tembes on mission to unify tongas
The Tembe clan has embarked on a journey to rediscover its origin and teach their children about the importance of their culture.
At a high profile event in KwaNgwanase in northern Zululand, thousands of Tongas paid respect to Inkosi Mabudu Tembe at Thandizwe Royal Palace.
The aim was to celebrate their culture of Umthayi (Amarula Festival) on Saturday.
A similar event was celebrated in Limpopo as well.
The festival brings back the dignity of the tribe and also tries to unite Tongas with other neighbouring clans and countries.
A delegation from the Zulu Royal family, led by Prince Reginald Zulu, attended the event.
It was also attended by representatives from Swaziland and Mozambique.
The KwaZulu-Natal government was represented by finance and economic development MEC Zweli Mkhize.
Thousands of women entered the palace carrying Tonga traditional amarula beer to be shared by the community after the celebration.
Mkhize applauded King Zwelithini's wise decision to assign people from the royal family to represent him.
"Cultural celebrations of this magnitude unite us," he said.
Inkosi Mabudu Tembe said such cultural celebrations brought back pride and dignity of the Tonga people.
"We have lost many of our cultures. We have many tourists who come to our area since we also have Isimangaliso Wetlands Park and they can also taste our home-made brew," said Tembe.
He said after purifying amarula, they made jam that can be sold by the Tembe.
"We urge our government to play a part in helping our community to pursue this project. We started such a project with the University of Pretoria but due to lack of funding we were compelled to stop it," he said.