Culture

Introduction

Thokozani! Dancing with the Ancestors

September 24, 1993

I

t was a matter of no surprise to me a few evenings ago when my young friend Aldrin told me of the existence of the cave of the ancestors, adding that he would like to take me there one day. We were having a braai (barbecue) at Bra Oupa’s place in Saulsville, and several of the young people in our group were stunned for a moment – particularly the men. After all, they told me, it was well-known that some who visit the cave do not come back.

The “ancestors” had been intriguing me for some time, as in the course of my activities promoting music in the townships, I had had occasion to observe that traditional groupings of one sort or another were an integral, vibrant part of community life. On any given weekend, from Friday evening through to Sunday afternoon, traditional wear, the sound of drums, dancing, chanting, and other indications of traditional celebration could be heard emanating from one house or another anywhere in the township.

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