Nokwanda Nene is one of the first people to give feedback on the website, she says, she was fascinated about the umhlonyana story written by me. She is from Chestervillle, she attends Clairwood Secondary School and will be turning 16 this year.
After Nokwanda knew that she was to have her own Umhlonyana, she started doing research on Umhlonyana as she didn’t know much about it. As she was researching about it, she came across this website and came across the umhlonyane story. She says that she found it very interesting and she learned alot about the significance of it and what needs to be done. She also contacted me on facebook and kept on asking more questions on what she was not sure about .
Nokwanda explains that it was a challenge getting the girls together, as you need other girls of one’s age to help you with the ceremony, some of them, who had agreed, cancelled at last minute. It took her weeks to get them, especially because she wanted more than 10 girls, she had to call their parents and ask them for permission and she finally got 14 girls, which was very good. The girls came on a Saturday and the ceremony was going to be on a Sunday. Her family belongs to the Nazareth Baptist Church, Saturday is their Sabbath day and they do not perform rituals on a Saturday which is why they had to have it on a Sunday.
After the girls arrived, her aunts and grandmothers came in (where they were staying at the time), they told them about the importance of staying pure till marriage. They also explained to them about the importance of umhlonyana. She explained to me that, before it was dark (on Saturday afternoon), her father came in with a goat that was to be slaughtered and knelt down ’emthini’ (where they ask for certain things or give thanks to ancestors). After the goat was slaughtered, her father took out the bile from the goat, he put some on her wrists and told her to put it in her mouth, he put some on her chest. He then explained to her that, in the morning, when she goes to the river, she has to wash it off and she must wash her body last and she must throw in silver money as it signifies good luck. They were told not to look back at the river on their way home as something misfortunate might happen. And so they did as they were told, they went home and prepared for the Zulu dance. Nokwanda wore her beaded skirt, beades around her neck and on her legs, she was dressed traditionally.
Nokwanda explains that it was nice to see all those people at the ceremony; her relatives, friends and neighbours. She says, she learnt alot, she learnt that one cannot control every situation, some things do not go exactly as planned, family is very important, they are always helpful in many situations. Nokwanda enjoyed every moment of her mhlonyana, she feels is was a wonderful experience.
Written by: Ayanda Siphesihle Ngcobo 10/5/13
This post is also available in: Zulu