Mpondo weaver with traditional grass baskets

In 1950s and 60’s the residents of Mpondoland resisted the betterment schemes of the apartheid government’s bantustan policy, culminating in The Pondo Revolt of 1961.

This means that human settlement in parts of Mpondoland has not been as profoundly impacted by the social and geographic engineering of apartheid, as other areas of South Africa. A village in the Amadiba area is not a close cluster of homesteads organised in neat rows, but rather a collection of homesteads scattered across an area of several square kilometres. This cultural landscape is recognized as one of the most threatened heritage sites of South Africa.

Amampondo Cultural Community Landscapes

Plans are in progress to develop a Pondoland Resources and Tourism Centre to serve as a hub of information and artefacts about the culture, social and natural history of the area.

The Centre would be a repository for the archival collection that tells the history of the Amadiba area, including the Pondo Revolt of 1960, and the more recent resistance against mining. The Centre will honour the local community as courageous custodians of their beautiful land.  It will inspire creativity and collaboration around issues of indigenous wisdom, resistance to the destruction of the environment, protection of human rights and the development of new and sustainable local economies.

Mpopndo man with his cattle

We have a holistic, relational world view that recognises the interdependence of all members of the community, and our dependence on the natural world within which we live. Our communities believe that what nature provides for free (including access to land) must be shared for the benefit of all community members. Living in this way means that even the poorest families have access to land and the means to grow food. Thus, in our communities poor people can avoid total destitution and obtain some security of land tenure and food self-provision” – Sinegugu Zukulu, Amadiba resident.