Learning about themselves, their heritage

2013-07-02 00:00

BREAKING the barrier of cultural ignorance, which could lead to social ills, Indoni SA is hosting a two-week camp to educate KwaZulu-Natal’s youth on the importance of preserving their heritage.

The youth, from various parts of the province, are already on their second week at the Skinners Camp in Cedara, where they are taught various life skills, ranging from roof thatching to traditional beadwork, and other cultural aspects that are aimed at changing their behavioural patterns.

National chairperson and founder of Indoni SA Dr Nomcebo Mthembu told The Witness that being a medical doctor, who works closely with her patients and their families, inspired her to start the initiative.

“We launched the programme last year in all provinces,” she said.

Driven by her passion and love for the youth, Mthembu said that seven years ago, she started with about 16 children from the SOS Children’s Village in Pietermaritzburg during the school holidays. She taught them the importance of preserving culture. “I wanted our youth to be taught as we were when we were growing up,” she said.

Mthembu said she then decided to do it on a bigger scale so more young people could benefit from a rich cultural heritage.

“We teach them life skills and the values behind respect, and how to work with their hands,” said Mthembu.

Mthembu said that the aim is to make the youth more independent. She said the government has spent a great deal of money building rehabilitation centres to address youth behaviour. “If we can change the behaviour of youth by teaching them cultural values, then we can solve many social ills, such as young men raping the elderly,” said Mthembu, adding that the phenomenon shows that the youth have lost respect for the aged, which is central to their heritage.

Sikelela Gqojana (16), a Grade-11 pupil from Durban, said she has learnt a lot from Indoni after being at former model C schools. “I didn’t understand much about my culture as a young Zulu woman but this past week has been life changing,” she said.

Another Grade-10 pupil, Ndukenhle Buthelezi from Vryheid, said it has opened his eyes to many things he did not understand, such as roof thatching, which is a skill he can take anywhere.

“More young people should be involved in such initiatives because we learn to be responsible youth with a direction in life,” said Ndukenhle.

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