Tuesday, November 9, 2010

When in Africa . . .

Traditional. Native. Africa. The chorus of places and people that have introduced us to the narratives and practices of traditional, native Africa continued today.

After a brief interlude back at the Apartheid Museum, we were enroute to the Lesedi Cultural Village (http://www.lesedi.com/). The Cultural Village advances the idea that living traditions require living stories, people and structures. Following a general introduction, the pilgrims were taken on a guided tour of four homesteads that are the makeup of southern African tribes --Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho and Pedi. The walk coincided with rain (or "sky juice", as one of the pilgrims commented later). This made for a learning moment as this blogger was educated in the tradition of 'walking in the rain' as a African way of life. The rain aside, each homestead displayed the cultural markers of the people represented: food, shelter, leadership and ritual. Our walk ended with a visit to the 'watering hole' where liquid heat was sought in the form of traditional, Western libations.

Externally wet, yet inwardly warm, the cultural finale was in the form of music and dance. This was a full, sensual experience of smell, sound, touch (if sitting can count) and taste (okay, taste came later with lunch). The dancing form of each of the tribes, and the musical metrics that where there for support, created a festive atmosphere of rhythmic movement. With the final dance came the invitation to join the tribal performers. Naturally, the group was hesitant to participate; we are Episcopalians after all.

No cultural experience would be complete without the exchange of Rand for African goods. With this 'tradition' behind us, we traveled the hour and a half to the Bakubung Reserve (http://www.bakubung.co.za/) in Pilansberg National Park. Expecting to only find our luggage and our rooms, we were surprised to find Wildebeest within eye-shot of our rooms. This is a sign of things to come.

In the morn, our first game reserve trip begins.

1 comment:

  1. I find it hard to believe that Howard didn't join in the dance ... or did he? Anyone who has witnessed his announcements at the Cathedral knows that a native dance would be most appealing!

    What about Rene? He can "cut a rug" when put to the test!

    Watch out for those wildebeests and don't pet any kitties.