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Ubuntu Christmas: Day 3 - More household chores

2018-12-31 10:50

Vuyi Mpofu

Ubuntu ladies

Ubuntu ladies

Three glamour girls packed their bags in a Nissan X-Trail, taking off their weaves, and nails, to reconnect with their rural roots in a road trip from Jozi down to some villages on the Wild Coast.

Sleeping in a 'rondavel' is quite an experience, which not everyone is cut out for. Perhaps it’s the wonderment of what might reside in the thatching of the roof, or the knowledge that one of the materials used in flooring the hut is cow manure. But, an authentic rondavel has a different type of 'X-factor', which is also appreciated by flies, mosquitoes and other types of flying nuisances. Each morning we were awakened by the sounds of domestic animals and the buzzing of what felt like a million flies seeking refuge from the blistering sun.

READ: Ubuntu Christmas: Day 1 - Jozi to Port St John’s (or round about there)

Without waiting for my list of domestic chores for the day, I woke Charmaine and Songo, and we sneaked off to the beach for a morning swim before the hard labour begun. An hour later, feeling rejuvenated I found myself being dressed in traditional attire complete with Imbola (traditional sunscreen) on my way to collect firewood.

In hindsight, I think my general demeanor is that domestic chores in the village aren’t that challenging, and in the same arrogance vein, I assumed the firewood task would be a walk on the beach.

Ubuntu ladies


Once again I didn’t realize just how much schooling in the area of humility and firewood collection lay ahead of me - and that there would be no use made of a much capable vehicle in our Nissan X-Trail.

Armed with a panga (I was hoping for an axe because I go 'boxercising' thrice a week back home), I confidently followed Princess Malindi down the path towards the firewood collection site. Within 800m of the homestead, she announced we had arrived, much to my disappointment. 

I had imagined a dense forest wherein I would need to chop a path back to relative civilization but alas; the panga would have a different and less enthusiastic purpose. Princes Malindi demonstrated which firewood should and should not be collected off the wooden floor and gave me an explanation on sustainable sourcing of wood as I had suspected villagers had practiced for centuries, but had not yet confirmed.

READ: Ubuntu Christmas Day 2 - Fetching water with a bucket on the head

Our 'Green Economy Guru' Songo explained the implication from an environmental perspective as being methods that would help sustain these communities well into the future. In a nutshell, I could either collect branches off the ground or chop off dead branches from the bushes and trees around me. So much for chopping my way to civilization.

Surprisingly the task was more labour-intensive than I could have imagined and before I knew it, I was once again drenched, but this time, the making of my own bodily cooling function. Whilst I rampaged from site to site looking for dead wood, always ensuring not to stray too far, the Princess focused on one area and produced far more than I thought there was when I first glanced at her chosen area of production.



Having collected what I deemed to be a suitable cluster of wood, I presented myself to the Princess, who smiled politely before disappearing into the thicket and re-emerging with a bundle of firewood to add to my paltry offering. The tutorial on how to tie the bundle was equally hilarious as was how to get the firewood onto my head. Funnily enough, balancing it on my head wasn’t as difficult as had been balancing the bucket of water and I was grateful for the 800m walk back to the homestead.  

Ubuntu ladies

                                                                       Image: Vuyi Mpofu

Turing the corner towards Princess Malindi’s kitchen (a hut separate from her living quarters), there was an announcement to all and sundry to come and see the Jozi-chic-turned-village-makoti’s (bride) arrival. The applause was deafening, even though it was peppered with giggles (read: rolling on the floor in laughter by some elders); as apparently my gait was somewhat pained and unladylike.  

I rose above it like the champ I am and beamed from ear to ear, knowing that I had, at last, made a meaningful contribution to the homestead and that although they laughed, their next cup of tea would be boiled on the firewood I had painstakingly collected.

For more of the Ubuntu Christmas trip, follow Driving in Heels on Instagram here.

Nissan SA, Shell and Huawei were contributors to this adventure.

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