Cultural exchange unites diverse cultures

by HRH Stella Sigcau

25 May 2022

Diverse cultures converged at the Korean Culture Centre on 20 May 2022 to attend an event co-hosted by the Korean Culture Centre and South African Royal Princesses Network themed, “connecting cultures through cultural exchange”. In attendance were members of the Diplomatic corps and members of the South African Royal Princesses Network from across the country. Dignitaries included the Founder of the Diplomatic Society Mr Kirtan Bhana and the CEO of Freedom Park, Ms Jane Mufumadi. Various Kingdoms and nations were represented including Venda, Tsonga, Thembu, Rharhabe, Mpondo, Swati, Shangaan, Ndebele Zulu, Pedi, Tswana.

Prince Ntlane Notshweleka shared the history, culture and language of amaMpondo, the famous Mpondo cultural festivals including the Mpondo Culture and Heritage Festival as well as the Mpondo Reed Dance. Prince Sizwe Vena who is a renowned South African musician shared the history of amaRharhabe and also performed a song called, “Thetha" which encourages people to speak up against GBV and to report GBV. Princess Hlengiwe Zulu who is the KwaZulu Natal representative of the South African Royal Princesses Network elaborated on the history of the Zulu Kingdom whilst Queen Mahumane Nkomo of Tsonga bakaNkomo nation narrated at lengths on the history of her nation as well as its traditions.

 

The Free State South African Royal Princesses Network representative, Princess Gabo Moroka shared the history of Barolong baSeleka in Thaba Nchu and their encounter with Afrikaaners when they first arrived in South Africa. All but Potgieter converged in Thaba Nchu on arrival, she informed. Queen Nombulelo Ngomane spoke both on Swati and Zulu cultures as she is a Swati Princess who is married to Zulu Chief Ngomane. King Makhosonke Mabhena of the Ndebele Kingdom was represented by Prince William Mabhena who conveyed a message on behalf of his King. Prince Kennedy who led a huge entourage including members of the Royal family and Traditional dancers spoke at length about the history of amaPedi, the role of Kings in colonial resistance including King Mampuru II who resisted colonial laws imposed on his nation which led to his arrest and ultimately his death. To date, he explained that his body was never returned and they were still looking for his bones.

Nkosi Magodongo Mahlangu who led a delegation also comprising of the members of the royal family of AmaNdebele kaNdzundza and Traditional dancers touched on the bond they shared with the Pedi nations as when King Mampuru was sought by the colonial masters, he was hidden by his ancestor King Nyabela and this led to both of their arrests. King Mampuru was hanged to death while King Nyabela was handed a life sentence. King Nyabela died shortly after his release from jail.

It is important to note that many Traditional Leaders played an instrumental role in colonial resistance and in the liberation struggle. In 2021 Freedom Park commemorated Mpondo Kings and Chiefs who played a role in this regard including King Faku who consolidated a very powerful Mpondo Kingdom, King Sigcau whose resistance of the colonial laws imposed in the Mpondo Kingdom led to his arrest and incarceration on Robben Island, King Marhelane kaSigcau who was one of the founding Kings of the ANC in 1912 and Nkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau who was an ANC liberation struggle activist. King Nyabela and King Mampuru have previously been commemorated by Freedom Park. Jane Mufumadi, CEO of Freedom Park informed that as Freedom Park, they would continue to honour and commemorate the role played by Traditional Leaders in colonial resistance and in the liberation struggle and that Freedom Park will always support the initiatives of Traditional Leaders, in particular on cultural and rural development.

Princess Stella Sigcau II of the Mpondo Kingdom who is the founder of the South African Royal Princesses Network explained that cultural exchange was instrumental to social cohesion, in breaking down cultural stereotypes, promoted tolerance, contributed to ubuntu and that diversity should be celebrated and used as a symbol of unity. “Of importance is that we all belong to one culture called humanity”, she stated. Mr Jung Bun Chun, Director of the Korean Culture Centre, said that, the Centre was the 33rd they have built in various parts of the world. He explained that the mandate of the Centre is to promote and share Korean culture which included music, movies, language, history and food. Mr Kirtan Bhana, CEO of the Diplomatic Society stated that cultural and arts events like these help to create a better understanding of one another as well as create openness and connectivity between each other.

The guests were entertained to music, food, videos and exhibitions reflecting the diversity of cultures present. It is hoped that this event will be an annual event, connecting diverse cultures through cultural exchanges.