Just a Click Away: Learning from the Xhosa Elders of Ngxingxolo Village

I’ve always been intrigued by women in communities around the world; from their cultural traditions, style of dress, cooking practices, and overall lifestyle. While driving through the wild coast of South Africa, I became curious about the daily life of people occupying rural communities. I wandered if xhosa cultural traditions remained intact or have evolved with the times as everything else in South Africa. My curiosity lead me to a rural village in the township of Chinsta, South Africa called Ngxingxolo.

Mama Tofu inside of a traditional homestead 2015
Mama Tofu inside of a traditional homestead 2015
Mama Tofu
Mama Tofu

I was greeted by a highly regarded elder of the community, Mama Tofu. She spent the day explaining the traditional way of life for xhosa people. As she listed the daily tasks of women within the village, it became clear that these women are pillars of the community. From milling corn to preparing meals, fetching water, cleaning and child rearing responsibilities; xhosa women do it all. While the men are respected as the head of the household; their responsibilities are far less. Might I add that these women don’t have washing machines, hot running water, or microwaves to save the day. I immediately thought to myself, what an honor it must be being a woman in this community. My back started hurting just thinking about it.

xhosa girls outside their homestead
xhosa girls outside their homestead
Mama Tofu highlighting the history and traditions of the xhosa people
Mama Tofu highlighting the history and traditions of the xhosa people
Xhosa woman mills corn to demonstrate the the daily duties of women within the community 2015
Xhosa woman mills corn to demonstrate the the daily duties of women within the community 2015

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A Xhosa gentleman takes on the  challenge of milling corn
A Xhosa gentleman takes on the challenge of milling corn
An elder explains the importance of rituals to honor ancestors such as slaughtering goats 2015
An elder explains the importance of rituals to honor ancestors such as slaughtering goats 2015

I walked away feeling empowered; feeling connected to a legacy of such strong women.

Xhosa girls dancing 2015
Xhosa girls dancing 2015
Xhosa girls dancing 2015
Xhosa girls dancing 2015

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