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Cultural festival showcases Mzansi's wonderful diversity

This proverb comes to mind ahead of South Africa's cultural diversity going under the spotlight, as millions prepare to celebrate their roots in different styles.
Young South Africans the likes of Reneilwe Ramogale will be part of the "wet sticks" who will prove the importance of knowing one's culture from a young age.
Ramogale, 22, from the village of Ga-Mamabolo in Limpopo is one of the successful participants who will represent their tribes at the Indoni Cultural Festival in Durban next month. She is one of the 12 finalists across all provinces.
With the theme My Heritage, My Pride, Ramogale explained the importance of cultural lessons.
"We went to a camp in July, where we were taught about respect, ubuntu and preserving a woman's purity," Ramogale said.
The Chemical Engineering student was then chosen to represent her cultural group at the national event.
"They expect me to know my praise song, my traditional dance and how to respect my elders."
Ramogale prides herself in knowing that she will be able to pass the lessons learned from the festival to others upon her return.
"I have been rehearsing a lot. My elders and community are also helpful. The first thing I'm going to do when I come back from the festival is visit high schools in my area and share my experiences with pupils. I want young girls to know the importance of respect and virginity."
Ramogale, a virgin, said her culture had always been important to her.
"I'm glad we have festivals like this to remind us of the importance of our culture and heritage," Ramogale said.
Another participant, Zachariah Machete, representing the Pedi tribe, said he joined the festival to learn the importance of culture.
"Indoni has educated me about my tradition and other people's traditional practices and culture," Machete said.
"It is important for people to learn about other people's cultures. That way, they respect all cultures."
Machete was looking forward to passing on the cultural lessons he would learn in Durban to his community in Ga-Molepo, Limpopo.
The festival was launched in 2011 to help young people with different aspects of life skills.
Project manager Lungile Manyathi said the festival aimed to groom young girls into being successful individuals in the future.
"The aim of the Indoni festival is to showcase the diversity of indigenous South African arts, music, dance, poetry, fashion and food, among other aspects of African cultures, on a grand scale," Manyathi said.
According to the manager, the event was aimed at combating tribalism and promoting social cohesion.
"It is also an educational platform because we bring together over 2000 young people from various cultures, who may have never interacted before."
Khabza Mkhize

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