Image: Adobe Stock
Image: Adobe Stock
As the rainbow nation celebrated Heritage Day, I watched in jubilation. Some South Africans adorned themselves in traditional attire, while others took videos showing their fluency in our 11 official and other African languages. It was very beautiful to watch.
However, a couple of questions struck me:
I believe that civilisation and urbanisation are the main reasons why we have lost our roots, especially as Africans.
Back in the day, traditional herbs and medicine played a huge role in our overall health and wellbeing.
Even though our ancestors weren’t educated, they knew a lot of things and were in touch with mother nature.
A good example is the herb umhlonyane (African wormwood). This was the most used and sought-after herb over COVID-19 when it the pandemic was at its peak. Madagascar claimed it had developed a cure using this herb.
I assume the death rate in many African countries was lower than expected because of the use of traditional medicine, especially in South Africa.
With the move to urban areas we often leave behind our mother tongues and culture as well.
Research has indicated that people often do not know the value of their mother tongue. Even though English is the universal language, it is important to teach the current generation the importance of knowing their mother tongue.
What will we pass on to the next generation if we do not know who we are? What will we teach them if we do not know and embrace our culture and language?
With a population that is increasing almost every day, farmers use chemicals to help them grow food to meet the demand and prevent food scarcity.
Scientists and farmers therefore produce a lot of food with artificial methods. This means also that we are now able to get fruits and vegetables even when they are out of season.
The question is, however, are they healthy and do they have as many nutrients as when they are in season?
Research has indicated that eating too much processed food is actually causing our health to deteriorate. We now have incurable diseases because of the unhealthy food we eat.
But, imagine if we were to grow our own food. If each family had a herb or vegetable garden, perhaps we would be healthier.
Sure, food brands and manufacturers have decreased sugar, salt and other ingredients that are bad for our health. Even so, much of the food we eat is unhealthy.
Advertisements in the media encourage us to indulge in junk food because it is rare to hear or see adverts for healthy food.
Besides that, healthier food is often more expensive. This is why I say every day should be heritage day because traditional food is healthier.
Growing our vegetables could save us a lot of money, and opting for traditional medicine and herbs may help us to heal some of our ailments.
South Africa is a very diverse country in terms of language, race, and cuisine.
So let us embrace the rainbow nation that we are by learning other languages while ensuring that our mother tongues will continue to exist.