It is Heritage month in South Africa and everything is about where we come from as individuals, “imvelaphi’. Family plays a huge role in one’s heritage. Generally, the first steps to finding yourself are to know what/where your surname means or/ family comes from.
Unfortunately, due to the displacement of black South African families, they were left broken and dysfunctional, leaving the offsprings with no sense of belonging to date. With the strain on family structures, many fall into the social norm of cultural tribalism. It is simply because of the lack of self-knowledge in an African child, we were raised to believe in the system even though it is never inclusive.
The Apartheid regime had not only separated African people by race but continued the colonisation on the African people according to tribes, setting a division that continues violence and stereotypes amongst tribes. For an example, a black South African would imply to another as a “Shangaan” to belittle or underestimate the individual (Shangaan is also known as Tsonga). Not only would you be belittling the person by calling them a ‘Shangaan’ but you would also be disrespecting the Tsonga tribe as a whole.
Xenophobia is an extension of tribalism within the African communities, where an individual would be killed for their nationality. In all essence, Tribalism has no room in a soul that knows its heritage. “We are Africa without borders” and “I am an African before I am Nguni”
This Heritage month let us celebrate our African Roots where all tribes unite and stand together as Africans. Wheather your Zulu, Tsonga or Tswana “We are one, but many” We are Africa.