Choose your country and language:


  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Mozambique
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda


  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia


  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom

You are only




TThe Venda people are not very populous but they have a rich cultural heritage. The Venda culture is closely associated with the spirit world and they express their beliefs and customs through art decorations on their structures, pottery and woodcarving. Venda traditions among the people of the Limpopo province differ from other ethnic groups. While revering ancestors, Venda beliefs include a white python and water sprites that need to be nurtured.

Venda traditions go back to the great walled settlements found in Limpopo and Zimbabwe. The origin of the Venda people and culture is believed to have been the Mapungubwe Kingdom founded in the ninth century. They were first ruled by King Shiriyadenga whose empire stretched from Soutpansberg in southern Africa, all the way across the Limpopo River and the Matopos towards the north. The realm disintegrated in the year 1240, and power quickly shifted to the Great Zimbabwe Empire.

Did You Know?
TThe Venda language uses the Latin alphabet of the Lemba tribe.

TThe Venda people were one of the last African groups to migrate south of the Limpopo River. When they moved to present day South Africa, they found a bountiful area, which they named Venda (Pleasant Place) and eventually settled there.

Their local history began in the valleys and mountains of Limpopo, where their forebears established a great civilisation centred on Mapungubwe. The position of women in Venda culture is unusual in Africa in that they are encouraged to occupy senior positions in society.

CChildren and the elderly in the tribe have their own role to play. This is linked to Venda beliefs in ancestors, who are involved in their daily lives. Having just joined the earthly plane, children are still close to the ancestors. The elderly are also close to the ancestors because they will soon join the spiritual realm in death. The king in Venda traditions is seen as a living ancestor, which guarantees him devotion and respect. He even has his own language, further suggesting his divinity.

There are many sacred sites in Limpopo where the Venda go to communicate with their ancestors. Lake Fundudzi, high in the Soutspansberg Mountains, is one of the most esteemed as it is believed this is where the White Python − the god of fertility − and other mystical water sprites (zwidutwane) live. There are a number of rituals and traditions involved in the interaction between the Venda people and the spirits of Lake Fundudzi.


WWater is so sacred to this group that they associate every water source with this divine Python god. They are mythical people and believe water is sacred, therefore regarding Lake Fundudzi as holy and sanctified.

What really sets the Venda apart from other groups in South Africa is the role of art in the community. Artists are called by the spirit world through unusual dreams and visions to fulfil their destinies, giving their work a supernatural energy. This places them on the same social plane as a traditional healer.

Who to contact
How to get here
Best time to visit
Around the area
Tours to do
Get around
What will it cost
Length of stay
Where to stay

Related articles

History and culture in Polokwane

Vibrant culture
History and culture in Polokwane

In Polokwane, history and culture offer insight into this modern city.

Bakone Malapa open-air museum - at home with the Basotho

Vibrant culture
Bakone Malapa open-air museum - at home with the Basotho

The Bakone, a sub-group of the Northern Sotho people, will happily introduce you to their contemporary customs and traditional way of life.

Uncover a “new” ancient history at Mapungubwe

Vibrant culture
Uncover a “new” ancient history at Mapungubwe

South African history goes further back than you think.

From the roots of all humanity to a human story that inspired the world

Vibrant culture
From the roots of all humanity to a human story that inspired the world

While South Africa embodies our most ancient roots, we have evolved into an amazing mix of modern cultures.

Rock out at South Africa’s largest music festival – Oppikoppi

Vibrant culture
Rock out at South Africa’s largest music festival – Oppikoppi

For over 20 years, this gathering of South Africa’s music elite has become an essential pilgrimage for music lovers

South Africa and its jazz scene

Vibrant culture
South Africa and its jazz scene

Jazz fans from around the world appreciate the skill and vibrant talent of South African jazz musicians.

Polokwane Art Museum - Gallery for Venda, Tsonga and Pedi Art

Vibrant culture
Polokwane Art Museum - Gallery for Venda, Tsonga and Pedi Art

The Polokwane Art Museum has over 1000 artworks, including an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures by Venda, Pedi and Tsonga artists, many of which explore the region’s rich mythology.

Amarula-Marula tree magic

Vibrant culture
Amarula-Marula tree magic

Since Amarula Cream’s inception as a cream liqueur in 1989, this exotic, creamy spirit has become South Africa’s most widely distributed alcoholic beverage.

South Africa on social media

Copyright © 2018 South African Tourism
| Terms and conditions | Disclaimer | Privacy policy