Heritage sites show ancient VhaVenda kingdom and civilisation

SABC News Dzata Museum - Heritage sites show ancient VhaVenda kingdom and civilisation

For hundreds of years VhaVenda people held a belief that the natural warm water pool in Nzhelele, Limpopo, has healing powers. This belief has stood the test of time as people, young and old, continue to visit the pool daily to bath or drink from it.

The Dzata Ruins and Museum, showcasing the ancient VhaVenda kingdom and civilisation, continues to attract tourists from near and far afield.

Popularly known as Tshipise or hot water well, the pool of water is said to be full of minerals including chloride-sulphate. It is heated from many metres below the ground and forced to the surface.

For years, locals held the belief that the pool has medicinal substances. Despite its grimy state, the community still drink it in the belief that it heals many ailments. Resident Mpfariseni Mukhuba says they learned about the pool from their forefathers.

“We learned about this pool from our forefathers. This water is not just ordinary water; it’s healing and it’s therapeutic, it is very important for us.”

The pool has since been fenced within Mphephu Resort as a heritage site. A man-made alternative that draws water from the original has also been set-up a few metres away. Resident James Phaswana says they love going to the pool.

“We love coming here. This pool is a gift from the Gods. It wipes away all the dirt and the diseases. We bath here from the morning until midday and then from midday until late afternoon, we make way for women to use it also.”

8km to the West, the famed Dzata Ruins and Museum remains one of South Africa’s most attractive tourist destination. In 2018, the Department of Arts and Culture expressed concern over lack of interest in the site by local people. However, museum manager, Mpho Tsikosi, says following a visit by the SABC News crew in 2018, things have since improved.

“From last year, there is being a lot of improvement. Especially after the interview as it was on TV, people started coming in from local communities. We had a strategy to develop educational programmes that is added to the curriculum so we have been receiving lots of school visits and people from the local communities are coming to visit.”

VhaVenda people set up their first kingdom South of the Limpopo river over three centuries ago.

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