Drumbeat feast

Mpubane Julius Rakgetse. Pic. Unknown.
Mpubane Julius Rakgetse. Pic. Unknown.

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

In colourful traditional regalia, the amathwasa, who must have numbered about 100, sang and danced to traditional Sepedi music and spirited drumming.

Spectators who had come from all over the country just looked on in awe.

One could feel this was not just an ordinary ritual, but an important occasion close to the heart of the communities in this rural area of Limpopo, surrounded by magnificent mountains.

It even attracted leading cultural activists in the country, including traditional healer and poet of note Wally Serote, as well as author and traditional healer Motsei.

This is the scene I witnessed last, and which is still etched in my consciousness, when I attended the annual traditional festival Pulo Ya Meropa in the Limpopo village of Tafelkop.

Now plans to stage yet another festival are quite advanced as the festival is pencilled in for January 19 from 2pm, at the official residence of Batubatse Le Maphagwana Crusaders, Z1A 405 Rakgetse Section Tafelkop Village, said festival spokesman Paledi Sefolosh.

"The secret of success is consistency to the purpose," says chief executive and traditional healer Mpubane Julius Rakgetse about the Pulo Ya Meropa Festival.

This year marks a decade and a half of this festival of drumming when various traditional drummers are assembled to give one big traditional bang for the new year.

"The crux of this endeavour is to bring synchrony among the living and the loved ones who passed away and are now existing as ancestors or angels," says Sefolosh.

Word in the village has it that the festival came about after an instruction from ancestors through a vision about 15 years ago when Rakgetse was told to throw a feast in the veld next to a river; and to slaughter cattle, a goat and sheep to entertain foreign and local spirits and harmonise relations in the communities.