Lecture warns against culture loss

2016-06-15 06:00
DR SOMADODA FIKENI delivering his lecture. Photo: Supplied

DR SOMADODA FIKENI delivering his lecture. Photo: Supplied

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ARTISTS and other community members packed the foyer of the Mayibuye Cultural Centre to listen to Dr Somadoda Fikeni as he gave a lecture to mark the beginning of the Delphi arts and culture competitions.

This was hosted by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture in the Northern Cape.

The gist of Fikeni’s lecture was based on black South Africans’ indifference to their culture.

“The interim constitution that South Africa had, prior to the present one, had as a core value the concept of Ubuntu-Botho. However, the present one had the word Ubuntu-Botho removed.

“The black leaders representing us during negotiations had compromised so much that it was as if we were selling our souls,” said Fikeni.

Explaining his assertion that we are living in a time between times, he gave an illustration of the Israelites’ time when they went to their promised land, Canaan.

“The Israelites took 40 years to reach Canaan, yet they were supposed to take only 17 days. They had Moses as their leader, just as we had people like Sol Plaatje representing the earlier generation of liberation,” said Fikeni.

Fikeni asked the audience if they were ready to be Joshua’s generation that led to the arrival to the promised land.

“The captains of the ship in South Africa seem to be indulging in other things than directing the ship.

“Scientists have a saying that not everything that counts, can be counted and not everything that can be counted, counts.

“In 1994, we minimised the maximum and maximised the minimum.

“We do not understand the secret of a weapon called culture. That is why in 1997, when Nelson Mandela realised that we are losing it, he said we need the RDP of the soul.”

Fikeni told the audience that power lived in three spheres, which were the economic, social and political spheres.

He pointed out that black people had been given political power and the oppressor took economic power.

“Political power does not give you freedom.

“That is why at the negotiations the power said ‘we will give you the crown and we will keep the jewel’.

“That is why we are a numeric majority, but a cultural minority.

“We are exiles in our own land,” said Fikeni.

In conclusion, Fikeni illustrated how one could fiddle with a cellphone and never get it right, since the cellphone gives you the message “go back to factory default settings”.

“We have alienated ourselves from our culture. Let us learn to unlearn things that are not good for us. I want us to go to our heritage factory default settings. Let us be that Joshua generation,” he said as he received a standing ovation.

The lecture was attended by amongst others the executive mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, David Molusi, MEC Tiny Chotelo, MEC Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba (who was the host), the chief whip of the Northern Cape legislature and chairperson of the sports, arts and culture portfolio, Gail Parker, the well-known praise poet and chairperson of the National Delphic Council of South Africa (NDCSA), Zolani Mkiva, and his deputy, Princess Celenhle Dlamini, as well as the ANC Youth League provincial secretary, Neo Maneng.

According to Zolani Mkiva, the Delphi competitions started in Delphia, Greece, at the same time as the Olympics.

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