Tailoring their cultures to economic opportunities
Urbanisation and Western influence has been lambasted for being the chief root for the deterioration of African cultures and pride. However, the young people of Askeaton, in Cala refused to let their culture, the one aspect of their lives that defines their very sense of being to vanish without a trace.
Phumelele Mahlombe; the chairman of Sakhingomso Youth Development Forum together with the organisation’s members took upon themselves the responsibility to organise this event in the closing of the heritage month. This event permits Africans to embrace their roots, to preserve and celebrate their respective cultures.
For Sakhingomso members, the event does not only mark cultural celebrations but they infused an economical and educational aspect to it.
“Building socio-economically empowered communities through arts and culture” reads their motto.
Sakhingomso as a youth development forum seeks to uproot the tendency of overlooking raw talents that young people possess.
The forum hosts heritage day events every year, with the aim of rekindling what it means to be an African beyond the confines of ethnicity.
‘’We host this event to snatch the youth off the streets and assist them to recognise their inherent talents by affording them a platform to showcase their aptitude,’’ said Mahlombe. He added that these annual events also help ramp up rural tourism because the contenders erect stalls showcasing and selling their handmade products to spectators.
Among many things, Sakhingomso strives to nurture and transform the youths’ natural talents into economic activities, to promote diversity, social cohesion, educate the youth about African norms and values and to dismantle ethnic chauvinism.
Different ethnic groups graced the event with their presence, to showcase what they do best in their cultures through singing and poetry. The event was characterised by singing, poetry and stalls of hand-made product .
In the past, the forum has succeeded in placing young people to their respective field of interest to local support and development centres to sharpen their skills. This is done ‘’to rid them of dependency mentality on government so they can start utilising their skills to generate income for themselves,’’ elucidated Mahlombe.
“As young people, it is our fundamental duty to ascertain that The Global North influence and urbanisation do not rob us of our heritage, culture and pride,’’ emphasised one of the participants.
‘’Dreams, big or small require nurturing because if they are neglected, they have a great potential to be aborted, it is therefore our collective responsibility to see to it that the skills that the rural youth is in possession of, accumulate wealth for them,’’ concluded Mahlombe.
By Vuyokazi Mdlungu