South Africa is filled with the most amazing hidden treasures, undiscovered even by its own people. Inhabitants from all over the globe are intrigued by its richness in culture, seeking only to experience what true Africa is about.
When it comes to tourism, South Africa surely does get its fair share. Travellers flock to the well-known cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg, but lets face it. Cape Town is known for its nightlife and the cosmopolitan nature of its people, where Johannesburg is renowned as the business district of Africa. This can be experienced anywhere in the world. We should be offering visitors more than that, in fact, we should be offering them an experience of what our history and its people are about.
About a year ago, I worked with a good friend on a show called “The Good Life”. During shooting one of the episodes, we were taken to a place along the coast of KwaZulu Natal called Duma Zulu. If you know South African history, Kwazulu natal is the home of the Zulu tribe and the place of King Shaka. This tribe is a strong one who takes pride in its remarkable history. So I was very excited to see this particular destination only because I heard such remarkable stories about how these people lived separated from modern society.
So, we get to the destination and once checked in, I was escorted to my room, which was actually a rondaval. Basically, this is a round room, with a thatched roof. With all honesty seeing this did not excite me in the least bit. Thatched roofs are without a doubt not for me. Just thinking about what lives inside these roofs creeps me the hell out. Saying that, the room was pleasant with all the modern amenities one would need for a weekend away.
Putting the thatched roof aside, let me take you to what blew my mind away. Duma Zulu is an actual living museum where the local people that live in the village, live in their traditional way of life. There was a real “sangoma” who threw bones and read my future? Getting into the village, I was under the impression that it was all for show, but when I walked into the Sangoma’s kraal, there was nothing there that one could imagine was for show. There were bottles filled with strange things and the first thing I noticed as I stepped foot into the kraal was a beheaded chicken, I was like “WHAT!!!”
The people living in the village separated themselves as much as possible from modern society, but it was very amusing to see a man in his traditional gear on a cell phone.
Shooting the episode there was such a calming experience as I got to experience nature at its very best. For those visitors who are daring, you could visit the reptile farm and feed the crocodiles or if you are really brave you could carry a python around your shoulder for a while.
South Africa is filled with these treasures, we look so much to expanding our knowledge of the world around us that we forget to enjoy what is in front of us. My advice to Tourism South Africa is to find places like these that offer more than just a holiday, it offers an experience coupled with education. I learnt an incredible amount about the Zulu culture, and misconceptions were cleared up.
I believe the more we understand the more tolerant we become.