Friday, 1 June 2007

Lesedi Village

Experience the vibrant and colourful traditions of the Basotho, Ndebele, Pedi, Xhosa and Zulu people.

The village is populated by native Africans from the various tribes and their obvious pride at representing their majestic cultures is evident from the song and dance and huge grins that greet you on your arrival.

Sit unceremoniously on the ground next to a Ndebele woman, as she shows you how she beads the incredibily intricate decorations from thousands of shiny glass beads - or join a group of Basutho men, shrouded in their blankets, playing a local game involving stones and dice on the bonnet of a rusty old car.

A guide walks with you along the meandering paths into the various villages, where you are announced to the Chief with much pomp and circumstance.

Marvel at the fierce Zulu warriors in their animals skins - spears aloft, battle cries echoing as they pound the dusty ground with their elaborate war dance.

At the basutho village, crouch next to the Sangoma as he throws the "dollosse" - animal bones - and read your future, whilst sucking on a long ancestral pipe.

The Xhosa villagers invite you into their home - explaning with much clucking and tutting why the men should always go first. Enjoy a ceremonial pipe, offered to you by the women - and sample some of the home made beer.

After a fascinating sojourn in a magical world of Africa, everyone congregates in the Boma (bush theatre) and the fierce and mesmerising African drumming and singing starts. Soon, the floor is a frenzy of bright, whirling shapes: feathers, beads, bones and skins hardly keeping up with the shiny bodies of the dancers.

Story telling by the chief commences and watching the war dance raises goosebumps, before guests are dragged into the firelit circle and encourage with hoots and laughter to join in the festivities.

Senses overwhelmed, the festivities wind down and everyone moves to the traditional restaurant where an african feast is ready. A quirky African Jazz band provides live entertainment and your hosts ensures that you enjoy every morsel, whilst entertaining you with their wealth of knowledge of customs, cultures and politics.

An unforgettable experience.