Land of legends and myths

Land of legends and myths
May 22 13:25 2018

By Reginald Chapfunga

For the two years that I have been part of Vhembe Carnival, a tourism tour organised by Vhembe District Municipality and Limpopo Tourism of South Africa, I have experienced real Africa and greatly appreciated the importance of preserving culture and the significant role it plays in tourism.

My first date with Vhembe took me to Punda Maria (Kruger National Park), Thulamela Heritage Site, Pafuri Border Post, Mapungubwe World Heritage Site, Pont Drift, Hendrik Verwoed Tunnels and Dzata Monumemts. We travelled across Vhembe District from Thohoyandou, Mutale, Thulamela to Musina.

However, the packed four-day tour didn’t afford me the opportunity to visit the Big Tree. So much had been said about the Big Tree by South African pals on the tour. They spoke so passionately and confidently about Mpesu, an aphrodisiac found at the Big Tree. I really wanted a feel of the aphrodisiac.

On my second tour of Vhembe, I dared that I was not going to leave without going to the Big Tree. My prayers were answered on the second day. When we arrived, I was looking for nothing but the elderly people who were said to be vendors of Mpesu. Surprisingly, there were a few teens selling baobab fruits at the gate. While I was still pondering about how I was going to get the aphrodisiac, my mind drifted away.

I was amazed by the tree that stood before me. The Big Tree is the biggest baobab in the world and it takes about forty grown-ups to encircle it. It is over 3 500 years old, its roots spread five kilometers from the trunk laterally and a cave inside the tree can fit twenty adults.

There are also amazing creatures and scenes that nature has sculpted on the branches, folds of the bark and roots like the map of Africa, the map of South Africa, a chief’s chair, Mandela’s fist and FIFA World Cup among others. Several animals (a baby elephant, hippo, rhino, the head of a horse, several crocodiles, etc.); a whole family (mother, father and two children), set of male and female genitals and much more.

This was an amazing experience, even those who had been to the Big Tree before were still mesmerised by this wonder.

I only realised after we had travelled for over five kilometres on our way back that I had forgotten to ask about the aphrodisiac, Mpesu. Everyone laughed at me but this time I didn’t regret it. The magic of the Big Tree was enough. What a date with nature.

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