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who we are is linked to our heritage

Ngoanana oa Mosotho: My Heritage, My Identity

By Moipone Molapo

I often think about the world we live in. I think about how we are surrounded by acquaintances, colleagues, friends, family, and extended family alike, and how in some way or another we are influenced by experiences shared.

Who we are, to some extent, is determined by how we were raised. That is our foundation. An undeniable truth, however, is that who we are? And, who we eventually become is also determined by different experiences throughout our lifetime and how we choose to live our lives.

The beautiful thing about living in South Africa is that we are a diverse nation. It is always beautiful to see when people embrace each other’s differences. What I have discovered is that you are never too young or too old to learn.

The celebration of Heritage Day on the 24th of September is one that demonstrates how loving and accepting we can all be. We were never born hateful. It is a constant reminder that despite our differences we can come together as one because we are one.

My culture and traditions are a huge part of who I am. I am a proud Mosotho woman and I never shy away from expressing it. I am grateful to my parents for teaching me from a young age not to allow my culture to be diluted by the expectations of society. I believe that we need to teach the youth that they do not have to deny their own identity to be relatable or accepted.

What I know about my heritage comes from a combination of conversations had with my parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents who are no longer with us, customs practiced, and various literature.

To this day, the random conversations with my father where we talk about where he comes from are best. I have found that it is in the unplanned conversations and shared moments where the greatest stories resurface in his memories and allow him to impart knowledge, the knowledge that I will one day have the privilege to pass on to my children.