Bid to revive fest on sacred mountain

THE organisers of the Siphofu Arts and Culture Festival plan to revive an old cultural tradition - a meeting atop a sacred mountain.

The tradition dates back decades and will be adapted to mollify the challenges faced by young people today.

The festival will take place from April 3 to 4 at the top of Siphofu Mountain.

This mountain is said to be very important to the people of Umzumbe. They believe it is where their ancestral spirits are, so they hold it in high esteem.

Festival organiser Howard Msomi says that they have decided to revive the tradition that was started 70 years ago but had disappeared by the 1970's.

"A long time ago warriors from various factions would converge on the mountain on Easter weekend and stay there to do traditional dances," Msomi says.

"This tradition, which encouraged the culture of togetherness, disappeared as time went by."

Msomi says after going through tales and oral history from older people, they decided to revive this tradition.

"But now we will use it differently in that it will be twofold" he says. "We will have a workshop on human stages of development, social order and disaster management and a music festival.

"All this will take place on top of the mountain."

He says 10 traditional dance groups will take part in the workshop.

"The next day it will be open to the public as this is when the festival will take place.

"We expect people from the Ndelu, Nkulu and other clans around Umzumbe."

Pat Cele, director of social and local economic development in the Umzumbe municipality, says they support the venture.

"We felt we should be part of the festival because it includes a tourism aspect."

Renowned maskandi musician Phuzekhemisi will entertain the crowds, he says.