Group aims to restore Ndebele culture

UMCHILO Wamakhosikazi, a Matabeleland North arts group, has embarked on a campaign to revive the original Ndebele culture.

By IDAH MHETU

The group participated in the just-ended Harare International Carnival’s Street Party during which they marched bare-breasted with people cheering them on.

Group director Thembie Ngwabi told NewsDay that they were in the process of reviving Ndebele culture which had been destroyed through a century of plunder, starting with the colonialists.

She said the name Umchilo Wamakhosikhazi referred to their imitation of the rainbow, symbolised by the colourful strings worn on their bodies.

“The rainbow-stripped strings originated from Ndebele culture. This has been lost, but we are now restoring the forgotten practice,” she said.

“The reason why we are here is because it’s all about celebrating our culture, so we are hoping that maybe we can be able inspire others so that we can go back to being the original Ndebele people.”

Ngwabi said there was also need to reclaim local languages as people were no longer able to fluently speak languages like Shona and Ndebele without mixing with English.

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