BY TITOS MAKONDO
AN old adage which says that, “each man for himself and God for us all,” can also become true when it comes to the preservation of language and culture. Every ethnic group under the sun has to pick up and polish its own identity with pride.
Tsonga people of Zimbabwe, who are also referred to as Xangani, and are spread in Chiredzi, Mwenezi and partially Zaka districts of Zimbabwe, are making strides through a Chiredzi based cultural conservative trust the Hluvuko Wa Hina (HWH).
The trust roared to life in 2013 to promote and preserve Xitsonga language and culture which was on the verge of diminishing. Since then, it has never looked back, catapulted to climax despite having a weak financial muscle.
Hluvuko Wa Hina is viewed as a comb to the bald entire Tsonga heritage. Every year, HWH hold activities that promote and preserve Tsonga culture. This year marks HWH’s 10th anniversary and was celebrated in Pretoria, South Africa.
Tsonga artistes who are based in South Africa took turns to entertain the audience. The actors and actresses of Hi Ta Ku Yini, a Xitsonga play aired on Avuxeni FM had a peck on the drama. Epic cultural laced speeches kept the attendees off the bone spur.
In a glamour aura were minutes were on fire, the Organiser and Treasurer of HWH Obert Mlunghisi Sithole addressed the delegates with wrinkles of smiles.
Sithole called for continuity in preserving Tsonga culture and heritage for the sake of the next generation. He thanked a seasonal Mzansi educationist, Mrs Mavhika Mathumba saying she has been supportive to the procedures of HWH since 2013.
Sithole, a cultural warrior by nature, said that HWH has been successfully aired Xitsonga language and culture to a greater height through empowering and encouraging local artistes to promote their mother language through artistry business.
“We nurtured many local artistes from grassroots and some are now famous in the world. They can stand on their own, that is a tick to one of our goals,” said Sithole, while encouraging oneness among artists and discouraging the spirit of kicking fellows instead of a ball.
South African author and television personnel, Teleti Khosa, whose wish is to see the Tsonga tribe owning a regional television station, attended the function.
Khosa donated some Xitsonga novels to HWH which were then used as prizes to those who participated in the HWH Xitsonga short story competition. The competition aimed at creating a platform for Xitsonga future writers.
“I am glad that one of our own Tsonga people in Zimbabwe is making strides in putting our mother tongue on the map. I overheard about Avuxeni FM and the inclusion of Xitsonga language in the academic curriculum of Zimbabwe.
“For me, such is success not only to the Tsonga people of Zimbabwe but to the entire Tsonga tribe. Hence I urge the Tsonga citizens in Mozambique and South Africa to support the endeavour by HWH for the glory of our language and culture,” Khosa said.
Xitsonga language was dying but has been risen through being taught in schools and is being recognised as one of the 16 official languages in Zimbabwe. The others are English, Shona, Ndebele, Kalanga, Ndau, Tonga, Venda, Chewa, Nambya, Chibarwe, Sotho, Tswana, Xhosa, Khoi-San and Sign language.
In the same vein, the Centre for Cultural Development Initiatives (CCDI) headed by Hebert Pikela is identical to the HWH. The CCDI is punching on the on the side for similar gains but it has gone baritone in sparking cultural businesses.
Through the effort of the CCDI, Zimbabwe hosts Limpopo Cultural Trade Fair (LCTF), a cultural show meant to spark cultural tourism business between Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The show is held annually in the Lowveld of Zimbabwe.
Pikela told this publication that the activities CCDI had been shelved due global pandemic of Corona Virus Disease. He added that the cultural trade fair shall resume in 2024.