Embrace change and move forward

11th July 2017


By Matshediso Fologang -

Are chencheng, dinako di fetogile. I am never one to complain about the way we conduct our traditional chores and responsibilities. However having been tasked a number of responsibilities and duties as a male in my clan, I have come to realise that we need to keep up with modern times. What might have worked for our parents and their parents before, can no longer work for me and my sons. In the old days each adult was expected to be fully involved in the family and clan activities and celebrations without fail or unnecessary excuse.

Each and everyone in the family had to perform a role and equally expected all family and clan members to do unto him what he did unto them. Yes this was a part of clan building which formed part of the entire nation building. When there was a ceremony like the announcement of a new addition to the family (tsholo ya ngwana); the end of confinement (matso a ngwana); the initiation (go rupa); the negotiation of marriage ( tseo/nyalo/setapa) and even in times of bereavement, each family member had a participatory role. Such duties and roles were carried out with dignity and delight.

Each member of the family was assigned a part or duty to perform. There were those who were to invite all clan/family members to a meeting to announce the ceremony, those to prepare the homestead, those whose duty was to bring firewood and those who had to go and identify the cattle or goats to be used/killed as bogadi and feeding the family. The way it ran out was always a marvel to observe, with the whole thing running like a well oiled wheel. Life centred around the village calendar and the village did not extend beyond the horizon.

Everybody who mattered was easily within reach and his movements known to the entire family or even the clan. We lived in the village, masimo and moraka. Then few people were working as the current generation does. Most people were just involved in performing traditional family related works in their villages, masimo and meraka communally. We were living together in one big family and aware of the whereabouts of one another.

Is this still happening? We have as a society become part of the global village. We have become highly mobile and technologically better than our parents. These advances mean that we can no longer do things the way our parents and their parents did. Invitations to the gathering of a family/clan were carried by a man and woman, if done by either of the two alone the invite would be considered adequate.

The party that didn’t go would be expected to follow the matter up. Then it was practical because of the fact that we lived together. Do we still have to continue this practice? Why can’t my brother send me to my cousins alone to invite them? What if there is no woman available to go with me? What if part of the family lives in a distant village? As a working generation why can’t we use the modern available methods of communication to do these errands? If my cousins have a ceremony or any other activity why not use the mobile phone to just tell me. Why should I expect two people to come to me physically? We must embrace change and move forward.

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