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KwaZulu-Natal Celebrates Cultural Diversity : The Umthayi Marula Heritage Festival

There was ululation all round when the province of KwaZulu-Natal welcomed visitors from Seychelles, Swaziland and Mozambique as well as locals, who attended this year’s uMthayi Marula Festival in the northern part of uMkhanyakude District in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Umkhanyakude District Municipality is home to Manguzi, a small town which is also known as kwaNgwanase, and was formerly the town of Kosi Bay. This part of South Africa is known for its subtropical climate and breath-taking landscape.

The festival is an annual ritual of the Tembe clan where older women deliver a brew derived from the first fruits of the Marula harvest to their chief, Inkosi Mabhudu Tembe at the eMfihlweni Royal Residence.

This event, which began in 1998, aims at promoting tourism and developing the economies of South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique. The joyous annual celebration strengthens social cohesion and cultural exchanges among the three countries.

Each year the event has created awareness about the Tembe community and the role they have played in the cultural landscape of these countries. The event is celebrated with vibrant dances from the Tembe clans.

Manguzi comes alive for a colourful festival rich in culture and heritage. The Marula season begins each year in mid-February and continues until May.

The town is also an ideal location for lovers of water sports who can swim, snorkel or explore the sprawling beaches beneath the African sun. 

Many people who attend the festival stay for a week. Some of the popular accommodation venues include Royal Thonga Safari Lodge, Tembe Elephant Park and Jozini Tiger Lodge.

Visitors can enjoy a relaxing boat cruise with sundowners at Jozini or explore a game drive at Tembe Elephant Park with some of the largest elephants in Africa.

If you have not visited this part of the province, please make sure to add the uMthayi Marula Heritage Festival to your bucket list – it will be worth your while. Tourism KwaZulu-Natal will be here to welcome you….. #Zwakala!

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