AmaXhosa AseRhawutini Heritage Reunion is an annual event organized by Mzoxolo Allistair Jola Mpike, Bonke Mlungwana, Thobela Biko and others. In previous years, the event is said to have been held successfully and this year’s event was also expected to be likewise… The aim of the event is to unite Xhosa speaking people who are based in Gauteng(AmaGcaleka, AmaRharhade, AbaThembu, AmaMpondo, AmaMpondomise, AmaBhaca, AmaXesibe, AmaGqunukhwebe, etc) and those interested in Xhosa Culture. It’s aim is to unite, educate them on the history and heritage of Xhosa people and entertain them with some of the country’s best musicians, poets and other artists. According to the organisers, this year’s lineup was scheduled to be hosted by Luyanda Potwana of SABC 1’s Nyan Nyan, and acts such as Jessica Mbangeni, 6 Mabone, Simbone Inyange, Nqontsonqa, Athi, Eastern Boys, Traditional Dancers and more. The venue being Mbafi Lodge in Midrand.
Came the day of the event, Xhosa speaking people came from all corners of the Gauteng province, some from as far as Rustenburg in North West Province. The entrance at the venue was R60.00 and for a cooler box, an additional R50.00. The event was scheduled to start at 12pm midday, and by 14H00, it was still very far from being ready to begin… People came dressed in the wonderful Xhosa Traditional Dresses (Imibhaco), and very colourful Xhosa beads to witness this day of Cultural & Heritage Celebrations, only to be disappointed by very poor organizational skills from the “organizers”. By around 16H00 people were losing their patience with the main event co-ordinator, Mzoxolo “Jola” Mpike, no artist had arrived, the sound system was still not working, and fortunately for the organizers, guests decided to get the event going, through Xhosa Traditional Songs & dances (kusombelwa, kuxhentswa). Shortly after 17H00, Jessica Mbangeni, the revered Xhosa poetess arrived ready to do what she is popularly known for, entertain with insightful Xhosa Poetry from her latest album, IGOLI, but unfortunately, the sound system was still not ready for her to perform. By this time, most people were starting to lose their patience as Jola was making excuses so as to why the sound system was still not ready, and non-alcoholic drinks not available. Some left while some were demanding their money back, though it’s unlikely they got it.
By 19H00 it was dark, lights were not working and it was not easy getting ahold of Jola. What promised to be one of the most amazing events in the Xhosa calender turned out to be a total waste of time and money for most people, as none of what had been promised actually happened. Many people who came from far away places in Gauteng and other provinces felt very betrayed and cheated by the organisers who never even gave a proper explanation regarding this dismal event which was supposed to end in high spirits and a renewed sense of Xhosa Cultural Identity for those who took time to attend it… The sound system was only sorted after 20H00, by then most people had left. Jessica Mbangeni performed for those who had remained and then after it became a party until it was stopped by the police in the early hours of the morning…XhosaCulture