We don’t want to romanticize Ancestors Day – Zolani Mkiva

Zolani Mkiva, secretary-general of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa), is calling for Ancestors Day to be officially recognized.

Speaking at the third commemoration of Ancestors Day in Muldersdrift, northwest of Johannesburg on Monday, Mkiva said Contralesa does not want to romanticize the day, but wants it recognised like all the other public holidays in South Africa.

“Ancestors Day is an instrument that reunites our people with their spirituality, reminds them to celebrate the sacrifices of those who came before them, and instils them with a new-found sense of pride in their identity,” said Mkiva.

“Our relationship with those who preceded us is not only biological, but is deeply spiritual as well.”

Mkiva acknowledged that the process to get Ancestors Day officially recognised will be a long and tedious one due to the painstaking process entailed in getting new legislation enacted through parliament.

Khwezi Vika, a marketing manager for one of leading beer manufacturers in the country which supports the initiative, said as the brand one of the company’s primary objectives is to inspire Africans to rediscover and embrace their ancestry, identity and way of life. 

Traditionalist and spiritualist Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi said it is remiss that Africans in South Africa, which is home to the cradle of humankind, have to validate the commemoration of Ancestors Day.

“The essence of being African is understanding the role that ancestors play in our lives,” said Ndlanzi.

“Ancestors Day is not exclusive to a certain group of people or those practising a particular traditional belief system. It is underpinned by the conviction that all religions are anchored in ancestry, because they speak of those who lived before us and had a heightened relationship with divinity.

“It is a day of unity, of oneness. Africa is a cradle of humankind and therefore we cannot surpass the African identities and ethos that anchor us.”

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