An aerial view of Marude Secondary School learners, AIME UNIVEN student mentors, Univen staff and delegates from Dzomolamupo during the discussions. 

On Tuesday, 16 October 2018, the University of Venda (Univen) hosted the 2018 Indigenous Knowledge System Heritage Day Symposium in association with AIME UNIVEN, Marude Secondary School and Dzomolamupo. The event was held at Univen Sports Hall under the theme ‘Creating Intergenerational learning spaces’. It was a fun-filled, lesson/activity packed environment which allowed learners opportunities to interact with elders in a university learning environment. 

Giving the welcome address and purpose of the day, Director Community Engagement, Prof Vhonani Netshandama acknowledged and showed gratitude to the elders who came in numbers moreover to Dzomolamupo. She also highlighted to the learners that even though they will not be in school for most of the day, they are still going to learn. 

She explained that the Heritage Day Symposium is aimed at educating learners about eco-mapping, nature conservation and preservation respectful manners and Ubuntu as well as indigenous entrepreneurship development and career choices. She advised the pupils to know themselves and where they are coming from so they can be able to know where they are going. She also emphasised on the need to respect elders, culture and nature. “These two are very important and they make us who we are, who we become, is the direct outcome of what we do everyday” said Prof Netshandama. 

The four echo mapping themes were Mikhwa (manners), food and health, Mupo (nature conservation) and Mulalo, Lufuno and Ubuntu. For each table there were sub-themes of the echo mapping themes that elders used to give lessons to the learners. Each table comprised of a balanced number of elders and learners. 

The learners engaged in the discussions with the elderly people assigned on each table for the sub-themes. Learners later presented what they have learnt during those discussions. This was the session in which learners were answering questions that were asked based on the sub-themes. 

Learners were taught about the importance of interconnectedness of human beings and all living beings and the power that they have within themselves to protect and change the universe for the better. The big question was also how to make IKS sustain life. In her closing remarks, Prof Netshandama urged all the learners to show respect to their parents and elderly people. She told elderly people to also teach the young ones about their culture while they are still alive. 

Patrick Mashavha, a Grade 12 learner from Marude Secondary School said that he has learned a lot from the 2018 Heritage Day Symposium. He thanked the University for caring about their future and for seeing the need to provide them with the much-needed career guidance at all times. 

Interpretations during opening meditation: A learner Patrick Mashavha (second from left) read an extract from Evening thoughts by Thomas Berry. (pp109-110 and 149-150), which dealt with wholeness of mind, body and spirit and the relationship of all living beings. 

Marude learner demonstrating U losha in Tshivenda – a form of greeting done by females. Behind them is Mutuli, Musi and mavhele, which were used to demonstrate u sinda – How maize was processed to form mealimeal. 

Marude learner demonstrating U losha in Tshivenda – a form of greeting done by men. 

A group of learners getting information from the elders 

An aerial view of attendees during the closing remarks 

Dzomolamupo (meaning Voice of the Earth) is an organisation founded by Mphatheleni Makaulule, a Masters’ student in African studies. She works as a social entrepreneur, focusing on nature conservation programmes. 

Issued by: Department of Communications & Marketing 

University of Venda 
Tel: (015) 962 8525 
Date: 18 October 2018 

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