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Gathering Around The Kraal

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Men gather around a kraal in Mcwangele, a village in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Most traditional families in rural South Africa own kraals, or enclosures designated for livestock.

During ceremonies, women are traditionally not allowed inside the kraal, unless they are more mature and elderly, and on the rare occasion, selected to speak.

In this picture, a cow is confined to a kraal to observe rituals ahead of the unveiling of a tombstone (a culture practiced mostly by black South Africans). A cow is used, rather than sheep, on this occasion.

Decades ago, my great grandparents were buried in this village of their birth about 840kms from Johannesburg.

Three generations later, I am here with my family to support our grandparents who felt the need to mark their parents’ graves that had been in a dilapidated condition. 

Remembering her father, my  grandmother Dade Patricia Monnakgotla, said: “Our father, Dabula Petros Nhose, would travel regularly to Gauteng by bicycle or horse from here and it would take him about 10 days.”

The anecdotes from the older generation about a bygone era were indeed engrossing. Nhose died in 1977, while his wife, my great grandmother, Monica Chule Nhose, died in 1971.

The legacy of the Nhose clan name lives on, tattooed on my arm.

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