Built exclusively of traditional materials, this Tsongo Kraal Museum, inside the Hans Merensky Nature Reserve, is a well-known attraction showcasing the many traditional building styles of the North Tsonga tribes who originated as refuges from southern Mozambique. The village was established in 1974 by a group of Wits University professors.
It is an open-air reconstructed village with Mopane poles bound to mopane bark forming the framework of most of the huts and clay from anthills was used for the floors and walls. The paint which decorates the walls came from different coloured soils.
The kraal was fashioned around the homestead of the Chief, with his eight wives, and the arrangement of the huts follows a set pattern, although many variations of the pattern can be found in the area.
It is a traditional Tsonga homestead, where everyday life is portrayed and where you can see the different styles used by the Northern Tsonga over the past 200 years. This includes different types of sleeping huts, grain, cooking huts, stores, a sacrificial hut, a goat hut, a chicken hut, a cattle kraal with a herd of authentic Nguni cattle and an ancestral tree. Traditional food is also prepared by a group of Tsonga women, who are also responsible for the agricultural gardens at the museum.
Various customs and festivals are honoured in appropriate ways at the museum and the village springs in to life as friendly and animated guides perform the many traditions of the North Tsonga people.
Rest rooms are available and you can also bring your picnic basket and just relax in the museum grounds. Every weekend there is traditional local dancing and singing, from as far away as Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
There is no charge.
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