Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi on the importance of officiating Ancestors’ Day as a public holiday

  • Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi was one of the speakers at the Castle Milk Stout second annual Ancestors’ Day event.
  • The brand partnered with CONTRALESA on a bid to officiate Ancestors’ Day as a holiday.
  • Gogo Dineo says establishing Ancestors’ Day as a national holiday is important in eradicating stereotypes about African spirituality.

Following centuries of African spirituality being looked down upon and being seen as a taboo topic, we’ve seen more healers and corporations come out to educate, celebrate and embrace African spirituality through a number of initiatives.

On Sunday, 8 May 2022, Castle Milk Stout hosted an event that promoted African roots, traditions and spirituality and encouraged Africans to reflect and learn more about their origins during Ancestors’ Day. The event was held at the Cradle Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg.

Partnering with the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA), the brand is calling for Ancestors’ Day to be recognised as one of the spiritual holidays and to be officiated as a public holiday on the national calendar.

READ MORE | Gogo Skhotheni on embracing African spirituality

The event also saw a panel of speakers who included Mphowabadimo, Bishop Joshua Maponga, Hulisani Ravele, Zolani Mkiva and Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi take to the stage to educate guests on different aspects of spirituality.

Speaking to TRUELOVE, Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi – who is known to be at the forefront of advocating for African spirituality matters – says that Ancestors’ Day is all about rewriting the injustices caused in the past against Africans and their spirituality.

“This day is about collectively being conscious and intentional about remembering who came before us. It is a journey of rewiring and reprogramming the mind of the African child and a foot in the door to changing the educational and corporate system that does not acknowledge African spirituality.

“We are saying that the education system needs to develop a curriculum that teaches people about their culture and traditions while they are at school and for corporate to understand that there are things that we as Africans need to do, which will require us to take time out from work or to show up differently to what is deemed appropriate corporate culture,” she explains.

For the famed sangoma, Ancestors’ Day is important in the plight of eradicating stereotypes and the demonisation of African spirituality, African ancestry and traditions.

“Ancestors’ Day needs to be a recognised holiday on the calendar because we are Africans living in Africa. We cannot be in Africa but have everything that is African being seen as secondary to everything else. We can’t have our beliefs, traditions and customs to be an alternative,” she says.

“As the indigenous people of this land, it is mandatory for this day to be celebrated as a holiday. Being African is who we are and if you look at religion, it is also based on ancestry but religious people are never questioned. Therefore, we are also putting systems in place where we shouldn’t be questioned about why we’re wearing things like isphandla or why we’d want to show up to business meetings in our traditional attire. We shouldn’t have to wear traditional clothing only on Heritage Day or eat our indigenous food only at home, we need to get to a point where being African is a way of life,” she adds.

On the proposed date of Ancestors’ Day being the 8 May, Gogo Dineo – who did not set the day herself – reveals that the date has a significant meaning in the spiritual realm.

READ MORE | BBMzansi winner Mphowabadimo on breaking stereotypes about sangomas in the Big Brother house

“I did not choose this date but I consulted with my guides to find out why this particular date was chosen when they could’ve chosen any day from our African calendar – which has a new year that starts in September – it was revealed to me that May is the beginning of winter and where we are transitioning into a new season. So, as we enter this phase, we are also asking for the guidance and mentorship from our ancestors,” she explains.

“Secondly, the number eight represents infinity. When we are marking the eighth as the day for this holiday, we are already sending out that we are creating infinite possibilities where long lost stories about our ancestors that have been lost and demonised will be restored. Globally, May is also Black History month and this is perfect because Ancestors’ Day is not only for Africans in Africa but for everyone else too,” she concludes.

Members of the public were urged to add their voice on why Ancestors Day is important to them for by signing a petition to endorse this campaign on the Castle Milk Stout website.

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