Culture not just skin deep – DA leader
DA KWAZULU-NATAL provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango believes South Africans are slowly eroding their authentic heritage as many turn away from their cultural practices, which some describe as being “uncivilised”.
“Heritage is not an occasion where we all dress up and take pictures. Often you find people in urban areas frowning at the forefathers’ cultural practices, not realising it is part of their identity,” he said.
Mncwango, who holds a Master’s degree in business administration, said Heritage Month should be used to reflect on how people could stay true to their roots and use lessons from those that came before them to find African solutions to modern problems.
He blamed apartheid and colonialism for brainwashing Africans into thinking their culture was inferior and something they needed to rid themselves of.
“Being educated does not mean we should neglect the practices of our great-grandfathers – we can improve on the way they did things, but we can’t ignore that their ways worked.
“For example, if you look at how they dealt with poverty, a well-off family would lend a cow to a disadvantaged neighbour so they could get milk and their children would not go to bed starving, but today we are quick to judge our neighbours who cannot afford things, and call them lazy.”
Mncwango said there was a misconception that political ideology was linked to culture when the former was not linked to one’s identity. He said many were shocked when they saw him donning his Zulu animal skin gear because they assumed that he only wore suits since he was the leader in the DA.
“I believe strongly in liberalism because it says I respect my culture, but I must also respect yours. There should be no attempt to convert people into something that they are not, just because that is deemed acceptable.
“Embrace people for who they are, don’t feel threatened by what you don’t know, but make an effort to learn about them because we are all South African,” he added.
DA Kwazulu-natal provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango embraces his culture and dons traditional skins.