Top 5 Things To Look For In A Roofing Company

Do you know that roofs breathe? You might think it’s a funny thought but the roof deck needs good ventilation. During roof ventilation, the warm and moist air escapes and the cooler and drier air moves into the attic.

Without proper ventilation, condensation accumulates in the attic and can cause damages to the wall, wood and even insulations.

It is also important to note that roofing is like an art and requires lots of skill if you are to get the best out of your roof. Therefore, getting a good roofing company like the Windsor roofing company is paramount.

A good roofing company knows that it is more about shingles than it is about woods. You really don’t want to have to deal with the consequences of poor roofing.

List Of 5 Important Things To Look For In A Roofing Company

Picture of Things To Look For In A Roofing Company

It is important to look out for the following while looking out for a roofing company for your next roofing work.

1. A Licensed And Insured Company:

It is important to look for a company where you can be assured you are in safe hands. Before you contract a company to fix your roof, ensure you see a license.

Before any company is issued a license for the product or services they claim they offer, they have to go through many tests and meet certain standard requirements determined by the issuing body.

This license is important because it suggests that they have the requirements needed in that industry and also shows professionalism. Also, ensure that the company has compensation and liability insurance for its workers.

This insurance is necessary because in the case of any injury to the workers or damage on the property the insurance company would bear the cost.

2. Check Out The References:

A good roofing company should have enough proof of the quality of their work. If they are as great as they claim to be, giving you the contacts of some customers shouldn’t be a problem. When you get these references, you can check them out.

It is an opportunity for you to get to ask questions and learn about the roofing company from someone who had experienced their services first hand. You also get to check out their work and ask the customers if they would want to have that company working for them another time.

3. Do they have a Location or Real Contact?

It is not really safe to patronize a company that shows up from nowhere. A professional roofing company should have an office address. A working phone number and possibly an email should be provided.  You should be able to call on them anytime you need them.

How would you contact them if you need to do some repair within your warranty period? A permanent business address shows that the roofing company is stable and committed to meet the needs of its customers.

4. Job Experience:

You don’t want to get your roofing done, then have to keep repairing it regularly. Roofing job requires good knowledge, skill, and adequate training. An experienced roofing company would also have a good track record on their shelf.

The life span of a roof is dependent on the nature of the material and the installation, therefore, to get the best out of your roofing do not only consider quality material but also an experienced roofing company.

5. Ensure The Contract Is Written:

A written document is more authoritative. While dealing with a roofing company always ensure that every agreement is documented. A good roofing company will also give you a written estimate or quote of what is to be done.

If their services also include a warranty, it should be clearly stated and also the duration of the warranty must be stated too.

What Should I Look For In A Roofing Contract?

A roofing contract is an important document. It shows the details of the agreement between the contractor and the client. Amongst other information that should be found in the roofing contract, the following should be clearly seen.

1. Details Of The Warranty:

This agreement usually involves repairs that are as a result of low work quality. Ensure the period of the contract is clearly written.

2. The Work Description:

The contract should include details of the job to be done. These include details about the materials to be used, the start and the finish dates, and the detail of the replacement made together with the removal of the old roof.

3. Payment Agreement:

The mode and period of payment should also be seen in the contract. The percentage deposited before the commencement of the work should also be clearly written.

4. Details On License And Insurance:

A License number should be added including the insurance details and contact.

5. Room For Unforeseen Circumstances:

In the contract, provision should also be made for other challenges that may arise in the course of the job.

6. Opt-Out Option:

The contract should also make provision for its termination. This agreement also involves the notice period, the arrangement for payment, and other compensations against damages.

What Is A GAF Master Elite Roofing Contractor?

There is a standard on how roofing should be made, therefore, it is not just anybody with a hammer and a nail gun that is qualified for the job. It’s been recorded that complaints involving roofing made to the Better Business Bureau are about 70% of the total complaints.

The cost of roofing is a fraction of the total building cost but plays a major role in protecting your house, therefore, the role of the roofer cannot be overemphasized.

Master Elite roofing contractors are certified contractors who will help ensure you get your standard warranty when you are in need of a warranty replacement.

