The Rainbow Nation

Today we went to the Lesedi Cultural Village. In the village, we saw colorful walls, paintings, historical cultural artifacts from South Africa, and learned about various traditions. The cultural village highlights the cultures of five different South African tribes: Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho, and the Ndebele. Various traditions were expressed through art by using colors. For example, it was shared with us that bright colors were used to express happiness whereas dark or neutral colors were used to express sadness.  Just like their artwork, the South african flag is also very colorful because it represents so many different people from so many different cultures. The colors on the flag represent the following: blue is for the ocean, green is for the land, yellow is for mineral wealth under the land, red is for blood and sacrifice, black is for the native people, and white is for the Europeans. 

Lesedi Cultural Village

At the Lesedi Cultural Village there was a market area. We were able to explore and see traditional hand-made south african objects such as clothing, jewelry, and masks. There, we were able to buy souvenirs for our friends and family as well as dive deeper into the historical backgrounds of the various artifacts.  Many of us bought traditional print bucket hats, bracelets, and wooden animals. 

Traditional Zulu Mask
handmade bracelets
handmade ties

After we bought our souvenirs, we went on a tour of the cultural village where we saw replicas of the homesteads of the five different tribes and how they live. We got to sample the tribes traditional food such as caterpillars. Although not all of us were as adventurous, many of us tried a traditional corn and bean recipe. 

In the village, we saw tribal homes and learned how people would greet each other in the tribal language. One takeaway was the different roles between men and women and how it was the man’s job to protect the village. One village even planted an agave plant that had spiky leaves that help act as a natural barrier around the village to help protect from intruders. We also learned that many of the doorways were small and low so that people would have to bend down as they enter a hut therefore making the attacker less powerful.  

After exploring the village, we watched a tradition dance and drum ceremony. The dances shows their emotions and represent their history. It’s incredible how dancing can be so powerful, we could feel their emotions pain, happiness, sadness, anger outlined through the dance. 

Group shot at Lesedi Cultural Village

To round out our experience we had an authentic African lunch with our group. We were able to think deeper about what culture, community, traditions, and ones way of life really means. To us, culture is the  combination of ideas, customs, relationships, food, tradition  and social behaviour of a particular people or society. Today we saw South African culture expressed through dance, art, and food. We had the opportunity to try new foods such as ostrich and crocodile. 

After our lunch we returned to campus where we participated in sports for the afternoon with our chommies followed by dinner. After dinner we worked on our various BUILD projects and started the film The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. We were treated to pizza and snacks this evening during our movie which was a great treat from our chaperones Tierney and Cate 🙂 We are looking forward to wrapping up the rest of the movie and presenting our BUILD projects. 

— Maria & Mel 

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