The joy of going back to my roots

LIMPOPO SECRETS: Thabiso Sekhula was once ashamed of being from a village in Limpopo. Now she is rediscovering its magic and beauty.

If you hear me talk a lot about how much I love Limpopo, let me have it. I spent so much of my childhood resenting this beautiful home of mine.

I remember at the Tshwane University of Technology when I was studying Journalism, the popular answer from everyone from the village when asked where we’re from was, “Polokwane”.

The thought behind it was, if they must know you’re from Limpopo, then pick the least embarrassing place to be from and change your accent.

The moment people found out you’re from the village, in a big city like Pretoria or Joburg, the insults would start.

You are probably 18 or 19 doing your first year at university and it’s your first time living in a big city, let alone on your own, so you cover up some of the things that make you stand out and make it easy for people to pick on you.

I don’t know when Limpopo got such a bad rep because this is the same province where Queen Modjadji, Miss SA Shudufhadzo Musida, Charlotte Maxeke and Kgoši Maleboho are from.

What a great honour to be from the province where the Big 5 are in great numbers, the only place in the world where you can find high numbers of Modjadji cycad, the tallest cycad which was once food for dinosaurs, the only place on earth where you will find rock art paintings by the San, Khoi and Bapedi on one mountain and, and, and….

I don’t know where it started but it ends with me.

I resented Limpopo because I was a child and all I knew was the immediate struggles and disadvantages of rural life. Little did I know I would run back to it when money and convenience stopped being enough.

And despite me having been embarrassed and resentful of my upbringing, Limpopo welcomed me back with love and understanding.

I now take every opportunity to explore the province on my own terms. Show my children where I grew up but even better, connect with the home that made me and show off her beauty. That is the price I am happy to pay forever for taking it for granted.