As it is Heritage Day, The Village Voice looks at three “living treasures” that were given tokens of appreciation by Thomo Heritage Park for their role in promoting cultural heritage.
The three granny Sarah Hlekani Masunga of Hi Hlurile Project in Giyani Township, veteran development activist Solomon Maswanganyi of Thomo village and granny Christina Masuluke of M’tititi Magic, a project at M’tititi village in the Collins Chabane Local Municipality making beadwork and Xitsonga traditional clothes were each given R10 000 and a calabash as tokens of appreciations.
The funding was done by the national department of sports, arts and culture.
Richard Mabunda, the director of the Thomo Heritage Park says the three are icons who will always be an inspiration to the youth to be involved in cultural heritage.
“They have been there and seen it all and it is not easy. That is why we decided to give them a pat on the back while they are still alive,” said Mabunda who runs a park that keeps Xitsonga history from the Iron Age.
The park is the only one of its kind in the area as it is keeping cultural history, with a museum and a gallery from the Iron Age.
The three irons are all committed to their areas of focus.
Masunga whose beadwork has seen her travel the world is a former teacher and mother of well-known motivational speaker Masingita Masunga who has her own TV slot.
Masuluke is also a veteran community leader and her brainchild M’tititi Magic is selling traditional clothings the world over.
Old man Maswanganyi is versatile and is also known for repairing chairs in the Giyani area.
All the three took their time to thank the Heritage Foundation and Dunisani Chavalala from the department of arts and culture.
Chavalala himself said the department appreciated the role played by the three “living treasures” as they motivate the youth to go in the direction that they pursued.
Two fraternal organisations the Khatisa Chavalala Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Muribani Heritage Centre attended the event.
The former continues the legacy of the late Khatisa Chavalala who was an iconic musician as well as a community builder and philanthropist.
Chavalala gave shelter to the homeless and also educated destitute children.
Plans are in progress to build a cultural village in Greenfarm in the Collins Chabane Municipality with the theme “Home of a Musician” in honour of the late Chavalala who despite her illiteracy was an iconic musician and gender activist who promoted the rights of women before they were fashionable.
Muribane Heritage Park at Shihosana in the Collins Chabane Local Municipality has revived the area which was a mecca of traditional boxing in the late fifties and sixties.