A poor roofing job might disqualify you from getting your warranty benefit. Master Elite roofing contractors are not just certified contractors but those that have met some strict standards and requirements from GAF.

Tips To Making Money With Wealthy Affiliate

New affiliates may find it hard at first to earn money through Wealthy Affiliate. A common question I see get asked alot is how much money can you make with wealthy affiliate?

Itmay take a few months to even a year to get your first sale. But if you start in the right way, being an affiliate in WA is really rewarding. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you start:

wealthy affiliate tips

Take your time

When you sign up for Wealthy Affiliate, there will be a lot of training materials available for you. The information on WA can be overwhelming especially to those who do not have experience in affiliate marketing. Newcomers tend to feel buried with all this data.

To overcome this, you should pace yourself. Do not rush into going through each and every one of them. Make sure that you properly understand the lesson before going to the next. Remember that being on WA is not a race!

Take notes

It will be hard to remember every single thing. It helps to have a pad for you to write on so that you can easily review the important notes you have. Jotting down notes will also increase your attention span while learning and boost your comprehension.

Stay Consistent

Do not settle for less. Continue to absorb as much information as you can. Always be on the look out for more ways to improve, meet new people, create better strategies, and grow your business. If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask other marketers. You can also find a mentor that you can talk to about your business. Surround yourself with smart and productive people who will drive you to become victorious on your venture.

Anticipate Failure

Things will not always go as you planned. As said earlier, a lot of Wealthy Affiliate members experience a setback in one way or the other. You may be doing good for a couple of months, then suddenly notice that there is a drop in your revenue. Instead of sulking, or worse, giving up, take time to reevaluate your business. Check on what went wrong and make sure that you learn from your mistakes.

Make a to-do list

You may have a lot of different ideas to add to your website. Or you can also have various topics you want to write about on your blog. But you can’t do all these at once. It will help if you create a to-do list. This will aid you in managing your time. A list will also keep you organized and will help you to make sure that nothing is forgotten.

Maximize your resources

To thrive in Wealthy Affiliates, you should be able to maximize everything that it has to offer. WA wants you to succeed, that is why it offers a range of tools you can use. Make sure to know how to use each one of them to your advantage.

Utilize The Tools Wealthy Affiliate Offers

Wealthy Affiliate has everything you will ever need to succeed online. Wealthy Affiliate is more than just an online network. It provides the right business instruments to help you become successful online. Here are some of the high-quality services offered by Wealthy Affiliate:

Training Courses

Learning through the internet can be overwhelming at times. It’s a good thing that WA offers a vast array of training courses that range from beginner to advance guides. The lessons are easy to follow and are always up-to-date.

Everything is step-by-step: it makes you understand how to create your own website and teaches you how to become a successful affiliate marketer.

Take note, some of the videos and text training are exclusive to premium members. Only the basics are made available to those who signed up with the free membership. So, if you want to learn more, you’ll be needing to spend on it.

Keyword Research Tool

The Jaaxy keyword research is vital for every affiliate marketer. Finding the right keyword research tool can be hard and expensive. But with your membership with Wealthy Affiliate, you’ll already have access to a keyword tool that will appease your needs for building an online business.


Wealthy Affiliate has a beautiful community of helpful and active members. Whatever the time is, seasoned affiliates from all over the globe are there to willingly help you. Discussions in the community often have hundreds of responses that covers possible roadblocks you may encounter along the way.

You can also get support from the founders themselves. Co-founders Kyle and Carson reaches out to their members and gives them pieces of advice directly. They also answer the questions on their profiles within the day or less.

About Us

The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa, the sole and authentic representative of the progressive traditional leadership of South Africa, conveys its felicitations and hearty congratulations to the African National Congress and its new leadership, elected at the historic 52nd National Conference held in Polokwane, Limpopo, in December 2007.

We join the millions of fellow South Africans in expressing the hope of the achievement of a better life for all under the banner of a strong and united leadership collective of the ANC. As traditional leaders of the toiling and marginalised rural masses of the African people living in communal lands, we pledge our commitment to working closely with you as you seek to implement Conference resolutions which will uplift their living conditions.

