05 July 2009

Second Report on Emjindini Healing, Heritage and Environment Centre

With this note today I want to post references to my reports on the progress of the Emjindini Healing, Hertiage and Environment Centre (EHHEC). The second report can be viewed as HTML at

The size of the graphics has been reduced in this version to make it small enough to post, but if you would like a PDF version, or even copies of the pictures to print at a better resolution, let me know.

The EHHEC is a project funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) of South Africa. This money comes from the national lottery gambling board, and a certain amount of the proceeds are mandated to go to charitable organisation, NGOs and especially to development of the arts, culture, sport and heritage. This project was originally proposed way back in 2003, but it took a long time to get the funds, and to get the funds into accounts that were functional. With that more or less done now, the project is going ahead now in 2009, six years later! There is a lot of re-planning after such a long delay from the original conception, and this is reflected in the reports.

The basic idea is to develop a centre in a rural area where knowledge can be shared, displayed and interacted with by local residents, local 'tourists' and real tourists who might be interested in South African indiginous life ways and practices. It is situated in the precincts of the Emjindini chiefship, and is part of the functional institututions of the chiefship including the court, the Royal Kraal'. Chiefs in South Africa are recognised by the constitution, and are mandated to promote "development", and to promote and carry on the local traditional systems of government. This is fraught with conflict, but it seems to us who are involved in this project that a number of its institutions do work, and that they are worth supporting.

In addition, however, we are developing teaching and museum materials that will be able to 'travel' to other venues, particularly classrooms, corporate board rooms, government offices, or to lodges and other tourists venues for display and for teaching and learning about local Swazi culture. We are focusing first on traditional healing, local Swazi dance called Sibhaca, and traditional dress. These themes will be developed as 'boxes' with CDs, DVDs, paper documents, objects, pictures, and other materials that can circulate as needed. We hope to generate some income from this by, for instance, offering it to corporate events, or at tourist venues for a small charge. Students and interested youth are tasked with development of the materials, with appropriate assistance from the project staff, currently Kristy Stone from Wits University.

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