Black Ancestral Things “Mosebetsi”


So there’s a “mosebetsi” at my uncles place in Soweto tomorrow. Basically what this means is that the family gets together to thank the ancestors or ask them for help, or whatever the case may be.

Okay my knowledge of the ins and outs of a “mosebetsi” are very limited. I just remember one in particular where I was very involved coz my granny insisted that me and my cousins all get involved.

I’m not sure if I’m imagining this, I could be wrong. But I swear we were woken up at midnight to take a bath. Pretty sure the water was cold too. This is where I might have to start the story…but anyways…

In the wee hours of the morning we visited the cemetery with snuff tobacco to offer the dead on their graves and garden tools to spruce the place up. Then we’d prayed for their souls wherever they are. Then we headed back home. A lil hole was dug in the backyard and we all gurgled with African Beer and spat it all in the hole. After that my granny mumbled something as she sprinkled snuff into the hole and she made us all say our names as we too sprinkled snuff. We all than covered the hole together using our hands.

I’ve been to other “mosebetsis” and its more complicated. Or more work is done etc. There’s an animal, and a family elder to chant the tribal song that gives praise to the clan name. I’m laughing at how hard it is to explain this in English.

The reason why I’m blogging about this isn’t to grandstand on African culture, its because of what happened this morning.

My mom was preparing to go to this “mosebetsi” and she was trying to convince me and my sister to go. I couldn’t cause I have work to do, not sure what excuse my sister gave. As mom was about to leave she was rambling about how much bad luck we’re going to have etc. Then I told her that I remember what koko (grandma) made us do when we were younger, we can just do the exact same thing right here at home. Then my mom said (this is the funny part): “You don’t do such things without grown ups. You’ll anger them and they’ll stop you in your tracks and ask you where the grown ups are.”

I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard in a long time. She was so serious! Like dead great grand parents would come from the after life to make us stop a ritual on the account of an impropriety of not having grown-ups present.

Enjoy your Saturday guys:)

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About obialone
I'm random and unwise. I'm always seeking wisdom in its simplest form. I'm scared of not being scared, so I find ways to terrify myself. I care about everything, and I'm interested in all things. I reserve the right to change my mind, anytime. So in most cases I find it best to humble my opinion

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