We can almost taste the festive season!

Unpacking the incredible culture of Dezemba

Tshepiso Babusi

I have a vivid memory for subjects I can’t seem to find tangible use for now in my adult life.

Like that Moral Education class in Form 2 when our teacher wrote the words CULTURE on the board, turned around in his most prideful stance and said, “Culture is a way of life.” That was it. Of course that very simplistic definition translated to culture being the ideas, customs and social behaviours of a particular people or society. I may have been too young to wrap my head around the significance of culture then, but today I can confidently tell you that some of the decisions we make are not from a logical point of view. They are purely because of the culture we were bred in. No matter how much of an independent thinker you may pride yourself as, the majority of your behaviour has been predetermined by your predecessors.

A few days leading to Dezemba, not December, my friend and I kept counting down to Dezemba 1st. It really seemed normal then, but when I thought back, I thought wow, imagine a month that has two whole adults texting each other back and forth. “The season is upon us” we kept repeating. That conversation naturally led to the exchange of the ever so hilarious Dezemba memes. That is when it hit me, Dezemba is a CULTURE. A way of life. A movement. Said Friend and I stood no chance because Dezemba has become such a powerful component of our society. The excitement it carries is infectious. Basically “wa itebala”.

My personal battle with Dezemba fever was lost when I activated my social media accounts. Mind you, I had shut them down more than a month prior so that I can give my thesis the attention it deserves. Yet here I am because I, like the rest of my society am not immune to the rationale that, “go Dezemba”. “Culture is dynamic”, that Moral education teacher chanted. I meant it when I said vivid memory. Although, come to think of it, it’s funny how this was not the case with Maths. Anyway, back to Culture and its ability to constantly change. We can all attest that right now the month is filled with plans of travel to tropical islands, European tours, and countless events to be attended at our various villages.

Back in the day, things were much simpler, but the idea was the same. It was the clothes the parents bought us, the amazing food prepared, the desert, lots and lots of desert. In fact, that is how the phrase “Kare go Christmas mo go wena” came to be. Meaning that you look happy. It is literally the month people look forward to joy. The build up to Dezemba has been instilled in us from so far back. It is no wonder the excitement spreads like wildfire on a sunny day. It explains why even in your seemingly put together adult life, can still be happily caught up in the fever.

I recently observed that the month also frees people from being so rigid. I was at a Birthday dinner of a friend at a fancy restaurant. It was very intimate, my friends and I were a small group gathered there talking and being on our best behaviour. Other people were out on dates, some on business meetings, the usual Gabs scene. There was a lady who was singing renditions of different songs, including restaurant favourites by the likes Whitney Houston and Bob Marley to be specific. We were okay with this set up, we looked the part too.

The music stopped briefly and out of nowhere, one of my Friends commented…”o bona ha nne a ka opela King Monada, kana Master Kg”. All of us at that table exploded with laughter because we could identify with the sentiment. It is Dezemba and even these usually well composed ladies couldn’t hold back the calls from the culture,  music, and laughter that come with the culture of Dezemba.

It would be an injustice to ourselves to think we are immune to this infectiousness.  So go ahead,  draw up that realistic festive budget and don’t forget to put aside that January stash. This is the month you will celebrate planing for. Lastly, stay safe this month and many others to come. Come back home with stories, flood our timelines with your pictures. I will be here, celebrating right along with you.