September is recognized as Heritage month in South Africa: In order to celebrate this special month, on the 1st of October 2016, Africa Unite in partnership with Somali Association of South Africa and Life Change Center hosted a youth cultural diversity celebration at 6 Spin Street Restaurant in Cape Town.
The event brought more than 105 youth and adults from different backgrounds and communities living in Cape Town to showcase their cultures.
This was done through various activities such as poetry, food tasting, traditional dancing, musical performances, singing and speeches. Different communities were invited to present their customs and cultures. Some of the communities who took the podium were: Xhosa, Somali, Cape Malay, Congolese, Cape Coons, Nigerian, Zimbabwe and Zulu. In addition, there was also a musical performance by the Nujum ul fugara naseed band from Lavender Hill who sang in Arabic and English, as well as a group from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and opera sung by Mteto Mapoyi.
One of the main guest speakers of the day was the Khoisan Chief Hennie van Wyk, who delivered an empowering and moving speech on the importance of today’s youth in preserving their cultural heritage, as well as learning about the heritage of others in order to develop understanding and perpetuate a harmonious existence. He mentioned that the Khoisans are the first offspring of Western Cape. He warned the youth of the potential negative consequences that come with urbanization and globalization as they may dominate and subjugate one’s own unique culture replacing it with the dominant global narrative and norms.
He encouraged everyone, but especially the youths to celebrate their cultural uniqueness
and to share it with the world. It is important to be proud of one’s culture and share it with others as a means to promote understanding, draw similarities between us and combat xenophobia. The chief concluded by quoting Marcus Garvey’s quote which says, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
The youth present and communities were very excited to be part of the event and had the opportunity to learn and understand the meaning of the various dress codes of men and women in African cultures. They also learnt how single men and women dress
code differ from married men and women including different dress codes for various occasions and the various kinds of food eaten by different cultures.
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