SCHOEMANSDAL – The Swati culture is alive and well among the youth of Nkomazi.
Eighteen-year-old Senziwe Malibe, from Mahlatsi High School in Buffelspruit, and chaperone Teddy Khoza (16) from Driekoppies Combined School, will be representing the Swati culture at the Indoni Miss Cultural SA pageant in Durban later this year.
The duo were chosen during a cultural camp at Shongwe Boarding School last weekend. They will compete against two representatives of each of the other cultures in South Africa.
Indoni SA was founded in 2012 with the aim to teach the youth about their culture and to celebrate their African heritage.
School camps are held in the various provinces each year. In Mpumalanga two camps are held – a Ndebele one in the Nkangala region and the Swati one in the Ehlanzeni region.
The local camp was held from June 24 to 29 and was supported by the Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation.
To participate, young people need to be aged between 12 and 25, be a virgin and able to express themselves.
Facilitators, government officials and childminders ensured the camp’s operations ran smoothly.
The winners were determined by a panel of judges. Competitors had to parade in front of them, recite their clan names and answer questions.
Senziwe, the new Swati Queen, said it took a lot to be crowned. She joined Indoni in 2014, but was too young to enter the pageant.
“Last year I competed for the first time after the long wait. I had no doubt I would succeed, as my grandmother taught me that success comes to those who wait. You have to be a respectful child, value yourself and above all listen to the elders, because they know better than us when it comes to traditions,” she stated. “To know better about something in this life, seek those who walked the same path,” she quoted.
She felt happy and emotional, and wished her late mother and grandmother could see her achievement.
“I don’t want to make promises I can’t fulfil. My actions will speak for me. I’ve already started grouping teenagers together so we can help each other improve our talents and support each other. I also motivate them,” Senziwe stated.
The Indoni SA cultural initiative also incorporates poetry, traditional dance and drama at various functions across the country. It also imparts skills to enable the youth to identify and pursue business opportunities.
Chaperone Teddy Khoza said hard work earned him the crown and that he plans to do his part to promote and showcase the Swati culture by visiting and performing at venues and events such as schools, churches, wedding and parties.