Sunday, September 18, 2011

Shakaland Boma

Shakaland's setting is perfect. Nearly 200 years ago, the great African chief Shaka, at the height of his powers, established his military headquarters close-by.

Modelled on a traditional Zulu umuzi (family kraal), the complex was built around a boma. The hotel bedrooms, beehive huts built of mud and thatched to within three feet of the ground, are grouped in clusters of 10 or so, each with a Zulu name. There is Kwawuhlamehlo (place of the closed eyes), Kwabonamanzi (place where you see the water) and others.

Kwabonamanzi - Place where you see the water
 When we visited in the spring time the path to our hut in Kwabonamanzi was lined with wild gardenias and thorny acacia trees. Hanging from tree branches, lanterns lit our way after sunset.

Inside the hut it was cool and dark; its single window a shuttered square cut into the clay looked over a valley where at night the waters of Umhlatuze Lake shone pale silver in the moonlight.

It was an enchanting place but not without surprises. As I stepped into the bath later that evening I pushed the rickety shutter covering the bathroom window expecting it to open just a fraction. Suddenly, with a deafening crash the shutter fell to the ground leaving a gaping 1 metre square hole in the wall. Directly opposite the opening, a path of light streamed from our neighbour’s front door and I stood stark naked in the spotlight.
More to follow ...
Photo copyright Anne Gordon
Posted on Sunday, 18th September, 2011


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