Most of my ancestors came to South Africa around 1800 -1860. My great, great grandmother on my father’s side gave birth to my great grandfather in a wagon on their way to Zimbabwe in 1889. Whenever I feel weak, I remember her living in an ox wagon with children and a new born baby travelling vast distances, and I remember I come from a line of strong women.
That family line lived there until my parents returned to South Africa in the 1980s. They were basically lost to their family here in South Africa as they didn’t have the technology we have today. I was the first born again on South African soil from that direct line. Many of my ancestors were builders, stone masons, shoemakers, store owners, and worked on the railways. My mother’s family also lived in Zambia and Zimbabwe, after arriving in South Africa. My husband has a very mixed heritage and it is a little more difficult for us to find all of his family history, but it is an interesting one. Together, we have blended our lives and our histories together to form a multi-cultural family. I know there are many families in South Africa that have mixed cultural backgrounds 🌸.
Sadness & Gratitude
During this Heritage month, I can’t help but feel a little sadness. Sadness because of what my heritage represents to many in South Africa but I am also proud of my ancestors and what they overcame. Many of them were pioneers and fought in the World Wars. My own Grandfather, who I never met, was a prisoner of war in Italy. The women in my family had to be strong and often became young widows. I’d like to think that I have the entrepreneurial spirit that my great great grandfather had when he did everything he could to provide for his family. My ancestors were hard workers and they did the best they could.
It’s a month of mixed emotions. So, during this Heritage month, may I say that if my family hurt your family, I am sorry. If my family helped your family, I am grateful. I pray for healing and unity in our country. Africa is my home. It is where my ancestors are buried. It is where my heart is.
If I can celebrate one thing this Heritage Day, I think it would be how much we have grown and healed. If each generation heals generational trauma and stops unhealthy cycles (even just one cycle) and learns how to become a little better then the generation before then I believe we are working towards a better world and a better South Africa. We should also celebrate the wisdom and good traditions of those that came before us, there are so many good things we can continue to pass on to the next generation.
Happy Heritage Month! Enjoy a good braai with your family and friends. Also, tell us your story in the comments below x