We will, however, be in a position to make a meaningful contribution to your endeavours when our longstanding concerns are addressed. The purpose of this memorandum is, therefore, to apprise you of such concerns. It is our hope also that on this particular occasion our discussion will render it unnecessary for these concerns to be ever raised again.

The Formation of CONTRALESA

Contralesa was formed in 1987 by some of the traditional leaders of the erstwhile homeland of KwaNdebele, under the auspices of the United Democratic Front, with the material and political support of the ANC. It was due largely to the resistance of these traditional leaders, as part of the mass democratic movement, that the apartheid programme of homeland-style independence was derailed.

Since its formation, through to the unbanning of political organisations and the advent of constitutional negotiations between the ANC and the apartheid regime, Contralesa enjoyed good working relations with the ANC. The future role and place of the institution of traditional leadership under a democratic government were assured, to the extent that the ANC’s Constitutional Guidelines stated that, “The institution of traditional leadership shall be transformed to promote the democratic interests of the people”.

Relations started to deteriorate, however, when the ANC failed to support the participation of traditional leaders or Contralesa in CODESA. Before they were eventually invited to the talks, traditional leaders had to undergo the humiliation of appearing before a committee to justify their call for inclusion in the negotiations on the future of their fatherland.

The Interim Constitution

As a result of the traditional leaders’ participation in the Constitutional Talks the interim Constitution was much more clearer on the role of traditional leadership in the new era of democracy than does the final Constitution. Under the former all legislatures were obliged to refer relevant draft legislation to the appropriate House of Traditional Leaders before they could be passed into law. At the local level heads of traditional authorities were automatically members of municipal councils having jurisdiction over their areas of rule.

Traditional authorities were allowed to continue to perform their tasks and exercise their powers as local government structures and as courts of justice.

The Final Constitution

The final Constitution, unlike the interim, was made without the full participation of traditional leaders. This was due to the fact that the government failed to establish the National House of Traditional Leaders before its finalisation. A comprehensive submission made by Contralesa to the Constituent Assembly was never taken into account when the relevant provisions were considered for adoption.

The result of such exclusion was the dilution of the provisions found in the interim Constitution. Government is now no longer constitutionally obliged to establish Houses of Traditional Leaders. Nor does the Constitution make it compulsory for the legislatures to refer relevant Bills to a House. The Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act of 2003 does, however, oblige legislatures to refer such Bills to a House.

Chapter 12, the chapter dealing with the matter of traditional leadership, is often ridiculed by commentators, as the shortest and vaguest in the Constitution. It says virtually nothing about the role and powers of traditional leaders.

Chapter 7, the chapter dealing with the local government sphere, has practically taken away all the powers and functions which historically belonged to traditional leaders. In this particular regard, President Thabo Mbeki gave a solemn undertaking to the Coalition of Traditional Leaders (comprising Contralesa, the National and Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders and the Royal Bafokeng), on the eve of the 2000 local government elections, that if the Constitution or any other law took away the powers and functions of traditional leaders, the Constitution or any such other law would have to be changed so as to restore such powers and functions.

As a consequence of such undertaking then Deputy President Jacob Zuma, together with Minister Sidney Mufamadi, concluded an agreement with the Coalition to the effect that Chapter 7 would be suitably amended to address the traditional leaders’ concerns. No such amendment was ever done, however. Naturally, we do feel a sense of betrayal.

On the judicial front, the Constitution acts as if African courts of traditional leaders do not exist. The chapter dealing with the courts of the land makes no mention of these courts. Yet, it is common knowledge that millions of rural South Africans are serviced by the courts of traditional leaders in the administration of criminal and civil justice. In spite of recommendations by the South African Law Commission that these courts be fully recognised and given the requisite resources, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development has failed to take the action necessary to promote them.

Renumeration oF Traditional Leaders

Traditional leaders of all ranks, i.e. kings, iinkosi (chiefs) and iinkosana (headmen), are, like politicians in government, public office bearers. They are entitled to be remunerated in a manner commensurate with their responsibilities and status. The truth, however, is that in this regard traditional leaders are discriminated against. The best that they receive is a basic salary without the concomitant allowances such as medical aid, motor vehicle allowances, pension benefits, etc. Due to lack of uniformity in the manner in which provincial governments treat the institution, some traditional leaders have been provided with motor vehicles, while others have not. Needless to say, this gives rise to resentment and annoyance on the part of those who do not get this form of support.

