Khaya La Bantu Cultural Experience
The Eastern Cape is a province in South Africa that is culturally rich and blanketed in history, with leaders such as Nelson Mandela being born here. To assist travelers in experiencing the traditional cultures of the province there are various attractions and locations that they can visit. To enjoy a true traditional Xhosa cultural adventure, travelers are recommended to visit the Khaya La Bantu village, which is located near the city of East London. Here the tastes, sounds and vibrant energy of the Xhosa culture can be discovered, as well as their history.
On arrival at the Khaya La Bantu village, visitors will be immediately swept up in this lively culture. Dancers dressed in traditional, colorful outfits will greet them to the accompaniment of Xhosa music. The culture is known to have various dances for different occasions and festivities, such as Qongqongthwane, which is a Xhosa wedding song, made famous by Miriam Makeba. The dancers will be wearing decorative jewelry, such as the beaded necklace called the ithumbu, or an iqoqo, which is also a beaded item that is worn around the dancer’s lower back.
Visitors are taken on guided tours, and tour guides will be able to explain all the finer details of the jewelry and outfits, as well as the dance routines. There is also the opportunity to join in on a session of weaving and beading, watching the Xhosa women design and create their colorful masterpieces. Beaded jewelry is not only created for dancers, but also for special ceremonies and headdresses, which tells much about the person wearing them, such as their rank within the community or even if a woman is newly married. Headdresses also indicate the social status of a woman. By using natural clays, the Xhosa people also create cooking pots and use wood, grass and reeds to carve pipes and weave mats or baskets.
Visitors will meet the community’s traditional healer; learn more about the various rituals, heritage and beliefs that are an intricate part of the Xhosa culture; and get the opportunity to sample their tasty dishes and home brewed beer. In total, the adventure of exploring the Khaya La Bantu village is interesting and entertaining, with much of the locally created beadwork on sale as souvenirs. There is also accommodation available for visitors wanting to enjoy the tranquility of the village.