South Africa’s Castle Milk Stout is pushing for the recognition of African ancestors by setting up the Ancestors Day Commemorations across the continent.
Through various campaigns and events, Castle Milk Stout has embraced, celebrated and promoted African roots, traditions and spirituality by encouraging Africans to reflect and learn more about their origins.
This culminated in the brand converting its passion for savouring and celebrating African culture into a partnership with the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) to establish the inaugural Ancestors Day on the 8th of May 2021.
By so doing, Caste Milk Stout highlighted the importance of remembering those who came before us by establishing a platform for all South African cultures to come together for a common cause that has great potential to elevate our African identity.
The brand is now calling for this day to be recognised to the same extent as every other local spiritual holiday.
“As the Castle Milk Stout Brand, we want to invite the public to join our call for the government to officially recognise Ancestors’ Day on the National calendar.
The 8th of May 2021 saw us celebrating the first-ever Ancestors Day celebration in partnership with CONTRALESA. Now, we have an even bigger dream and goal for this day, and therefore, urge the public at large to add their voice on why Ancestors Day is important to them for a chance to win R5000.
The petition to endorse this campaign can also be signed on https://www.castlemilkstout.co.za/one-for-the-ancestors,” says Castle Milk Stout Brand Manager, Khensani Mkhombo.
This call to action kicked off with a launch event that took place on Monday, 25 April 2022, whereby a panel discussion unpacking Ancestry as well as African Spirituality was facilitated by seasoned host Nimrod Nkosi.
Amongst others, the topics discussed included why Ancestors Day should be commemorated, the progress that has been made so far in getting Ancestors’ Day recognised, as well as the next steps that will be taken by all parties concerned.
One of the guest speakers, Nkosi GB Matanzima; who is the Chairperson of the Tradition, Heritage and Culture Committee in the National House of Traditional and KhoiSan Leaders, began by emphasising the importance of knowing our origins as African people.
He concluded by stating that the House supports the call for the official recognition of Ancestors Day; “We fully lend our support on this noble cause, and we will do our best to influence provincial and local houses to do likewise. Honouring Ancestors Day will go a long way in ensuring that as Africans, we promote what is ours, instead of promoting what is not ours.”
Famed Spiritual Healer and Educator, Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi of the Ndlanzi Institute of Spiritual Healing also took part in the discussion; “We need to understand that we are multidimensional beings.
We as Africans, are the mothers of spirituality. We are a physical manifestation of God. When we are cooking something that will break history, something needs to be shaken within us. Something that is beyond what we are trying to conceptualise,” explains Gogo Dineo.
CONTRALESA’s Zolani Mkiva expanded on this, stating: “We need to embrace the whole notion of indigenous knowledge systems and make it part and parcel of our daily lives in order to liberate ourselves mentally.
“We have to take a simple formula that says we must be ourselves when we are approaching challenges. We do not have to go outside of Africa to seek wisdom.
Many people in our society are miseducated. They think their ancestors are demons. This means we have a role to play to re-educate some of our own that are miseducated.”
Bishop Joshua Maphonga noted the influence of western culture, philosophy and technologies on African traditions and spirituality: “We glorify Western technology and look down upon our own innovations. This creation of the wrong role models is what is killing the African dream.
African children are not being allowed opportunities to explore their intelligence.” Prophet Katlego Mogase elaborated by adding, “We are afraid of the power that we would tap into as Africans if we really understood who we are.” Mpho Wa Badimo, Traditional Healer and 2022 Big Brother SA winner also noted the crucial role that the youth need to play in this endeavour:
“African spirituality means freedom. It is very uplifting to find myself in the space, having this conversation on African spirituality. I will not stop until I see Ancestor’s Day is recognised. We as young Sangoma’s are the voice of the youth.” She went on to add that, “the minute you call your surname, you are acknowledging your DNA. Amadlozi have been silenced for a long time, especially at schools. Amadlozi is back to claim what was silenced about African Spirituality.”
Apart from the discussion around these pertinent issues, some of the best and most entertaining displays of African culture and tradition was also on show, thanks to Praise Singer & musician, Phila Dlozi; style star and Sesotho entertainer, Material Dondada, as well as Sesotho rapper and producer, Ntate Stunna, taking to the stage for performances.
Having expanded on the history of African Spirituality and why it is often misunderstood, African Sage, historian, language & cultural expert; Prince Zoza Shongwe encouraged the current generation to learn about their past and embrace who they are as Africans as it will impact the future generation.
“We are the future ancestors, so we should be very careful of how we conduct ourselves. Whatever we are doing today will be tomorrow’s history. So we need to tread carefully.“ said Shongwe.