In yet another meeting with then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki in April 1999, the Contralesa leadership was assured that traditional leaders of the same rank would be remunerated equally. Indeed officially recognised kings, iinkosi and some of iinkosana, in some of the provinces, were paid the same basic salary in accordance with their ranks. It is common knowledge, though, that not all of our kings are accorded the same treatment, benefits, allowances and privileges. Some have motor vehicles provided by government, while others don’t; others have palaces built and maintained by government, while others have no such; others have their children and queens maintained and/or educated by government, while others enjoy no such services. The Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act provides for the President of the Republic to determine what allowances and benefits are to be enjoyed by traditional leaders in addition to their basic salaries. We do not know why he has to date not exercised this prerogative.

While the kings and iinkosi receive salary increases annually, iinkosana (those who get salaries) do not receive such increases on a regular basis. This is not only absurd, but grossly inhumane.

Some of us are members of the national and provincial legislatures. We know that a great deal of party caucus time is spent on members’ complaints about the inadequacy of the salary packages they receive. They make the correct point that for them to be able to discharge their responsibilities as public representatives they need to be properly remunerated. The same imperatives apply to traditional leaders. It does not help for our detractors to be accusing traditional leaders of being concerned only about their well-being. They have needs and family responsibilities like everybody else. Besides, it is demeaning and undignified for traditional leaders to be forever complaining about their welfare; it is un-African.

Service Delivery in Communal Areas

The continuous failure by the ANC and government to deal adequately and finally with this matter of the role, place and powers of the institution in modern-day South Africa has a negative effect on service delivery in the communal areas. Every minister, councillor or state official knows that the co-operation of traditional leaders, of all ranks, in the implementation of government programmes is of vital importance for its meaningful and sustainable success.

The last time the ANC engaged Contralesa in meaningful political engagement was while it was led by what was called the Leadership Core under the late Mr Walter Sisulu. Subsequent meetings were convened only when major crises arose, after which no follow-up discussions would be held, in spite of constant reminders on our part.

All the problems that have bedevilled relations between the ANC, and later the government, are a result of the failure by the ANC to engage the organisation in political discussions. The two organisations have ended up second-guessing each other, and in the process accumulating presumptions and prejudices against each other.

Several pieces of legislation dealing with traditional leadership have been passed. Almost all of them give recognition to the relevance of the institution even in this era of modern democracy. These laws have facilitated the reconstruction, democratisation and transformation of tribal authorities into traditional councils and the establishment of the National, Provincial and (in some provinces) Local Houses of Traditional Leaders.

The Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, (the blue-print on traditional leadership for the whole country) provides for various departments of state to devise legislation in terms of which they must facilitate the participation of traditional leaders in their work. Thus far only the Department of Land Affairs has come up with relevant legislation. Yet, all departments active in the communal areas are forever calling on traditional leaders to assist them with their programmes.

The structures that have been set up are no better than the “toy telephones” of old. They are, to varying degrees, hardly taken seriously, even by the government that set them up. An abiding scandal is the fact that the National House of Traditional Leaders, fourteen years into democracy, has still not been provided with a debating chamber. It does not even have offices decent and large enough to accommodate members and staff. Members of all the Houses are regarded, except for the Chairpersons and their Deputies, as part-time members who get paid travelling and sitting allowances, with no salaries.

The traditional councils are in some areas “white elephants”, except that most of them are in appalling states of dilapidation and neglect, having last been attended to with funds provided in the apartheid era. Ward councillors, ward committees and community development workers have been installed in these communal areas without any regard for the existing indigenous officers who work hand-in-hand with traditional leaders. As a result confusion and needless rivalry reign between the new and the original

For the communal area citizens government and its services continue to be far, distant and expensive to access. We make the suggestion that the traditional council facilities be reconstructed and used to house government offices which deal, on a daily basis, with rural citizens. It does not make any sense for these South Africans to be forced to journey to the urban areas to access government services in an era where they own the government. Towns, as they exist, were built where they are by whites for their own convenience, at places where they gathered. Rural masses gather at their civic centres, the Great Places.

