Monday, 2 July 2012
"Mbeleko is a ceremony that is conducted after a baby is born. This is an act of detaching the umbilical connection from the mother and introducing the child to the ancestors, imbeleko means the act of giving birth or to carry on your back.
A goat is slaughtered as a sign of sacrifice to the ancestors. The elders of the family normally speak and ask the ancestors to accept, guide and protect the child. This is a common practice in cultures like the Zulu, Xhosa, Kikuyu, Shona, Ashanti and many more.
For imbeleko a goat must be slaughtered as a sacrifice to the ancestors (a goat is always slaughtered for a feast that involves talking to the ancestors), and the family elder responsible for talking to the ancestors will call the baby by its name when presenting it to the ancestors at the same time the goat is being slaughtered. Zulus usually carry more than one name, it can be several names given by members of the extended family. Names usually denote the family's expectations and encouragement for a baby; some reflect the family's experiences or how they relate to others in their community, sometimes they tell about the time/how the weather was like when the person was born, and so on. Also common are names that reflect religious beliefs and political beliefs. When doing the ritual the elders will speak to the ancestors and ask them to guide and protect the child."
When my daughter was born, I decided to give her the name Ntokozo which meant happiness. It’s been almost two years now my family decided that it was time for her MBELEKO.
On the 1st July we invited friends and family to come share this special moment with us. On Saturday morning my dad woke up and went to buy a goat…..I was shocked when he came home and told us that the small goat cost him R2000!!!!!!!
BUT it was worth it. After that we went into emsamo( this is where we usually talk to our ancestors and pray asking for guidance) to start the ceremony.
The goat was taken into the emsamo and incense was burnt with traditional beer. The incense is burnt to connect to the ancestors, the beer is made as a drink for the dead, the candles (white) are lit as a sign that the ancestors to bring good luck and fortune for whatever we are asking from them.
Ntokozo was scared as she had never seen a goat before….but I as her mother the whole weekend had to have my head covered and wore a long dress or skirt as a sign or respect.
My dad went in with the whole family and the goat along with Ntokozo. As he spoke he began by calling all those who have died and our clang names ( izithakazelo)
I must say being Zulu or African is something one must be proud of and not ashamed of our culture.
During that moment my father gave he another name to add onto the one she already has;
So as of that moment her name changed to Ntokozo Zamangwane Khanyile (meaning the happiness of the khanyile family)
The meat is cooked in the traditional way meaning there is no spice or seasoning allowed. We have to eat it boiled with either pap or dumbling as our forefathers had.
After the little ceremony the men got to work and slaughtered the goat.
Leaving the women to wash it and cook it.
Early Sunday morning before the feast begun we had to wake up at 6am to go put on ispandla on our hands. Ispandla is a goat skin that is put around the hand to symbolise that we have had contact with the dead.
On should be proud of it, although it smells I can’t do nothing about it but embrace it.
As Africans we tend to be so embarraced about the kind of cultutres we live by instead of being proud of it. After what I saw this past weekend I must say I m very proud to be a Zulu Diva.
You knew me when I was being formed in my mother’swomb and have never left our side ever since.
You have always been there for me, guiding me and being thebest father I could ever wish for. I remember growing up you would attend everyprize giving and sports day with me. Sitting there on those benches showing mesupport from the side line while the sun blazed on you. (Hahaha)
I remember you staying up till late while helping me with mymath’s homework and although you would shout at me telling me that it iswrong you never gave up but stayed with me till I got it right.
Whenever the world was on top of me you came and lifted itoff my shoulders and carried it for me.
I thank god each day for my daddy. I was named Ntombikayise(daddy’s girl) because wherever he was I was there with him. I never lefthis sight.
I remember going to my Matric dance how you would intimidatethe boy that was my partner, asking him questions about where is he from andhis clang surnames………
We fight at times but I does not mean I love you less.
At the age of 65 my dad still rocks my world and will go theends to make his baby girl happy.
Sometimes I wonder why it is so hard for you to let me gobut then I remember I am your last born after all.
When I fell pregnant with Ntokozo you simply said to me allis well my little one, and never left me and your granddaughter’s side.
I see you with Ntokozo everyday playing and I remember thedays I was so small.
I pray every day that the lord keeps you safe with me andfor you to see me graduate and walk me down the aisle on my wedding day.
Today at the age of 24 I am able to sit with you, while youhave your jameson and I have my savannah and talk about life and its moments.
You always say; no man will ever love you the way I do. Sooo true! I have not met a man that gives me the love that you have all these years but I know that he is coming my way soon.
Thank you for being the best dad I could ever wish for!
Love you mkhulu.