Venda

The traditions of the Venda people have managed to stand the test of time and gain international attention while at it.
For example – the annual, bare knuckle boxing match known as Musangwe is a Venda tradition among the men that has gained quite some attention.
The Domba dance is one of the traditions among the women. It is an initiation dance among for the young girls. It is also known as the fertility dance.
The culture, language and practices of the Venda people is appealing not just because of its beautiful landscape but because of its history and insistence of preservation for their way of life.

The People

The Venda people (also known as Vhangona or Vhavenda) are a tribe of Southern Africans around the South African-Zimbabwean Border.
The Venda tribe is one of South Africa’s minority groups, much like the Tsonga.
The Venda people are primarily found in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.
Interestingly, the Venda people originate from the Congo not South Africa.

Limpopo Province, which is named after the Limpopo River, is South Africa’s northernmost province.
Polokwane is Limpopo’s capital.
Like many provinces in South Africa, Limpopo has a seemingly unlimited supply of activities and sites for tourists.
Safaris, golf, game reserves, hiking, camping, nature reserves and botanical garden are all available here.
Tourism, Agriculture and Mining are the main pillars of Limpopo’s economy.

Unfortunately, Limpopo has the highest number of people living below South Africa’s national poverty line, making it the poorest of South Africa’s nine provinces.
However, this high figure could be attributed to the fact the majority of the area is still rural.
There are approximately 700,000 Venda people living in Limpopo.

Some notable people of Venda origin include:

Philip Ndou, the boxer.
Authors – E.S. Madima and Tenda Madima
Cyril Ramaphosa – Deputy President of South Africa.
South African Rapper – Riky Rick.
Florence Masebe, actress known for her appearance in South African series – Muvhango.
Fholisani Sydney Mufamadi who served as former Minister of Provincial and Local Government and former Minister of Safety and Security.

The Republic of Venda

The Republic of Venda was set up by the South African government as a homeland for the Venda people.
It was declared self-governing in 1973 and was declared independent on the 13th of September, 1979 by the South African government.
However, the international community and the United Nations never recognized Venda as an independent state for its entire duration.

Patrick Mphephu was the first president of Venda. He was also the paramount chief of the Venda tribe.
He was born and raised in Limpopo.
Frank Rayele succeeded Patrick Mphephu but he was overthrown in 1990 by a military coup.
On the 27th of April, 1994 – Venda was reabsorbed by South Africa.

The Language

The Venda Language which can either be referred to as Luvenda or Tshivenda is one of South Africa’s official languages.
As expected, it is spoken by the Vhavenda – the Venda People. It is also spoken by Zimbabwe’s Lemba People.
Venda, as a language, bares similarities to the language, Kalanga – which is spoken in both Zimbabwe and Botswana.
There are approximately, 1.7 million Venda speakers in Southern Africa with 1.2 million of them in South Africa. This makes Venda speakers the smallest minority after the speakers of Ndebele.

University of Venda

UNIVEN, as it is commonly known, was established in 1982 by the then Republic of Venda. It is a Comprehensive Rural based public University in South Africa.
It is located in Limpopo.
The current Chancellor is Kgalema Motlanthe and Professor Peter Mbati is the Vice Chancellor.
The university’s motto is Knowledge is Precious.

The University has one main campus which houses the seven faculties – the School of Agriculture, School of Environmental Science, School of Education, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, School of Human and Social Sciences, School of Health Sciences and School of Law.
The University Campus also has an art gallery, a sports center and campus residences as well.

The Venda name has become synonymous with natural beauty – beautiful people, beautiful landscape, beautiful rivers and beautiful culture.
The culture has over time incorporated several aspects of other cultures from East Africa, Central Africa and Southern Africa which makes it all the more interesting.
What’s even more commendable is how the people hold on to their traditions and history despite the constant changes to the world around them.