My Xhosa Experience of a Lifetime

— 30 Sep 2012 —

After an eventful day, I wanted to take it easy at night. Chill out by the bar or read a book in the lounge area, but there was none of that happening. I found myself saying “YES!” to a visit to the Xhosa village faster than I could get out of the minibus back at the shack. So a walk, nap and shower later, I was on that minibus again off to the village.

This village is of significant importance to the Coffee Shack because it’s their community village which they sponsor and volunteer their time. And why wouldn’t they, the Xhosas are such beautiful people! And they live in the most spectacular place aswell! Lots of little colourful found huts scattered on the hillside, each having a view no money can buy.

Unfortunately the chief couldn’t join us for the festivities so we were entertained by the wives and the children. The women were dressed in traditional Xhosa attire, the headgear symbolising their married status (unmarried women don’t wear this type of headgear).

We were treated to drink some sort of traditional beer made of maize and malt, it is known as Umqombothi in Xhosa. The texture was grainy and it was very sour, not my cup of tea at all. After that, we shuffled into one of the round huts and listened to stories and watched the women dance their hearts. The bead ensembles were taking a helluva beating with all that booty shaking!


It was amazing how, about 50 of us, could fit in that room and have all this dancing going on! Plus there were a couple of benches, stools, a cabinet and a chest of drawers. From the outside, it looked like a cosy and tight room, however it was quite spacious inside.

After all the dancing, we all enjoyed a 2 coarse meal; first up with a potjiekos of cabbage and red sauce and second course was the coarse mealie meal (my favourite!).

Well fed and entertained, we left with the songs embedded in our heads and stumbled back to the minibus in the dark (no electricity).

I left feeling extremely privileged to have met these people. Seeing how happy they were with so little and how they make the most of it. Thinking how the western world is the opposite how could take a lesson from these people.

Thank you for the experience of a lifetime!


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