Ekuthuleni History

Ekhutuleni Authentic Zulu Homestay

Ekuthuleni is situated in the uMhlathuzana district, an outlying chieftaincy of the Eshowe District Municipality in the Zululand region of KwaZulu Natal province.

The area is steeped in history and is within sight the monument that marks the site of King Shaka’s headquarters at KwaBulawayo, the isiZulu name for ‘place of the persecuted one’, which could accommodate 12 000 warriors.

The history of European settlement in the Eshowe area dates back to 1853 when, on invitation of King Mpande, the first missionaries settled in this hilly country. Its higher altitude afforded some relief from the hot, humid climate, which dominates the low-lying coastal region, which in those days’ was a tsetse fly and mosquito infested region.

After the British invasion of Zululand in 1879 and the resultant annexation, Eshowe was established as the capital and administrative centre for Zululand. Subsequently the town developed with a very a good infrastructure which still serves as regional administration headquarters for many government services.

Although no more than 20km away from Eshowe, during the apartheid era uMhlatuzana district was designated Tribal Land and was, therefore, not a priority for the provision of even basic services. Ten years after independence the needs of this community are still many.

Place of Peace

Traditional Zulu Huts

Ekuthuleni (meaning place of peace) is ideally situated on a hill overlooking a sparsely populated valley. It is without electricity and running water, as are most rural homesteads and villages in this area. Visitors are accommodated in huts furnished in the traditional way and which is part of the traditional family ‘musi’ or homestead.

The objective of Ekuthuleni Home stay is to provide visitors with an authentic insight into the contemporary cultural lifestyle of the average rural Zulu person. In addition, the experience is fully integrated into the community life of the district. Nothing is contrived or set-up for ‘tourists’ so the social and cultural programme is totally dependent on what is happening in the community at the time as the local people go about their daily routines.

For instance a morning’s excursion with a traditional healer into the nearby forest to collect herbs, bulbs, bark etc that are used in the preparation of traditional medicines reveals age old traditions still practised on a daily basis.

A visit to a traditional basket weaver or bead-worker or simply spending time with the local folk as they tend their cows, collect water or firewood all offer authentic insights in to the daily lives and customs of our hosts. Attending traditional wedding and other cultural ceremonies are spontaneous additions to a visit at Ekuthuleni if these coincide with your visit.

Making a difference

Community Water Project

Using Ekuthuleni as a base not only provides a truly meaningful cultural emersion experience but also an ideal opportunity for groups, of at least 10 people, to participate in a meaningful community project.  A minimum of 3 full working days are required to complete a meaningful project. Projects are centred on the needs identified by the community, of which there are many, and not what we/you would like to do.  Most commonly projects revolve around potable water provision, food gardens and general upgrading of school facilities.  It is important to bear in mind that in addition to your board and lodging at Ekuthuleni groups are also required to raise the funds for the cost of materials and additional expertise that may be required for the project.

For more information have a look on the African Insight Website.

About Andrew Anderson

Managing Director: African Insight - Travel Experiences That Make A Difference African Insight - Explorations Tourism Concessionaire - Somkhanda Game Reserve
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