Cul­ture not just skin deep – DA leader

Sunday Tribune - - NEWS - NOKUTHULA NTULI

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.

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