LAKE FUNDUZI

20May

The enchanted body of water known as Lake Fundudzi is remotely located in the Venda region of the Limpopo province, in the foothills of the Soutspansberg Mountains, sacred Lake Fundudzi is one of the few true inland lakes in South Africa. Measuring about 140 hectares and estimated to be at least 10,000 years old, Fundudzi is filled by the Godoni and Mutale rivers. Mysteriously, with no obvious outlet, it never overflows. Different legends are told about the lake. According to the Venda people – a regional ethnic group comprising more than a million people – a sacred python considered to be a bringer of fertility dwells beneath the waters. In ancient times it lived on the surface of the lake and, enjoying human wives, visited them at night when it could not be seen. One time, an inquisitive wife did see it, and her terror so upset the python that it fled deep into the lake. This caused a terrible drought, which only ended when the curious wife walked into the lake to join her serpentine husband. To prevent more droughts in subsequent years young maidens were sacrificed in the same way. In more recent times the performance of the ritual domba dance, part of the initiation rites of young women, is believed to satisfy the lusty python god.