Some call it their kasi and others say township — but we all know there’s that one place we call home. Home is where the heart is. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, it is that certain place where there will always be those things that remind you of where it all started. Homestead.
For Florence Masebe, now well-known as Masindi in the TV series Ring of Lies, it is the villages in which she grew up that give her a sense of nostalgia. “I grew up in a number of villages in Limpopo. I especially grew up in a place called Tshakhuma. That's my home,” says the former Muvhango actress.
When anyone thinks of Limpopo, the first thing that springs to mind is the vegetation and how the province is blessed with possibly some of best fruit on the African continent. Masebe also remembers the fruit that she ate as a child — and still does now, as an adult. “I love the fruit we have. My village is especially famous for mangoes, bananas and avocados.”
The Florence Masebe that we all know is not just a famous personality — she has a heartfelt story to tell about her memories of growing up in Tshakhuma that we can all relate to. “Climbing trees and going to catch locusts in the veld are just some of my favourite childhood memories. Playing at the river was also cool,” she recalls
For the winner of the Best Actress award at the 9th Africa Movie Academy Awards, some recollections are of life-changing experiences.
“I miss the many delicacies that we ate growing up. I spend too much time in the city now, it's not so easy to access my favourite village foods.”
When Mme a Masakona, as her social media name displays, talks about her memories of growing up, she laughs at the question of entertainment in the form of restaurants. “Restaurants? What's that? We eat in our homes. Our village is famous for its 24-hour fruit market. Stop by when driving on Punda Maria road. Look for a lady named Mushavho, she'll look after you,” she says with a smile.
For Masebe, Tshakhuma is not just her home. It is also a piece of her heart she will forever cherish because of its rich heritage and culture. “One of the most renowned and highly regarded Venda traditional dance groups is found in Tshakhuma. It's called Thikundwi kha Sialala. My village is also home to the internationally acclaimed sculptor Meshack Raphalalani," she says proudly.
Back in the day, the Elelwani star remembers witnessing Tshakhuma Day. “I don't know if it still exists, but if I were to develop my village, I would build a craft market near the already well-established fruit market. It would be a one-stop shop for traditional arts and crafts. Heritage is gold. We need to wake up to this.”
There are not a lot of people who are able to describe their lifestyle, and express their experiences of their place of growth, in a way that is so sincerely passionate; people who can attest to the fact that kasi memories are just that. “We proudly call my village Tshakhuma tsha Madzivhandila! Tshakhuma tsha Mmandiada! Tshakhuma tsha Vhadamane! Thavhani ya Mangwele na ya Tshalovha! Shango ļa Vhadau! Ļa Vho-Mammboko na vho-Tshimbiluni! Madzivhandila nga a lalame.”
And if you are not too certain how one goes from being a village girl to being an award-winning star, it’s simple, as Masebe explains, “Village code makes it difficult to talk about others without their permission. But we are many. Some highly educated South Africans walked the same
text NOMFUNDO XULU-LENTSOANE illustration SYLVIA MCKEOWN