The first two weeks of February are awash with red roses announcing the arrival of the month of love.
Restaurants and fashion shops are making roaring business of the magical St Valentine’s Day.
Hagiographers, however, deny the existence of a saint by that name. It is nothing more than a Western European myth, but we are still bombarded almost to the point of suffocation with the voodoo of St Valentine’s Day.
It boggles the mind that millions of rand are wasted every year, only to keep an illusion alive. Presumably, this goddess of love goes into a coma the whole year only to spring to life again on the 14th day of February.
Spouses, romantic dreamers, the rich and even students are supposed to descend on shopping malls, jewellers’ shops, restaurants, and, of course, florists to buy their loved ones “surprise gifts”. All that exercise is supposed to rekindle that mystical flame of love.
Are there no cost-effective ways of enhancing relationships than to indulge in ridiculous antics whose sole aim is to tickle the markets? Your money would be better spent on school fees for poor kids.
As it is, many parents are frantic trying to find money for registration and tuition fees every year in January. They surely could make good use of this misplaced generosity.
It does not bother me if Europeans and Americans are carried away by their superstitions. I, however, do take issue with blacks who allow themselves to be cajoled or emotionally blackmailed into celebrating a costly colonial myth.
The loved ones expect to be showered with expensive gifts, dined and wined in exclusive restaurants. After their dinner at the restaurant, some lovers might still have enough energy to take in a friend’s party, where booze, music and dance keep the party lively until the wee hours of the morning.
To maintain sophisticated standards, mqombothi or mbaqanga do not feature anywhere on the programme, they are underclass.
In contrast, later in the year when we celebrate Human Rights Day, Freedom Day, Heritage Day, etc. the St Valentine’s Day brigade is nowhere to be found. They will be too busy saving money for Mother’s/Father’s Day, Christmas Day, students’ bashes, etc. What a confused bunch we have become!
The born-free generation is reluctant to attend the “serious” celebrations because they are boring. Why on earth must I attend? I am sure daddy, mom or aunt will represent us. It is so ridiculous to see a black man buying a bouquet of roses or carnations for their partner as an expression of eternal love.
What does that mean to maMokoena or maDlamini? We are just becoming nothing more than cultural “amalulwane”! Imagine royalty Shaka kaSenzangakhona, Moshoeshoe, Hintsa, Sekhukhune or Mswati carrying a bouquet of flowers to the “Ndlovukazi” to show how much he loved her.!
The reflection on St Valentine is meant to provoke a debate about cultural neo-colonialism. Everything white is good, civilised and to be internalised uncritically. That is the nub! We must restore our dignity, identity and ubuntu/botho.
O ye African gods! Protect us from drowning in the mire of neo-colonialism and its cultural appendages.
Article sourced from Sowetan Live