MYTHS AND LEGENDS
Venda is truly the Land of Legends as there are so many beliefs and stories about the supernatural that it may take a long visit to discover them all.
LAKE FUNDUZI: Perhaps the best know of sacred places in Venda is the mysterious Lake Fundudzi in the Mutale River. This is the only true lake in South Africa and was formed in ancient times by a landslide. However vhaTavhatsinde people under Chief Netshiavho settled around the lake and he became the keeper of the lake.
There are numerous legends surrounding the lake. One such a legend is that a leper begged for food at one of the villages where the lake is now. He was refused food and then he cursed the village, which was then suddenly covered by water and one can still see the people living at the bottom of the lake.
Another legend has it that this is the home of the God of Fertility, the python, and that at the begging of Spring millet beer must be offered to the ancestral spirits in the water to determine whether it is going to be a good season or not. Sending a maiden with a pot of beer into the lake does this, she must then pour the beer into the water and if the water and beer mixes it is going to be a good season. If not, then other measures must be employed to enlist the help of the ancestral spirits to have a good season.
No one is allowed to look at the lake directly – one must look through your legs at the lake – and no one is allowed to touch the water – your skin will break out in sores if you do so.
THATE VONDO FOREST: Close by Lake Fundudzi in the mountain is the Thathe Vondo forest where a sacred white lion haunts the forest to protect the graves of the chiefs buried in the sacred forest and south of the sacred forest is Lwamondo Hill where the sacred baboons live, who warned the Lwamondo people of the approaching Swazi raiders, thus saving their lives.
DZATA RUINS: Built in around 1700, and once the flourishing capital of the Venda empire. Dzata was occupied for only about 60 years and was last ruled by the great Thohoyandou who forged the Venda nation from clans already living in the Soutpansberg.
THE LEGENDARY DOMBA DANCE: Known by some as the python dance, the Domba dance is an essential ritual in the initiation rites for young Venda females. The dance imitates the movement of a huge snake as the young initiates move around the fire singing ancient songs.
DEITIES AND SPRITES: The traditional deity of the vhaVenda is Raluvimba, a birdlike being. He travels like a shooting star and his voice is heard in thunder, lightning, droughts, floods and earthquakes, in fact all natural phenomena that has an influence on the ordinary man.
At the same time take note of the zwidutwane that live in the Phiphidi Falls and in Gubukhuvo, the pool into which the water flow below the falls. Although these water sprites can trap their own meat, they cannot grow grain under water and therefore beer and grain are left on a sacred stone near the top of the falls to foster good relations with the ancestral spirits.