Getting to know yourself as a South African, Unravelling Xhosa History: A Journey from Central Africa to South Africa (Paperback)

Getting to know yourself as a South African, Unravelling Xhosa History: A Journey from Central Africa to South Africa By Salatiso Mdeni Cover Image

Getting to know yourself as a South African, Unravelling Xhosa History: A Journey from Central Africa to South Africa (Paperback)


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Growing up in the former Transkei, as a Xhosa native, I believed I had a deep understanding of my heritage. I grew up surrounded, mostly by individuals who lived by the old ways, "AmaQaba". I immersed myself in the customs and traditions of yore.

The rich traditions were enthusiastically passed down through storytelling sessions beneath the moonlit sky or by the flickering fire in a cosy, albeit occasionally smoky, rondavel, creating an unforgettable atmosphere. This was a time when mobile phones were rare, radios were luxuries, and televisions were almost nonexistent. I never tire of recounting the first time I saw a television set, or at least I thought I did only to be massively disappointed since the metal thing didn't show any images, I was around 6 years old, mistaking the antenna on the roof for the television itself because I knew no better

While I did not actively seek knowledge about my lineage, the profound Xhosa roots that permeated every aspect of my environment captivated my attention. However, as I entered my teenage years and moved away from the Eastern Cape, my visits back home became infrequent. I began to miss out on the subtle intricacies of our ancestral rituals and norms.

My hopes of delving deeper into written records were shattered by the scarcity and inaccessibility of books that detailed the historical evolution of the Xhosa people, whose roots can be traced back to Central and East Africa.

The biggest shock came when I read George McCall Theal's Kaffir (Xhosa) Folk Tales. It was the first time I got an understanding of the diverse tribes present in the Xhosa community. Until then I thought all the tribes under the Xhosa nation were subgroups, with Xhosa always having existed as a nation, nothing could be further from the truth

AmaXhosa existed as one of many tribes who were Xhosa speaking around the now Eastern Cape region of South Africa. Each tribe has its own individual identity that predates King Hintsa ka Khawuta's assimilation of the Eastern Cape tribes into the Xhosa nation from 1820 to 1835. I had never realized that Xhosa had not always been a collective name for these tribes and that they were once separate entities. As a homeschooling father, my ignorance deeply affected me.

Then there is the common ancestry between native Africans that predates the Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele, Swazi nations nations in our common ancestor Mnguni. Within us all as South African Bantu tribes we have common ancestors that predates even our Nguni ancestors from our immigration through central African from common roots.

I am acutely aware of the irony behind the fact that the idea for this book originated from the son of a Canadian doctor who briefly lived in the United States and Sierra Leone before settling in South Africa in the 1800s. It is equally important to recognize that as I delved into my family's history, I relied heavily on technologies that are a result of the initial encounters, conflicts, but most importantly, the collaboration and lasting coexistence between my ancestors and the Western explorers of that time. Above all, these details aim to symbolize the interconnectedness among us as human beings, regardless of surface disparities, historical origins, and locations.

Realizing my lack of knowledge, I understood that I need to educate myself before trying to educate my children and family. As "The Homeschooling Father", I homeschool not only because I love teaching my kids, but also because I love learning myself. This realization prompted me to embark on a journey of discovery, which ultimately led me to create this book.

Product Details ISBN: 9798876353474
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: January 16th, 2024
Pages: 114
Language: English