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iSimangaliso supports preservation of culture through nature conservation

12 March 2019

Umthayi Marula Festival 2019

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority was delighted to support this year’s Umthayi Marula Festival – an annual Thonga celebration of the first harvest of the fruit of the protected indigenous marula tree. During this festival, the entire community unites in preparing the special traditional marula beer and presents this to the King of the Tembe people, Inkosi Mabhudu Tembe, in song, dance and a feast for all at the royal palace in KwaNgwanase, northern KwaZulu-Natal.

This commemoration was even more eminent this year after the prolonged drought experienced in the last four years throughout the region and the entire country. This was a huge reminder that conservation is for all, and this generation is no exception.

Tradition requires that the nationally protected marula tree that is widespread throughout the province, the fruit of which is used to make the beer “ubuganu”, is conserved and made one of the preferred species to plant as we carry out our greening efforts as a nation.

Over 20 000 thousand people graced this year’s event. Distinct traditional outfits told a story of origin for many and showed that numbers came from eSwatini and Mozambique amongst other international guests. The steaming hot weather did not deter attendees as the mood of celebrations and festivity filled the entire stadium. Various artists performed to the delight of capacity crowds, featuring professional and celebrity artists such as Tira, Buselaphi, Zero Khumalo and others.

Key speakers included His Worship Cllr. N. Mthethwa – Mayor Umhlabuyalingana Municipality; Cllr. T.S. Mkhombo – Mayor Umkhanyakude District Municipality; Inkosi Mahlungu – Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders; Inkosi Mokoena – President of Contralesa; Mr. S. Zikalala – KZN MEC: Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs; Prince Russel Tembe and Inkosi Mabhudu Tembe, who all commended iSimangaliso on great work being done and looked forward to more benefits and developments in the region through iSimangaliso as a key tourism driver and an organisation mandated to deliver social development to communities adjacent to the Park.

Media enquiries should be directed to Slindile Msweli at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..