Back to Pilanesberg


Forward to Lost City

Lesedi is a cultural village near the Hartebeespoort Dam close to Pretoria. "Ke bona Lesedi" means ' I see the light" At this live cultural Village the traditions and life-style of four of the ethnic groups, namely the Zulu, Basotho, Xhosa and Pedi tribes, in South Africa are expertly presented and explained to visitors.

Jo and the chief at the entrance to Lesedi

Jo and Rose posed with the chief at Lesedi to capture the memory


Rose with the Zulu chief

Welcome to Lesedi!

We were heartily welcomed by this young Zulu warrior and some dancers proceeded immediately with a welcoming dance

The welcoming dance

Ndebele woman

The guide introduced us to a Ndebele woman (left) wearing the traditional ankle and neck bracelets and explained the programme to be followed to us before inviting us to join for a show.

Right: example of a zulu hut and ndebele artwork.

Ndebele art and miniature Zulu hut

The show started off in the fascinating african theatre with the "Giant Ngoma" - or traditional dance show. "Musi"  the story-teller introduced the audience to ancient tribal legends and the story of Lesedi. It included dances by Zulu, Pedi, Xhosa and Basotho people  Unfortunately I was not able to follow the dialogue but never the less enjoyed the visual show. The following pictures show the dancers and actors. The African peoples have a notable natural rythm and talent for acting, dancing and singing!

After the show we visited the various cultural villages for further explanation of the traditions and customs. The Zulu Village with its hand-woven beehive huts surrounding a cattle kraal was the first in line.

The Zulu Village

Left: Visitors were requested to spit on a stone and cast it on a heap ( the Izivivane" to propitiate the ancestral spirits.

Before allowing visitors to enter the village they are required to  shout out a traditional greeting called Uku-Khuleka" to announce themselves.

Entry to the Zulu village

After the proper announcement and identification the guest to the village is greeted with the three stage handshake.

The grandmother's hut

Left: The Indlu-Nkulu or ancestral hut is the grandmother's hut and the most important in the village.

Right: The Inqulobane or raised grain hut is used as a pantry to store crops. Next to the guide is an unmarried woman in traditional dress.

Grain storage

Married Zulu woman in traditional dress receiving the head rest/stool

Left: married woman with gift of head rest and traditional headwear.

Right: Weapons are made in a separate location out of sight of women and children.

Zulu weapon making


Basotho Village

The Basotho people are from the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Their king Moshoeshoe gave refuge to scatterlings in the mountain fortress and in so doing created the Basotho nation. Ever fearful for attack he was grateful for every sunrise which he greeted with the words "Ke bona lesedi"...I thank the light.. and so this place is called Lesedi - place of light.

Sotho shrine

Left: A  torch lit at a shrine for King Moshoeshoe.

The Basotho enclosure

Basotho homesteads

Basotho boy's home

Left: The Me-Kgoro is the small (low) Basotho hut where young boys are tutored before they go to initiation school. (Donna making sure she is getting the picture just right with Patsi looking on...)

The heavily thatched roofs of the huts protect against the bitter cold of the winters in the mountains. Each Basotho clan has its own totem like the crocodile shown on this photo

Basotho huts with typical totem decoration

Basotho man with conical hat and blanket

Left: A Basotho man standing next to the guide wearing the traditional conical hat and colourful blanket that provides heat in the winter and isolation from the hot sun in summer.

Xhosa Village

Xhosa Village

Influenced by the early European  settlers the Xhosa build mud houses with whitewashed walls that are  decorated with colourful natural paints

The Isibaya or cattel kraal of hte Xhosa is built from stone and not reeds and represents the wealth of the clan.

Xhosa cattle enclosure

Xhosa dance

Left: Dancing Xhosa women - their dress also resembling those of Europeans more closely than those of the other tribes.

Jo inside the Xhosa hut. The women are always seated behind the door since it is regarded as safer with the men guarding the door. Men will also always enter first or lead the way to protect the women.

Xhosa hut interior


The Pedi Village

The Pedi people come from Sekukhuniland in the Limpopo province. Legend has it that in the wars against the British they saw the Scottish Higlanders approach dresed in kilts and they refused to fight what they thought to be an army of women. They were defeated and to this day wear the kilt as a rememmbrance of that "trickery"


Left: The Kgoro or entrance place is traditionally used only by the men but no visitor is allowed to enter the village without first arriving here.

Right: The main Pedi hut or Ntlokgolo has wide eaves supported by outside veranda posts and are decorated with mud and cow dung in natural ochre colours.

Pedi home

Pedi woman grinding corn

Left: Pedi woman grinding corn.

Right: "Le Lapa" or the Pedi homestead is surrounded by poles on which medicine is smeared to ward off evil and propitiate the spirits.

Pedi village

Pedi dancing

Left: Pedi man with kilt and women in traditional beaded dress.

Right: Zulu, Pedi, Basotho and Xhosa men in traditional dress 

Men in ethnic dress f.l.t.r Zulu Pedi. Basotho and Xhosa

Many South Africans adopted the Pedi "lapa" as the style for entertainment areas around their swimming pools and barbeque areas.

Traditional Dance

After visiting the various villages we were treated to  some traditional dancing. What a wonderful display of rhythm that was with even very young children joining in the dance around a fire. After the display Patsi was the only one brave enough to try the gum boot dance! As you will see she did us proud!

Chief at traditional dance show

Children dancing

Above: Various traditional dances with very young children merrily joining in right at the end of the display


Patsi doing the gum boot dance!

Patsi and the gum boot dance


Nyama Choma - The feast!

Well we sure worked up a healthy appetite after all the displays and dancing. It was time for lunch and we were once more ready to tuck in. Little realising what a fabulous feast that awaited us!! 




Nyama choma ???Zulu for yummy?

Left: the entrance to the fabulous African restaurant with Jo , Rose, Donna and Wia ready for the feast.

Right: Colourful ethnic art in the ladies' bathroom

Decoration sin women's toilet


The Lesedi buffet



Left: The carvery

Right: The menu. I stayed clear of the "beans that thunder the buttocks" LOL!

The menu

After the feast we had great fun posing on the chief's chair. This time Patsi missed out on the traditional head gear but Rose's smile fitted it perfectly and I had to show who the Safari Captain was.

Left: Patsi posing as chief

Right: Wia all dressed up!

Left: Now look at Rose!!

Right: Our friend Peter Thomas posed on a previous occasion and it was on his recommendation that we knew Lesedi was a MUST for the itinerary of the Safari.


Back to Pilanesberg

Forward to Lost City