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Young people in Grahamstown are speaking out loud and clear about their lives and their expectations. Just before international Mother Tongue Day, and the start of the Puku isiXhosa Story Festival, 21-26 February 2017, four Grahamstown schoolgirls who participate in the Awarenet programme speak about storytelling in isiXhosa culture.
Ukufundisa abantu abalapha eRhini ukuqubha kubalulekile kakhulu ngoba xa abantu balapha bephuma besiya ezindaweni ezinamalwandle bayatshona. Lonto ayonto intle. Bekufuneke umasipala walapha enze icebo xa kungekho malwandle, azame ukwenza i-swimming pool. Kwezo swimming pool afune abanolwazi ngokuqubha, abobanolwazi bafundise abangakwaziyo ukuqubha, ingalicebo elihle kakhulu nezinga labantu abatshonayo lingahla. Ukuqubha kubalulekile kakhulu empilweni yakho. Xa uqubha iyafana ingathi uyajima kwaye uyakwazi ukomelela ubenamandla. Ukubanomonde kubalulekile kakhulu ngoba xa uqala uqubha kufuneke uzithobe ungangxami. Nalomntu oqeqeshayo ukuqubha abe nendlela yothetha nokufundisa ukuqubha. Sifuna uluntu okanye umasipala alungise lengxaki yabantu abangakwaziyo ukuqubha ukuze ulutsha lonke lukwazi ukuqubha.
nguSinesipho Goduka noAndiswa Ntete
Storytelling and Xhosa Culture
Storytelling is an ancient art: it has been around since our ancestors sat around the fire and told stories to their grandchildren.
It was used to make children look forward to bedtime because that's when most of the stories were told.
It's a interesting way to teach children about their culture and improve their language and listening skills. Moreover, research reveals that telling stories to children makes them do better academically.
It's important for Xhosa people to tell stories because it is a part of our customs and rituals which are known as amasiko nezithethe.
Sadly, many Xhosa people today tend to follow new customs and religions, forgetting the important lessons storytelling gave them about their origin and culture.
They no longer remember the ancient times when society was more equal, as everyone had cattle, praised Qamata and their ancestors and cared less about gold and money.
We in the born-free generation have therefore become strangers to our great-grandparents, who are now our ancestors.
Knowing where you come from does not mean returning to the past, but being better equipped for the future. The fact that many of us are poor and struggling to meet our daily needs should not prevent us from practising our culture; there is always a time for a story.
So even though we have electricity, we sometimes need to give our TVs a break and go back to our roots by sitting around a fire to tell stories.
Through storytelling you will remember your ancestors: don’t embrace everything that was bought by colonisation, but use your past to strengthen your future. So if you think reading stories is outdated, think again!
By Sinesipho Soxujwa and Simnikiwe Mooi