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Hlengiwe Cele 
Isikhumbuzo samaHlubi Heritage celebration in Khayakhulu Village, North West Province

The Water Research Commission (WRC) was honoured to be amongst the organisations invited to participate in the annual commemoration of the origins of the AmaHlubi of Khayakhulu,  held from 21 to 25 September 2015, North West Province.

The celebration marked the 91st anniversary of the arrival, in September 1924, of the AmaHlubi, from Engcwadi in the Eastern Cape, in the North West Province.  About 19 Xhosa families, under the leadership of Chief Fuba Zibi, occupied the area today known as Khayakhulu, in search of land that could accommodate future generations of AmaHlubi.  At the time of their arrival, Chief Zibi negotiated the purchase of the Rhenosterboom farm from Mr Le Roux – the farm, was later renamed Khayakhulu, meaning 'home to all'.

Khayakhulu village enjoys sound traditional leadership by an accomplished accountant and the former Institutional Director for Diversity, Equity and Human Rights at the North West University, Chief Madoda Zibi. Week-long activities were planned for the celebration, which included intergenerational dialogue on social cohesion, and competitions with a central theme of history, heritage and culture of the AmaHlubi, and the extent to which this edifies the broader South African national identity. This also included career expos as well as a flag hoisting at Khayakhulu Primary School.

Forming part of heritage month’s key celebrations, the event culminated in a collaborative cultural dance by local groups such as local Bakgatla cultural groups and the Venda Tshikona dancers from Limpopo Province.

The AmaHlubi ceremony complements this year’s heritage month theme, “Our Indigenous Knowledge, Our Heritage: Towards the Identification, Promotion and Preservation of South Africa’s Living Heritage” as declared by the National Department of Arts and Culture.

Our heritage is indeed part of our South African story and pride. While commemorating Heritage Day in Limpopo on 24 September 2015, Deputy President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa said,”When an old person passes away, we bury a library. Senior citizens are living human treasures. We have a duty to ensure that their knowledge is collected and preserved for future generations.”

While delivering her keynote address, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi, said, “The stories of South Africa are many and diverse, and collectively they tell the story of our entire nation. The Isikhumbuzo samaHlubi is one of them”.

Apart from disseminating the popular career guide entitled “Water@Work” to high school learners during the career expo, WRC CEO Mr Dhesigen Naidoo expressed his support to Chief Zibi and offered a gift in the form of a special coffee-table book entitled ,“Our Water Our Culture“, which was gratefully received.

Contact: Stakeholder Liaison, Hlengiwe Cele by email at hlengiwec@wrc.org.za
Local cultural group performing during the celebration in Khayakhulu
Left : Department of Arts and Culture Deputy Minister , Ms Rejoice Mabudhafasi
Chief Madoda Zibi receiving the WRC book, Our Water our Culture  
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