We are encouraged by the Polokwane National Conference resolutions which place emphasis on rural development, land and agrarian reform. As historical custodians of communal land we look forward to working together with the ANC government to ensure that this particular resolution is implemented. Needless to say, mutual respect between traditional leaders and political leaders is key to the achievement of such a goal.

It is incumbent upon the ANC to wipe out this phobia afflicting Africans in terms of which they despise their own institutions in favour of those of whites. Our government at all levels and in all spheres, is housed in buildings and structures that were occupied by our erstwhile oppressors; yet we behave in ways which suggest that we are ashamed of our own institutions.


We invite the current leadership of the ANC to revisit the origins of the organisation. The ethnic clashes and wars engulfing Africa were predicted by the founders of this glorious movement, when they called for the unity of Africans under the benevolent guidance of their traditional leaders. The institution continues to be best placed to deal with tribalism, which continues to manifest itself like umlilo wegquba – the fire that rages underneath the surface of the cattle-kraal cow-dung without being noticed. Tribalism is best dealt with by tribal leaders, rather than politicians. As we advance towards the 100th anniversary of the ANC in 2012 the House of Chiefs (as it was then called) needs to be re-established. This is after all the African Century which implies that mazibuy’emasisweni – the cattle, hitherto on loan, must be returned to their original owners.

Naturally, this document cannot purport to exhaust all the issues that require our common attention; it is merely a basis for a political discussion.



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Communique and Spechees

“The Contralesa President speaks”




White society, through its socio-economic, political, religious and educational systems, misinterpreted, misunderstood, distorted, manipulated and disfigured our cultures, customs, traditions and our ways of life as Africans generally. They did this almost so successfully that the great majority of our people believed the interpretation of our ways by the then white ruling class as the correct ones. This caused so much damage that educated Africans conducted themselves in ways that showed a desire to distance themselves from their culture as it became an embarrassment to them.

This group continues to distinguish itself by speaking amongst themselves in English even when they are of the same language group. Being able to express yourself in English, even when you can’t do so in your own language, seems to be the hallmark of civilization. Knowledge of one’s language enables a person to know and understand one’s culture. Through the language you are able to understand the idioms and proverbs, behind which are hidden or stored the values and beliefs of your people. You begin to realize why certain things are done or stated in particular ways.

Through some of our colonial laws and books written by white “experts”, we are told that women are perpetual minors, who are forever beholden to their men-folk, through whom they can only enjoy their rights. We are told that they have no rights of their own and cannot even inherit their parents’ estates. Our own educated leaders and policy-makers, males and females, swallow this lie, hook, line and sinker, as the gospel truth. They cannot do otherwise because their education taught them so. They never bother to ask of their own organic intellectuals as to why certain of our practices appear to undermine a section of the community, because to them intellectuals, and thus repositories of knowledge, are those who have imbibed the white man’s education.

In African culture there is gender equity. Everyone has his or her own place and space. None threads unduly in the space of the other. The woman nurtures the children; she prepares food for them; she teaches them proper behaviour, good morals and industriousness. The man provides the food, shelter and comfort for the family. Everything he brings to the fold belongs to all of them in undivided shares. The livestock that he acquires is to be used for the benefit of the family. He is not allowed to use it as he pleases without consulting with his partner, the wife. If an animal is to be slaughtered he is required to even inform his brothers, especially if it is an ox/cow/bull. The brothers are concerned that he does not squander family resources as when destitute they will be a burden on them as well.

The other oft-repeated lie is that women are not allowed to own land. The truth of the matter is that no individual owns land. Land is owned collectively by the tribe and the administration of the institution of traditional leadership i.e. the traditional leader and his counselors. Each member of the tribe is entitled to a piece of land to build a home, to cultivate food and to graze the family livestock. Because everyone belongs to a family the land is allocated in such a manner that families, and not individuals, are given land to use. Minor and unmarried children are under the care of their parents, thus do not deserve to be given land of their own.

