Ngixoxisane noSbongile Mbatha oneminyaka engu 60. Owazalelwa wakhulela endaweni yaKwa Mashu manje osehlala eCongo, eNanda. Udaba asixoxela lona lokubomwa kwesisu uma ukhulelwe nokubonwa kwengane uma isizelwe ngabomndeni wakubo kamfana. Ziningi izinto ezilandelwa yimindeni eyahlukene, okuyizinkolelo zakhona njengokuthi uma umuntu wesifazane ekhuleliswe khona abomndeni lowo bacele ukubona isisu sakhe.Lokhu kwenziwa ngesikhathi umuntu eqhutshiwe ukuzobika isisu njengokwesiko noma vele useqala ukugana kulowomuzi. Kubalulekile ukubonwa kwengane ukuthi ngeyakulowomuzi yini noma cha. Abantu abadala babengakhombisi ukungathembi okushiwoyo kodwa babelandela isiko elenziwayo kulowomuzi.
Uma lowo owesifazane okhulelwe esenezinyanga eziyisithupha wayeuelwa ukuthi akhumule ngenhla ame abheke ngaselangeni ekuseni. Abadala babazi ukuthi bafuna ukubona ingane inyakaza kodwa wayengatshelwa owesifazane. Ngokuhlonipha wayenza njengoba eyalelwe ame aveze isisu sakhe sibheke elangeni. Kuthiwa wayeme size sinyakaze noma ingane inyakaze bese beyeneliseka abadala ukuthi ngeyakulowomuzi ingane. Kuthiwa lomkhuba waqala ngokuthi kube nabantu besifazane ababethi bakhulelwe kanti akunjalo. Umakoti wayebala izinyanga kuzwakale esekhala ngokuthi usephuphunyelwe yisisu kuthi uma ebhekwa izalukazi zimfice esezinsukweni zakhe. Kuthiwa lokhu babekwenziswa ukuthi babefuna ukugana kulowomuzi.
Kuthiwa izalukazi kwahamba kwahamba zayibona ukuthi ayikho lento nokuthi abanye omakoti badlala ngazo. Imibono yabantu abadala yayihlonishwa kakhulu ngalesosikhathi futhi kwakunenkolelo yokuthi ayishayi eceleni. Okunye ukuthi kuqala amadoda ayeba nesithembu kube nesimo sokuthi uma omunye womakoti engazali wayekwazi ukuntshontsha ingane kamnakwabo athi ngeyakhe okwakususa ingxabano kodwa kugcine kungaziwanga iqiniso ngoba babekhulelwe ngesikhathi esifanayo. Lokubomwa kwesisu kwakwenziwela ukuthi lesimo. Izalukazi zaqhamuka nalesu ukuze umuntu abonakale futhi aziwe uma ekhulelwe. Ngoba kuqala yayingekho imithola mpilo emakhaya umuntu wayezalela ekhaya ezaliswa izalukazi.
Uma ingane isizelwe izalukazi zasemndenini zazifika ngobuningi bazo ukuzobona ukuthi umntwana owabo yini. Ngoba kwakungenzeka ukuthi umakoti ubekhulelwe nje kanti ingane akusiyona eyakhona lapho ekuthiwa eyakhona. Uma isiboniwe abantu bakhona abadala kuzonqunywa usuku lokuzobona umntwana ngokwesiko lesintu. Kuyagaywa utshwala lwesintu kubanjwe inkukhu egcekeni kuphekwe namadombolo. Bazofika omakhelwane bephethe izipho baphe umntwana bese kuyadliwa.
Uma umntwana ezalelwe ekhabonina
Izikhathi ziyashintsha njengoba amantombazane esekwazi ukuthi athole umntwana engaganile. Uma umuntu ezalele ekhaya kuba abasemzini abaya ukuyobona umntwana. Abahambi bengaphethe lutho kufanele kube khona izipho abamphathela zona. Ngalesikhathi umndeni usuke ufuna ukuqinisekisa ukuthi umntwana ngowabo ngoba abanye umntwana bayamkhumula zonke izingubo azigqokile abhekwe izimpawu zomndeni njengokuthi abanye babheka izinyawo, izandla, izindlebe amabala asemzimbeni njalonjalo. Uma kukhona abakufanisayo bayezwakala bephimisela ukuthi lokho kufana nokukabani.
Kuyothi uma umntwana eseqede izinyanga ezintathu ahambe aye kubokwakhe eseyobonwa yiwo wonke umuntu womndeni. Lapho wonke umuntu osuke ekhona uyamkhunga umntwana ngemali nangezipho. Abanye abantu basakholelwa ekutheni umntwana uyakhungwa ngaphambi kokuthi abonwe khona engeke akhale uma ephethwe. Kuyasiza ukubonwa kwengane uma isencane. Nokuthi ingane ingenzewa isiko kanti akusiyo ayakulowomuzi. Ngoba kukhona izibongo uma ingane yenzelwa usiko lakhona kanti akusiyona eyakhona iyashona. Zonke lezinto ezenziwa ngabantu abadala basuke bevikela izimoeziwubungozi.
English Summary: Custom of identifying a new born
An interview with Sbongile Mbatha of Congo, Inanda gave us an insight on how important it is for the African people to identify a new born as a member of their family. The reason for doing this custom was done even in the olden days because there were cases where even young brides would claim that they have been impregnated by someone whereas it was not true. Older women were able to see or identify if a new born was not a part of that family because there are family customs that were to be followed in order to introduce the new member of the family to the ancestors. They were also able to identify this before the child was born. In doing this the family had to wait for at least six months and they will ask their daughter-in-law to take off her clothes to show of her tummy. This custom was performed in the morning. Then she will be asked to stand directly to the sun. She will not be informed of the reasons of doing this. The young bride obeyed everything that her new home practiced and they will also do this without questioning them. They will stand in the sun and one or more of the older women will be keeping an eye on her and her tummy. They believed that if the expected baby was theirs it will move when they were performing this custom. If it moved all the women will be heard ululating to welcome the new member of the family. It was only then that the young bride would know of the reason of standing in the sun because they will be saying the child is ours. And if it did not move they would deny it and claim that all the family children moved.
Furthermore, for those who did not perform this custom and the young woman carrying the baby was not officially married with the father on hearing the news of the birth of the baby older women will be the first in visiting the new born in order to make sure that it was their family baby. When they arrive they take the new born and strip him naked in doing this they are looking for or identifying their family symbols so that they can confirm it is their own. It differs from family to family on what they look for but others look at the toes, fingers, birthmarks etc. And they will be heard saying the toes are like his grandfather and so on. And if it happens that they are not able to identify anything they inform the family and say they will perform the custom after a certain period. If they are happy then the whole family waits for three months before the new born visits his paternal side of the family where there will be presents waiting for him. In most families it is during this time when they perform their customs.
By: Nqobile Mdabe