We’re celebrating #HERitage with POND’S by showcasing the diverse and beautiful women of South Africa and telling their stories. From our culture to our traditions, our memories and our beliefs, it’s our uniquely South African stories and experiences that make us so beautiful.
Essentials Beauty Editor Raisibe Grace Mantjiu talks about community and tradition, and tells us her uniquely South African story…
The colours and patterns associated with Ndebele culture — something so powerful and meaningful to me — instantly fill me with joy. When I see the bright shapes, I’m reminded of the Ndebele women who work so hard to paint them and pass on the tradition to their daughters. As a uniquely South African woman, shaped by where I come from, and by the powerful people in my life and community, I’m trying to learn more and more about my culture, especially so I can pass on a sense of tradition to my sons.
Born in Tembisa, Jo’burg, I moved to Mashashane, a small village in Limpopo, when I was 8 years old. We moved after my mom passed away very suddenly. In Mashashane, almost everyone is family. An uncle, aunt or cousin – everyone is connected! So when there are special occasions, there’s always someone to help with the cooking, décor, organising – whatever you need. I absolutely love this strong sense of community that I grew up with.
“In Mashashane, almost everyone is family. An uncle, aunt or cousin – everyone is connected! So when there are special occasions, there’s always someone to help.”
My father raised my brother and me on his own — cooking for us, making sure we were ready for school, working hard and keeping both of us in line! Just thinking about his strength fills me with pride. Assuming the role of both a mother and a father, following tradition wasn’t a priority for my dad — teaching us respect and independence was. My father instilled in me a deep understanding of the need to respect people, no matter their circumstances or social standing.
As an active member in the community, but also forward thinking and practical, my father taught me we should always strive to preserve and celebrate our culture, but we should never let it hold us back or define us. I see this notion in the incredibly strong women of my culture — especially women who are around my age; many of them are probably the first generation who’ve had the opportunity to further their education and break gender boundaries.
Even though I’m Ndebele, all the important people in my life come from different backgrounds, with different heritages. Even my name is Pedi — I was named after my grandmother! When my brother and I go home to visit, you’ll hear us speaking Tswana, Ndebele and Pedi all at the same time. My friends are Xhosa, Tswana — it’s this blending of cultures, with a common thread of love that makes me more than a proud Ndebele woman, but a proud South African woman.
“Even though I’m Ndebele, all the important people in my life come from different backgrounds, with different heritages.”
What’s beautiful about your heritage? Share your story with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the Hashtag: #HERitage #Ponds #HeritageDay