Youths on mission to preserve their culture

OUR culture is what makes us who we are. That appears to be the glue that holds together the winners of the annual Zulu Dance Championships held in Durban recently.

Three years ago, Linda Masondo, 32, created an art centre in Umlazi for children aged 10.

The group is today called Ubuhle Bomlazi and the centre was opened to make sure that children do not forget where they come from and to appreciate their precious culture.

"I used to live in Johannesburg and when I came back home I noticed that there was no activity that inspires the youth to be proud of who they are," Masondo said..

"I then opened the art centre which is of value to us and to remind us of our culture, because we are proud of it."

Focusing on their culture is not just about dancing for the youngsters.

They also do a lot of handiwork, bead work, ceramics, cane weaving, wood work, leather items and traditional skins that they sell to keep their group going.

"We must make sure that we pass on the teachings of our culture to generations after us so that it won't fade away," Masondo said.

Another group - Amabhubesi Nqabazakazulu - joint winners of the championship - said they were determined to keep the Zulu culture alive.

The group is based in KwaMashu. "Culture is about who we are, where we come from and where we are headed.

"Though we live in a diverse society we need to remember who we are and that we are different in many ways," said group leader Mpumelelo Sibisi, 22.

"I have been dancing since primary school and now dance is a talent for me more than it was a skill while growing up."

The championships were held at Durban's Ushaka Marine World last month.