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We speak African art and culture- Prof Geoff Mapaya

“We speak the indigenous African music language, we speak African art and culture. Unlike other forums where academics speak amongst themselves, today all are celebrating our cultural heritage together,” said Prof Geoff Mapaya during the 2017 Heritage Month Celebration of Music and Culture event. The event was held on Friday 29 September 2017 at the University of Venda (Univen) Sports Hall.

Prof Mapaya further expressed that the collaboration between the Indigenous Music and Oral History Project at the University of Venda, represented by Dr Elelwani Ramaite-Mafadza, Dr Mudzunga Davhula and himself, are extraordinary visionary to Professor Andrea Emberly from the York University, United States of America. He said they are extraordinary in that, Prof Emberly has fearlessly embarked on a repatriation project which could and would see John Blacking’s work on the Vhavenda culture coming back home to Venda.

“Some of her efforts, in this regard, are already hanging on the walls of the Univen Art Gallery,” he said.

Our cultural activities like this teaches our children about how to conduct themselves -Vho Thovhele Gole Mphaphuli

Vho Thovhele Gole Mphaphuli thanked the organisers of the event and the researchers who are researching about Vhavenda culture because that will help future generations to know more about the culture. He further advised the researchers to archive their findings for future generations.

“Our culture teaches our children on how to conduct themselves.” He strongly discouraged young people who take drugs. “It is very painful to see secondary school learners smoking, taking drugs and drinking at a very young age. By the way, those people are supposed to be the future of this country. Our hope is in them but instead they are making us to feel hopeless,” he said.

He said the traditional clothing and the Vhavenda food is not lost to that extent because even on the social media they are trending. He further advised the audience to embrace African culture than other people’s cultures, especially western cultures. “Most people embraces western cultures than our own African culture that is what makes the western culture to look superior to our own cultures.”

Thovhele concluded by advising the University to also include students from other cultures in the 2018 cultural celebrations day. “I am aware that this University like any other university has students from all provinces of this country and from Africa as a whole. We should not only celebrate Venda culture but others also need to be included in order for us to be fair to African tribe.”

“This day is one of the best days of my research data collection because a lot of data will be collected to add to what has already been archived. It also brings joy and happiness to me to see people embracing their culture like this,” said Dr Emberly from York University. She further said people should learn not to give away their traditions and cultures. “Learn, practice and keep your cultures.” she concluded.

Prof Diane Thrum says culture is an identity that should not be lost, if lost then the whole tribe is lost

“The cultural perfomances like these teaches and nurture the young people not to forget their culture. I am very happy to see that people are still proud of their culture and they take care of what belongs to them,” said Professor Diane Thrum from ILAM (International Library of African Music), Rhodes University. She said culture is something that should not be lost because if you lose it, is like you no longer exist. Culture is a tribe’s identity, if lost then the whole nation or tribe will be lost,” she concluded.

Konanani Tshidimo, a grade 11 learner from Tshiemuemu Secondary School said she enjoys the cultural dance because it educates them about real life issues and also keeps them away from streets after school and during the weekend.

Muraga community performing Domba traditional dance

Some of the cultural activities performed during the event

Secondary school girls performing their cultural dance

Demostration of a mother feeding a baby

Primary school learners singing using the unusual instrument.

The event was among others attended by Thovhele, Vho Gole Mphaphuli, Professor Andrea Emberly (York University), Professor Diane Thrum (International Library of African Music), Dr Mudzunga Davhula (cultural activist), Mr Joe Malinga and secondary school learners.

Issued by
Department of Communications and Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: 015 962 8525
Date: 03 October 2017

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