By: M.K Masemola
On the 24th of September 1828, as legend would have it, the prominent Zulu king, Shaka, was laid to rest and since then every year on the day, the Zulu nation would celebrate the man who is known for both triumph in battle and most importantly, unifying the Zulu nation. It is in the same spirit that we, the democratic dispensation, celebrate Heritage Day on the 24th of September every year, to showcase our beautiful and dignified diverse culture and the unity with which we all seek to live, adorned by an unparalleled sense of mutual embrace of our diversity as a people.
In the spirit of communion, the St Columbus Presbyterian Church in Hatfield has for the past year generously availed their events hall to the ACTS members every Sunday for Mass. We do this because UP main campus, where the chapel we usually use is located, has been closed because of Covid. This hall served as the church building in which the cultural Mass was to be hosted, catholic students from the University of Pretoria coming from all walks of life, united before the altar, all the peoples before the Trinity in adoration, thanks giving and spiritual communion.
Many students entered the mass hall dawned in their cultural regalia, from the Pantsula and the Boer to the Zulu and the Vendas. The choir lead the processions with songs from a good variety of the cultural array.
Fr. Mthembeni Dlamini, our National Chaplain, with generosity responded favourably to the invitation to preside over the ACTS cultural Mass.
The first reading was proclaimed in seSotho and, the second, in isiXhosa. With translations in English distributed before the proceedings, which was a delight and an affirmation of the universality of the teachings of the church and Gospel. The Gospel was then read by our dear Fr. Manuel Graca.
The homily of the day was given by Fr. Mthembeni, citing in his opening the concerning lack of rains, remembering with us the days where the rains were plenty in our land, starting in late August and ending in early February. Wonderful tales of how the Zulu nation spoke to God in the mountains to evoke the rains. Signalling to the effects of disunity, a plague of modern living, students were encouraged to live life in a manner which is both conscious and appreciative of all of God’s creation.
In anticipation for the feasts of both the Archangels and the Guardian Angels, Fr. Mthembeni gave in the homily wonderful pearls of wisdom regarding the presence and actions of the angels in our everyday lives.
The prayers of consecration were done in beautiful fashion by both priests and Holy Communion befittingly administered by both our Fathers. After the final blessing was said, the priests were kind enough to pose for a picture behind the alter and thereafter, students were seen mingling and enjoying refreshments and conversations outside the hall.
Truly a celebration of salvation and community. The Mass was celebrated on 26 September 2021.