Possibly the most sacred spot of all in Venda Culture is the enchanted body of water known as Lake Fundudzi in the Thathe Vondo Forest, in Venda and is the home to the mythical python and white crocodile.
Lake Fundudzi, the only natural lake of its kind in South Africa, was originally formed by a landslide, say scientists. But the local people see it in a far more mysterious way. They'll point out that three rivers flow into the lake, yet it never overflows and there is no obvious outlet.
The Venda people say that the Mutale River that flows into the lake actually flows underneath the lake and does not move the surface water.
A legend tells of a Venda man who had a broken heart because of the loss of a great love. In his sorrow he walked into Lake Fundudzi at which time he turned into a python. This python is the god of fertility and cares for the crops and who is pacified annually by the pouring of sacrificial beer onto the water and by young virgin Venda maidens performing the famous Domba-python dance.
- A white crocodile guards the ancestral spirits who inhabit the lake. The fullness of the lake and its colour indicate the mood of the ancestors, and predicts the coming rainy season. This crocodile might have really existed because this Lake is still today infested by large crocodiles, and an albino might have once occurred. No-one washes in this lake.
- One legend is that a leper begged for food at one of the villages where the lake is now. He was refused food and subsequently cursed the village, which was suddenly covered by water and that one can still see the people living at the bottom of the lake.
When any object is thrown into the lake, locals say the spirits will catch it and throw it back out onto the bank to be discovered the next morning.
Sometimes you can hear singing, although no one appears to be present. It is believed to be buried ancestors which are are said to come alive singing and playing drums beneath the water
However, to truly appreciate its importance, do our Mystical Venda Tour of the area and hear the local stories.
Respect for the Venda Culture
- The Venda will truly appreciate it if you show the proper respect by doing the requisite greeting when you first see the lake. Turn your back to it, and bend down to look at it upside down through spread legs, a salute known as the ukodola.
- Then please the gods of the lake further by walking down and throwing a few of your hairs into the lapping wavelets. The Venda will love you for it.
Thathe Vondo Forest
Lake Fundudzi is surrounded by the Thathe Vondo forest - so full of spirits that few Venda people venture into it for fear of the two mythical creatures keeping guard, namely the white lion (the spirit of Nethathe an important chief) and the thunder and lighting bird called Ndadzi which according to myths flies on the wings of thunder, its eyes flash lightning, from in its beak it bears rain and when it drops an egg at a foot of a tree this tree will be destroyed by fire.
The forest has giant trees (jakkelsbessie, yellowwood), a wide variety of ferns, creepers and a wealth of plants and trees which makes the forest nearly impenetrable on foot. One can also find the giant edible mushrooms, Nkoa in these woods.
Learn More About The Venda Culture
Mashovhela Rock Pool
Water In The Venda Culture
Dance & Music
Venda Traditional Dress