Date:10 February 2017 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Thousands of residents from around Vhembe and outside gathered at the Dzata Ruins at Vhutuwangadzebu in the Nzhelele area on Saturday for the annual Dzata Day celebrations.
The ceremony was organized by King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana, with the support of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture in Limpopo. Traditional dances, foods, drinks and praise singing for all traditional leaders were the order of the day.
Thovhele Gole Mphaphuli read the history of Dzata, while a marula beer-tasting ceremony, led by King Mphephu Ramabulana, also took place. As per custom, commoners taste the marula drink first before the king partakes. Guests were also taken on a tour of the heritage site.
Mphephu Ramabulana said the day would remain an integral part of the Vhavenda nation and that it would be celebrated forever. "The Vhavenda nation is not a lost nation. This is the reason why we give ourselves time to come and gather here. We are now urging parents to allow their children to attend such events, where they will learn more about their culture," said the king.
Mphephu thanked the government for partnering with them in the upgrading of the museum, saying many improvements had been done at the site. He also urged residents to guard jealously against the vandalization of the infrastructure at the respected heritage site. He further indicated that there was a need for vernacular languages to be taught at all schools.
Sports Arts and Culture MEC Ms Onica Moloi said the government had committed itself to upgrading all the museums and heritage sites in the province for them to meet international standards. She further indicated that the heritage celebrations should include all the ethnic groups in the province and not the Vhavenda only. "This we should do in order to enhance social cohesion in the province where all cultural groups could meet and interact with each other," he said.
Moloi further said stories about their culture were not told and they would love to see an increase in Tshivenda movies that would tell their stories. She also said the province needed to move with speed in renaming most of the places. "We are in consultation with traditional leaders, so that they give us a database of warriors and heroines of this province, so that places could be named after them," she added.
Traditional leaders and officials of government pose with King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana during the event at Dzata.
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.