My name is Ziyanda Xaso. Ziyanda is a short version of my full name which means growing in numbers in my native dialect of Xhosa spoken in South Africa. The full is Ziyanda Iintombi Zamayalo meaning the girls (Iintombi) of my clan (Amayalo) have increased in numbers because of my birth. The emphasis of the clan rather than my immediate family is due to the fact that I am my parents’ first born but an addition to the many girl children of my clan. Traditionally in my family the first born children are females, this occurs mainly to the males in my family rather than the females who by tradition leave the clan through marriage and have children that are part of her husband’s clan.
Generally most of rural societies in SA are patriarchal, whereby children born in wedlock belong to the clan of their father, and those that are born outside of wedlock become part of their mother’s clan and follow the laws and traditional practises of their respective clans. Part of this tradition is the fact that first born sons are deemed the interim head of the family and take over that position when their father dies. This not the case in my clan the fact that the majority of first born are females, these first born females are treated exactly as the first born males. This is what sets apart my clan from others because the power and decision making is made by both male and female heads.
Read on to learn more about why I volunteer, why I chose Kabissa and my responsibilities at Kabissa.