Ke-Ditselana cultural village preserves ethnic culture and creates employment

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

When my eyes feasted on the loveliness of Ke-Ditselana Cultural Village, my heart rumbled like a drum.

Bracketed between Vosloorus and Katlehong in Ekurhuleni, the perfectly straw-thatched ronda-vels yell for attention as they stand out in sharp contrast to the surrounding township.

The architecture beams with that aura of finesse one only finds in special places.

The R50million-worth unique village is made up of indigenous homesteads and offers a fascinating peep into the lifestyle and culture of all nine South African ethnic groups.

The kraal, the cattle, the beautiful and large mealie fields, and the green pastures on which cattle graze gracefully are a reminder of what was.

Set on a 20ha piece of land of awesome beauty, Ke-Ditselana is an idyll for traditional wedding functions, educational tours and conferences.

The habitations exhibit an intricate fusion of African flavours, textures, sights, sounds and smells.

In each homestead the huts are arranged in order of importance.

The girls' hut and that of the second wife is furthest away from the entrance - away from intruders and danger. Each home enjoys the protection of its own walls and is represented by a custodian with a rich understanding of the people's culture. He is responsible for the maintenance of the homestead.

Village spokesman Lucas Mahlakgane told Sowetan that the village, which is funded by the Department of Environment and Tourism, boasts an amphitheatre that will host monthly dance and music performances in the not-so-distant future.

The village does not only preserve South African cultures, but it will also have greater economic spin-offs as a tourist destination. One hundred jobs - 60 full-time and 40 part-time - have already being created.

The restaurant serves all types of delicious food and the villagers also offer a taste of food from various South African ethnic groups. The village also boasts a craft market and three conference facilities.