Growing up in rural Zululand a stone’s throw away from King Shaka’s Kwabulawayo capital and the grave of Queen Nandi (Shaka’s mother) is a contradiction of carefree days of exploring the hillsides, valleys and forest in search of stray cattle and goats on the one side and the realities of the hardships that rural communities face on the other. No access to running water let alone a half decent education or primary health care were everyday realities. Power to operate a television was a luxury his parents believed was essential for their children’s education, which was supplied by a 12 volt car battery that had to be carried miles to be recharged.
This “window” to the outside world kindled a determination and drive to excel both in and out of school. Lacking resources to further his education Patrick found employment at a commercial traditional village. Starting off as a labourer he worked his way up to a traditional dancer, then to a qualified cultural guide and finally into management.
Exposure to travellers from all corners of the world fuelled a desire for travel, which lead to a number of overseas trips. Realising that the commercial Zulu Cultural experience was not the real deal and meeting up with African Insight opened an opportunity to develop the concept of an authentic cultural immersion experience in his rural Zululand home community. Ekuthuleni authentic cultural home stay was the start, which soon grew into a more comprehensive community volunteering programme that undertakes projects in schools to improve the learning / teaching environment and low maintenance water projects which supply potable to homesteads that have no access to the government water system.