Inxiwa Narrative Changes Young People’s Perception of Villages

Zukisani Ndwendwe

A young person resurrects young people’s zeal to possess land

The discovery of gold and the genesis of manufacturing houses have given rise to urban migration. A great deal of people abandoned rural areas and land that their ancestors toiled for, to seek “greener pastures “in big cities.

Fertile lands in villages have become desolate due to a narrow view which the youth have about the rural life. The embellished notion about the correlation between big cities and prosperity perpetuates the idea that rural life equates to no life.

Among, AmaXhosa, especially in rural areas the idea of owning inxiwa (a site) used to be of paramount importance. This was so due to the fact that it marked the state of maturity and independence. However, the perception of urban areas as a conduit through which one can accumulate wealth has stripped the youth of the desire to value land possession.

Zukisani Ndwendwe, is an Eastern Cape descendent whose tent is currently pitched in Cape Town. His site is situated in Mafini under Libode District. Ndwendwe, as a person who’s familiar with villages and what they could offer, uses his Facebook account to lay bare its overlooked riches.

Inxiwa is not a term that one can claim to have coined; it is as old as IsiXhosa language. However, Ndwendwe has revealed another angle by unpacking its implicit features. Ndwendwe’s Facebook post which are centered on the possession of land and advancement of rural economy, has earned him the title of a ‘Rural Economy Activist’. With a morsel of skepticism, he said, “I’m actually not sure why they gave me this title, but I guess it’s because there’s no day I don’t post about ways of developing rural economy”.

Ndwendwe, advocates for ownership of sites among young people especially those in the rural areas. He holds a firm conviction that, if owning a site is made fashionable, this will translate a different perspective that youngsters often associate with rural areas. Thereby encouraging them to start thinking about developing rural areas and elevate its economy to greater heights other than migrating to urban areas.  

Ndwendwe’s advocacy for rural economy development stems from his belief that, “The only way we can live better is by advancing what our grandparents and parents have been using to make a living, which is farming and trading.”

The landscape of rural areas is rich and one can only be acquainted with that reality if they change their single idea of rural areas. “In the rural area, you get everything fresh in the garden and you pay nothing and land is affordable compared to urban areas,” said Ndwendwe.

For rural areas to advance and for its economy to develop, there has to be a paradigm shift in the manner in which young people view rural areas. Viewing rural life as life of no consequence is the fundamental problem, therefore, young people need to rid their minds of such a view

 Through, this narrative, Ndwendwe seeks to, “Better the life of the rural areas by opening job opportunities and also to see all young people being in control and owning assets, in that way we will alleviate poverty and build a new future for the next generation,” said Ndwendwe.

Ndwendwe, concluded with an affirming statement that, “Now is the time to start developing ways of making our lives better in the rural areas,”

By Vuyokazi Mdlungu