Life in the rural parts of the country is still depended on tradition and culture, something that urban communities seem to have disregard for. Culture and tradition is lost in many young people who choose the pop culture, it is often viewed as cool and modern.
But one young lady from KZN is reminding us that culture is relevant and can still fit in the modern society. Nkosingimele Ncanana affectionately known as “Ntethe” wears her culture with pride and dignity.
Due to things such as Teen Pregnancy, Alcohol and Drugs which young people engage in, my culture has been my saving grace. Cultural activities are extremely educational, I learn to respect my body through remaining a virgin and also respect the family I come from.
My family and community motivates me to uphold my culture, it is my pride and dignity.
My culture teaches me passages or stages of growth. For instance once my family do “umemulo”, a young woman ceremony then that’s when I can start to think about relationships.
The grade 12 learner at eNomathiya Technical School says even though culture is highly educational but there are things which are not great about it.
What makes it challenging to live guided by our culture is that its still oppresses women and gives more freedom and authority to men. For instance if I were to be married, then my husband rules over me, I won’t be allowed to speak up during a conflict. Women are discouraged to even go to the police if the husband is abusive.
While the modern day society see no shame in young people engaging openly in sexual activities, the few and rare group of other young people who decided to wait for the appropriate time like Ntethe is doing, do they have fears of “what if the future partner turns out to be trash”?
For me education is important in that case, because with education comes independence from relying on a partner who may feel like they own you. Our culture is mainly focused on preparing young people for marriage. Which is why then I cannot just let anybody to break into my father’s skraal (expression meaning that, she can’t just surrender her virginity to anybody) without the lobola (lobola is a cultural wedding).
Ntethe is planning to further her Science studies next year at UKZN.
Culture has its benefits especially in preserving people’s way of life, it should not be looked down upon or seen as a misfit in today’s way of life. But custodians of our cultures need to pay attention and rectify the wrongs such as abuse and oppression of women. Young women like Ntethe deserve an environment that will protect their womanhood and treasure them because they are the pride of the nation.