The ‘umbuya masimini’ tradition

This is the alcohol that is brewed at home after returning from the fields after harvesting maize, sorghum, or wheat, depending on what is grown. Black people once believed that a good harvest was provided for them by their ancestors and Qamata.

This alcohol was created to give thanks for the year’s harvest, the harvest’s safety, the rain, and the absence of things that spoil farmers’ crops. The reason of making this alcohol is tied to African beliefs. May is the month to harvest the crop from the previous year, but in certain areas, harvest thanksgiving is celebrated in June.

Since it is believed that Qamata and the ancestors were responsible for the harvest, making alcohol is a customary procedure to express gratitude. The amount of alcohol consumed depends on the home, and some people slaughter to express gratitude for the labour and harvest of the crops.

Some Xhosa people believe that people should not work in the fields after dark since that is when the ancestors come to examine the work. These fields are cultivated by farmers whose owners are deceased; therefore, the work is always done in their memory.

It is advised that you enter in the morning before the sun rises. When you work with white farmers, you may observe that they have a strong faith in God. They consider God, who created everything, to be responsible for the growth, harvest, and success of their labour.

White farmers believe that whenever a ceremony begins, gratitude should be offered to God and requests should be made again in this prayer. Typically, while someone is praying, you will hear them express gratitude for the rain and beg for rain as well as protection for their crops and livestock.

All of this indicates that farmers and tradition cannot be separated, however some of the practices of earlier farmers have been abandoned by the Xhosa farmers. There is a belief that because of the harvest, rain, and other events that occurred during the period it was cultivated, the weather favours the farmers.

Belief is helpful because you might believe in something real. In the Xhosa culture, giving thanks for the crop by brewing alcohol and slaughtering is an ancient rite. The white farmers are an excellent illustration of this; they seem to be loved and supported in their work by their Qamata.

Farmers in the past used to take a portion of their crop and offer it to the ancestors when they were expressing gratitude for their harvest in the fields. Sacks of harvested crops, such as corn, wheat, or sorghum, were used for this. This contribution of the produce from the fields was done with the intention of assisting the underprivileged so that ancestors may offer these donations to them.

The idea that the farmers would get a better harvest the following year if they donated further encouraged this donation. Umbuya masimini is a representation of tradition, a prayer, and the belief that the farmers can rely on Qamata and their ancestors to provide for them.

The maize is finished being harvested by the farmers in July, and they store it to handle the issues of the next year.