!Khwa ttu and Xhosa Culture
Today we went to !khwa ttu with the Educo Africa group . !Khwa ttu is an organization/ living museum dedicated to teaching people about the culture and heritage of the San people of Southern Africa. It was an eye opening tour about the indigenous people of Southern Africa. We learned about the many languages of the tribes and how some are closely related. As well, we also learned how to make the “clicks” that are required in order to speak the languages. It may sound simple, but it is most definitely not. It was definitely entertaining for the tour guide to watch and listen to us fail miserably at making these “clicks”. After the language session we went on a tractor ride and saw some zebras, springbok and other antelope.
After the tour of !khwa ttu we got a chance to mingle with the Educo Africa group and learn a bit about them. In my group there was a Xhosa boy who explained to us about his culture. He told us about how when a male is between 16-25, he is sent to the bush by his father. In the bush you are circumcised and considered to become a man in their culture. He told us how they used to stay in the bush for up to three months but now it usually is about two weeks. Also, he explained that now before going into the bush the boys will go to the hospital to be circumcised. He explained that if they go to the hospital first they would be a different level of man. As well, he explained how that if a younger brother goes to the bush first he might be treated as the oldest brother of the family. So the ranks in the family is based on of when you “become a man” rather than when you are born. This was very interesting to me, because in our cultures we don’t usually send our boys out into the bush to become men. Because not only in the bush do they have to survive, but they are not usually given any help. The man explained that if they are sent to the bush in the winter they would find themselves eating a lot of birds because that is all they can find. I was definitely intrigued by what he explained to us and am definitely keen to learn more about the Xhosa culture.
Our team discussed with the group from Educo Africa the issues of cultures coming together, the fears and stereotypes that occur, and how we can build understanding of differences between people of different cultures. The day was interesting and informative. The only drawback was the ice cold wind as we walked around.
~ Kat D. and Lizzie A.