnee Naidoo, Aariya Naidoo, Bash Naidoo, Sharminey Naidoo, Vivecca Naidoo and Padmini Naidu.
Members of the Mauritius Telugu Maha Sabha.
Songbird Vijayluxmi Balakrishna and troupe.
Formalising the cultural bond between South Africa and Mauritius are from left, Mrs Latchayya, Lenny Naidoo, Shashank Vikram, Consul-General of India in Durban, Harris Naidoo and Krish Naidoo, president of the Andhra Maha Sabha of SA
New York bound Miss India South Africa Supriya Soorju and Empress India South Africa Ruzelle Govender, who was crowned on Sunday night at the Lyric Theatre, Johannesburg.
The East Rand Raam Bhajan Group.
Members of the Hari Narayana Bhajana Mandiram.