Oral History Conference looks at African Culture

LEPHALALE — The Provincial Department of Sport, Arts and Culture held the second Limpopo Oral History Conference at Mogol Club on 12 and 13 September.

The oral session was led by the MEC of the Department, Thandi Moraka, a resident of Shongoane 1, who recently took over from the former MEC, Onicca Moloi.

As it is customary that the National Anthem is sung at government events, Moraka encouraged the audience and leaders of the local municipality to also introduce the African Union Anthem for Africans to unite.

“I have realised that most Africans are divided and lack unity, this is seen in the xenophobic attacks which are mostly a result of intolerance and misunderstanding.

“I emphasise the importance of unity as the current oral history conference takes place in Lephalale, which is situated near the border of Botswana and is the path to other SADEC countries.

“What is sad is that when citizens of those countries come to South Africa they are unfortunately called derogatory names, something we must refrain from,” Moraka said.

Moraka also used the opportunity to encourage reading among communities as lack of it results in the distortion of history, which she said most African youth do not know much of.

Right after the National Book Week, themed “Our Stories”, which was held from 3-9 September, she also said libraries that have been built in communities should be used accordingly and not only during study time, so that they can play a role in shaping the knowledge of community members and give them direction.

“The culture of reading must be part of Africans. There is an urgent need to demystify the saying “when you want to hide something from a black man, put it in a book.”

“Part of this should see us practice the inherent African way of life where previously we would be by the fire at night and listen to our elderly share African history with us,” Moraka continued.

Moraka said she was worried that most African children can’t express themselves in their mother-tongues as well as they do in English.

“It is shocking that some children struggle to communicate with their elders during family gatherings because they can only speak English.

“This is problematic because in generations to come, vernacular languages may become extinct along with the understanding of them,” she said.

The second oral history conference had traditional dance groups and the ARMORD drama performance that depicted the unfortunate experiences black people suffered during apartheid.

Moraka further singled out social cohesion as an important tool to have all South Africans move forward.

She said racism, intolerance of cultural and religious beliefs and looking down on others because of their education are some of the practices that bring mass destruction.

For continuation of the oral history conference, the MEC is said to have approached circuit managers, universities and students who will participate in topics like state capture and the importance of heritage among others.

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