A married man is entitled to apply for a piece of land to provide the necessities of life to his family. The allotment belongs to him and his family in undivided shares. He cannot evict any of them from such allotment. Had the white bothered to make the necessary enquiries when he introduced the land registration system, he would have been advised to register the allotments in the names of the husband, the wife and each child upon birth. Homesteads are even referred to in the names of the wives. This is so because, when the man applied for the allotment, he informed the traditional leadership that he had a wife for whom he had to build a homestead. This is why when the man decides to marry another wife he is required to find her another allotment. You might want to know why a woman is not allowed the right to marry more than one man at a time. I do not know the answer, but I did say that in our societies there is gender equity, nor have I ever come across a society where there is gender equality. I do concede, though, that societies are striving for that ideal.

The other basis for the assumption that women are perpetual minors is that when the man dies the eldest son is declared the heir. The truth is that the widow and the eldest son are joint administrators of the estate. None has the right to do as she or he pleases with the assets of the estate. They are trustees who are required to use the family resources in the same manner that they would have been used during the life of the man. The widow must live in the manner in which she did while the husband lived. She may not be evicted from her homestead.

The daughters are entitled to get all the support they received from their father. For all the necessary rituals, the purchase of the trousseau upon marriage, as well as anything else they need, the heir is required to provide. In fact this is the case even if the estate is insolvent.

Similarly with the younger brothers, they too are entitled to all the support that their father was required to provide. The heir must facilitate their rites of passage to manhood, the provision of lobolo for their prospective brides, as well as setting them up in their new homestead,

Women cannot enter into contracts on their own without the assistance of their fathers, elder brothers or husbands, our anthropologists and their black disciples tell us. Again the truth is that amongst ourselves they are quite free to purchase anything they want, including livestock and other stuff. The whites decided that because they told us women were perpetual minors, they would not allow them to enter into contracts; they preferred the men. This has nothing to do with our culture.

I could go on and on debunking the many myths that were peddled and continue to be propagated by our detractors in the name of our culture. Let me conclude by dealing with the matter of women and succession to royal leadership. Succession to this position is determined by the customs of a particular clan. In some the leader must be a woman at all times; in others it must be a man at all times. Deviation from the set procedure renders the incumbent illegitimate. Deviation is allowed only in instances of regency, where the rightful successor is a minor or is otherwise incapacitated to take the position. In most cases in recent times, and for purposes of convenience mothers to the heir are encouraged to act as regents until he is in a position to take up his post. In the patrilineal systems, which is the majority of cases, the heir is always the son in order to ensure that it is a person who is born of the royal clan. He is expected to be able to himself give birth to a son who will be of the same clan. A daughter cannot bear a child of her own clan unless she commits incest. Clans which have women as royal leaders have their own sophisticated and peculiar arrangements in terms of which a successor is born. I am not privy to the intricacies involved in such matters, belonging as I do to a royal clan which chooses the heirs from the ranks of the sons.

My appeal to all those who are interested in this question of women’s rights under African customary systems must educate themselves, using the correct sources of information, before they pronounce judgments and cast aspersions on our ways of life.


UNESCO Convention on The Safeguarding of Intagible Cultural Heritage




Our way of life as Africans is informed by our history, traditions, religion, customs, cultural identity, mores and values, as well as systems of governance. Colonialism and its concomitant foreign forms of religion and education have impacted very negatively on this way of life to such an extent that important aspects of it have been lost. Fortunately, most of our rural traditional communities have managed to preserve our cultural heritage and it is thanks to these people that traditional leaders are able to preserve, to some extent, some aspects of our way of life.

Animals, plants, water and the land are integral features of the life of an African. Each in different respects serves a spiritual and material purpose for the enhancement of the life of the human being. It is in the interest of every community, therefore, that these and other natural resources are used in an ecologically-friendly manner.

Historically, the institution of traditional leadership has been the epitome of African governance systems. This has been the case in pre-colonial times, during colonial and, in the South African case, apartheid times. It continues to be the case even in post-colonial/apartheid times. Its fortunes in all these periods have been varied and characterized by abuse, misuse and manipulation at the hands of those who have managed to acquire political power. The one constant in this regard has been a suspicion held by all those who have assumed power that were it to regain its rightful position the institution might well challenge the legitimacy of the former.

