Cultural Exchange With Matome Seketa From South Africa
Fulfillment is attained by doing what you love and that, I believe, is the fundamental purpose of existence. I don’t want to work for money, I want to do what I love and get paid. In other words, I want to live a fulfilled life.
Lady F had the chance of meeting Matome Seketa from South Africa. His name means a wood – a strong one – the one normally used to break the other trees. It was the name of his paternal grandfather and his paternal grandfather, and it is supposed to be given to Matome’s first grandson.
Matome comes from South Africa and a village called Mohodi. His native language is Sepedi.
How do you say I love you in Sepedi?
Ke ya o rata.
Have you said it already to someone special from the opposite sex?
How old are you Matome?
I am 23 years.
And you have never loved a woman?
I just completed my studies last year. Never had time to date.
What are your interests in life?
I like music, hip-hop in particular, and reading of course.
Okay. Tell me how did you discover hip-hop?
I guess through the radio. Radio was always playing at home and we listened to the community radio, where they would play local hip-hop. I fell in love with it and I even went out to look for and meet those local hip-hop artists.
Your favorite lines from your favorite hip-hop song?
“Please don’t die over the neighborhood that your mother rented.” – From Jay Z
Haha isn’t that funny! Well, Mathome, South Africa is a mystery to me. I have no idea how people live there. Do they live in the jungle? Do they have windows? Do they wear any clothes? Are they tribal people? Please enlighten me?
We live in houses and apartments with windows. We are civilized people with great architectural structures. We have 11 tribes and over 22 languages. We don’t wear any clothes – we roam around naked. I am kidding – we do wear clothes. We are a civilized people. Haven’t you heard about Nelson Mandela?
Of course. I have heard that he is a great man, who spent a lot of time in prison, where he found internal freedom.
Yes, he comes from South Africa. We also hosted the FIFA world cup in 2010.
What makes you most proud to be a Mohodi?
It’s a collective community – your neighbors will never let you go to bed on an empty belly.
Are there any social gatherings?
Sure, plenty of them.
What’s your favorite way of gathering with people your age?
Aretsebaneng. It is where people meet at a particular family, just to get to know each other. As guests we bring gifts and our host brews beer and cooks for us.
What kind of gifts?
Anything – blankets, dishes, coffee machines, etc.
What is your marriage ritual?
The prospective husband has to pay lobola to his partner’s family before the wedding. Lobola is money paid to the bride’s family, which was once upon a time paid in cows. The groom does not attend the beginning of the ceremony. In the beginning, the bride is taught the ins and outs of marriage. Afterward, she bids her home goodbye and the ceremony is taken to the groom’s house – their new house. The two are united at the ceremony and say their vows and finally tie the knots. They exchange rings only if the groom can afford them. It’s not a must.
Your favorite South African meal?
Pap and vleis… Pap is my tribe’s stable food and we eat it with meat, chicken, spinach, cabbage, soup of beans.
How about your tribe? I don’t have a tribe – we are a nation. What makes you a tribe?
So we have four different tribes and each speaks its own language and other dialects. I am a Pedi tribe, we have about 4 dialects plus the official Sepedi language. Our dialects are Selobedu, Sehananwa, Setlokwa, and Selotswi. You will realize that each dialect, including our official language, begins with “Se,” which means “The.” Tribes come from the chiefs. In the 1600s there were civil wars between people for land and the conquerors claimed the land and became chiefs. The chiefs then started to dictate the way of life for such a region, including the language. There were many battles in such years, included those between South African Chiefs with British and Dutch colonizers. The land has always been the cause of such battles.
Are people from your tribe romantic?
As much as I love my tribe, I don’t remember seeing any romantic gestures from one of them.
Then what are they really, really good at?
We are philanthropists and hard-workers.
What’s your attitude to nature and animals?
I am for nature conservation. I have never cut a living plant. I love my meat and don’t keep pets, but I do like animals and will never kill them for no reason.
That sounds thoughtful and nice, Matome. Are you religious people?
Few of us are, but we all are spiritual.
Tell me about the most interesting spiritual practice of your tribe?
I am not well adept in that subject. However, what I know is that they normally appease the ancestors by slaughtering a goat and pouring “motlotlo” on the ground. There is normally a sacred spot, where the blood of a goat and “motlotlo” are poured. Luck and protection are also asked from these ancestors, who are believed to be the connection between the living and God. “Motlotlo” is the home-brewed beer and it is brewed from sorghum.
What is Sorghum?
Sorhgum is the main ingredient of motlotlo – a plant cultivated for its seeds:
If I came to visit where would you take me first?
We’ll take a tour of our village. I will take you by the lake, where I go when I need some air. It’s called Besil Reet. There are beautiful birds and our domestic animals drink from it. A very ideal spot in autumn, as butterflies of different types, come by – a very peaceful spot.
In dark, deep jungle I hear the wild drum
My heart beats faster, knowing my time’s come
The voodoo master, waiting for nightfall
Draws signs of magic on my white woman skin
Tell me more about the beauty and the pleasantness of Africa?
We have the biggest river, the Nile river, the oldest architectural structures, the Egypt pyramids and plenty of precious natural resources – there are places where you could go to search for diamond and gold. We have beautiful mountains – the likes of Kilimanjaro, Table mountain, etc. We are collectivists by nature and have embraced humanity over everything. We have good food, beautiful women and (contrary to the popular belief) plentiful food. Much of how the media portray us is deception. We are a great continent, very cultural, spiritual and generous.
Tell me about African women, as you would over a beer with a Bulgarian man!
We have beautiful women, we naturally prefer bigger ones – in size. The media has however managed to change many men’s preferences who now prefer lean and tall ones. There is also a saying that “Nku re reka mosela,” which literally means “We buy a sheep based on how big her tail is.” By the sheep, we mean a woman.
Matome and his personal attitude toward women?
Well, I was raised by a single parent along with my grandmother and I have only one bigger sibling, who is also a female. So women have always been an authority to me, I have seen their struggles, whilst they were trying to raise us. I admire women and their nurturing instinct. I also have a subtle fear towards them, I attribute that fear to my upbringing, as I have said that they have been my superior for my entire childhood, and they weren’t soft towards me.
How do you imagine your future romantic partner?
An independent, caring, supportive and nurturing woman. A woman who understands that I cannot be perfect and embraces that. Anything else would be a bonus.
Last but not least – why did I find you in the FB group Writers Helping Writers?
I am a writer. Still working on my very first book and I am also a freelance journalist for Blue Monkey magazine. I joined the group to learn from other writers, the likes of you.
Would you care to share your favorite quote of yourself?
“Growing is changing if you are not changing you are not growing but merely aging.”