Bokmakierie Country Lodge

The area in which Bokmakierie Country Lodge is situated makes it a prime destination for any one who is interested in enjoying some of the finest cultural experiences available in South Africa. Because of Ladysmith's rich heritage it has become the site of not only some extraordinary cultural destinations such as the cultural museum, but also of some remarkable and internationally renowned musical attractions such as the Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the Drakensburg Boys' Choir. Another truly fascinating cultural experience which is synonymous with the Ladysmith area is the local Amazulu culture which is prevalent among many of the Amazulu people who live in the area. The Amazulu culture is an amazingly rich and intricate culture which stems back centuries and has been made famous by the Amazulu peoples historic King Shaka. We have selected three prime cultural attractions in the area which we felt we would like to highlight, so to view more information and/or photographs on either the Drakensburg Boys Choir, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo or the Amazulu people, then please click on the headings below...

Above: The cultural museum. Architectural Route. Ladysmith reflects different architectural periods, from Gothic and Edwardian to Indian and Renaissance. A self-guide brochure is available from the Information Office or Museums.

International fame

The group had travelled to Germany three times before Paul Simon heard the group during a trip to Johannesburg. Despite their trips to Germany, they were still relatively unknown outside South AFrica. With Paul Simons album - Graceland Ladysmith Black Mambazo exploded onto the international music scene. Joseph calls Paul 'Vulindlala' - he who has opened the gate. Two of the greatest hits from that album was Diamonds on the soles of her shoes and Homeless. Since that time the group has toured numerous countries around the globe.

Some awards

Joseph Shabalala and the Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been awarded so many merit awards and international recognitions, but one of their greatest achievements, undoubtably, is the Grammy award presented to them in 1988. Another great moment in their lives took place in June 1997. In recognition of their outstanding international success and immeasurable contribution to the music industry, the Ladysmith/Emnambithi Local Council bestowed the Freedom of the Town upon Joseph Shabalala and his Black Mambazo.

A proud history

They strike one as the most ordinary of boys, chasing rugby balls with seemingly endless energy, building hideouts in the woods and scurrying up trees to plunge into their favourite swimming spots metres below. But when the lads of the Drakensburg Boys' Choir School gather around the piano, rugby fever and the general business of boyhood are forgotten. The sheet music becomes the focal point of their undivided attention and the melodies which form the fabric of their fame are sent drifting through the valley of the majestic Drakensburg. It is here, in the fresh mountain air in the shadow of the Champagne Castle and Cathkin Peak where the boys are brought together from all corners of the country and Namibia by their mutual talent. Here their extraordinary voices are refined to a point where they rival the crystalline clarity of the nearby mountain stream

"The Zulu are a proud nation that treasure their heritage and are conservative, friendly and always hospitable; displaying an unyielding loyalty to the inkosi  (traditional leader). The Zulu language is rich and expressive, very often punctuated with distinctive click sounds. The customary greeting is Sawubona (I see you).

Dancing and singing is very much a part of the lifestyle of the Zulu people, and each dance formation or movement symbolizes an event or happening within the clan. There is the rhythmical dance of the small shield, the fiery motivating body movements of the hunting and war dances."