The other constant feature has been a steadfast adherence to the institution by the great majority of rural African communities. These communities are only too aware of what traditional leaders have always been subjected to by the various political powers already referred to. They have been able to distinguish between individual traditional leaders and their actions on the one hand, and the institution of traditional leadership on the other. In this respect they are much more discerning than their political leaders and the educated modern elite.

Traditional leaders are the custodians of the African way of life. It is mainly for this reason that the institution has managed to survive the onslaught of the so-called western civilization and modernity. They, therefore, bear the responsibility to preserve and promote both the tangible and the intangible heritage of their people.

Family Life

Everyone is his brother’s keeper. We are obliged to look after each other. Members of the same family, same clan, same tribe have a reciprocal obligation to care for each other. The young look up to their elders for guidance and support, and in return they show respect and deference to the former.

All children belong to families. Orphanages have no place. Street children are a foreign phenomenon. Old age homes are unknown. Ukuzala kukuzolula, meaning that when the parents are no longer able to care for themselves their off-spring looks after them. At the same time the elderly act as nannies to their grand-children and in the process teach them moral values through story-telling and about their family histories.

There are cultural rituals which every individual is required to undergo, each one marking a significant stage in his life. At birth the child’s umbilical cord is buried in a place that indicates the child’s claim to the place where he is born, hence the saying “inkaba yam isekuthini.” Later on a sheep is slaughtered for a ritual called imbeleko. While this signifies the welcoming of the child to the family fold it also serves to provide the mother with a skin by which to strap the baby onto her back. This one is closely followed by the slaughtering of a goat or even an ox in a ritual called ukuqatywa komntwana. Through this ritual the baby is being introduced to his ancestors whose task it is to give him their blessings and to look after him and guide him as he grows.

When a girl reaches the stage of menstruation she is ready to be taught about important aspects of womanhood. She is ready to give birth to children of her own even though she may still be immature. This is where the teachings of the grandmothers and elderly aunts come handy. The appropriate ritual for this stage is intonjane. This is the rite of passage from being a girl into womanhood. Here she is trained on how to be a woman. She is prepared for a life of marriage. She is taught on the responsibilities and rights of being a wife, a mother, a leader.

The conclusion of a marriage involves the families and clans of the prospective couple. It is not a matter for the two individuals alone. The emissaries – oonozakuzaku -from both sides, as well as the cattle presented by the groom’s family to that of the prospective bribe as lobolo form the unbroken tie between the two families and clans. Oonozakuzaku and members of the two families and clans have an interest in the success of the marriage. Each one of the couples has a right to call on them for help when there are problems in the marriage.

With respect to the boys, they too undergo their own form of training to be responsible human beings. They grow up with the understanding that they must look after the family livestock with a view to providing milk and meat for the homestead. They are taught to look after their younger siblings and all vulnerable members of the family and the community.

At an appropriate age boys undergo the rite of passage into manhood. Ideally this rite of passage should take a period of about three months. Here they are trained about being a man. Men are the protectors and defenders of the women folk and vulnerable community members such as the elderly and the disabled. This means that child and women abuse are not to be tolerated. They are taught to be industrious defenders of the tribe and its lands; builders of their families and communities.

Just as birth is a shared occasion for celebration, so is death a shared period for mourning and mutual assistance. Each family member is expected, to the best of his ability, to contribute to burial arrangements. This is an occasion where all involved are expected to speak in subdued tones, to conduct themselves in dignified and solemn ways. The homestead itself is supposed to be daubed in somber colours, usually of grey mud. On the occasion of the burial itself the food to be served is supposed to be a humble fare, lacking in condiments such as salt and other spices.

The burial is followed by a period of mourning, with the family expected to desist from participating in functions celebration and joy. The widow is required to wear clothes which show respect for the dead husband for a period of a year – this is the period after which a ritual is performed to mark the end of mourning. The black weeds worn by widows are themselves a foreign concept introduced by the Christian missionaries. In our case widows should be wearing their normal traditional clothes, except for a black head-dress worn over the eyes.