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Eshowe's Museum Village

Phumani Paper-Making project is a community based poverty alleviation project that makes beautiful hand made gifts out of local vegetation as well as sugar cane leaves and recycled paper. Their products are on sale at the Museum Village.


The Museum Village - in the grounds of the picturesque Fort Nongqayi - houses a series of museums covering a wide range of local interest from the early iron age to contemporary Zulu art and craft, from natural history to missionary history and from wars between nations to the battle against the tsetse fly. The three-turreted white fort which houses the Zululand Historical Museum was built in 1883 by the British to house the barefoot Zulu police force (the Nongqayi) whose task it was to protect and enforce British administration following the Anglo-Zulu War.


Also in the grounds is a relocated 19th century corrugated-iron settler's house with a restaurant and tea garden offering excellent food and refreshment in a relaxed atmosphere.


Although the Zululand Historical Museum depicts the history of Zululand from early iron age, its central focus is on the fascinating cross-cultural influences of the past 200 years. Pride of place in the collection goes to the mobile wooden chair made for the ailing King Mpande by the first Norwegian missionary in Zululand, Bishop Hans Schreuder.


In the 1850's King Mpande had great difficulty in walking due to his obesity - caused probably by the disease known as dropsy.


Bishop Schreuder had gained a reputation as a 'doctor' amongst the Zulu converts and was called upon to alleviate the suffering of the king.


Also on display are several rare brass armbands (ingxotha) worn by kings and soldiers, who were decorated for their bravery during the time of Dingane, Mpande and Cetshwayo. These accessories - which were a sign of high status but incredibly uncomfortable to wear - reveal the early craft of Zulu metalwork.


The museum also houses an impressive collection of fine mahogany and teak furniture and memorabilia from the main residences which housed the only White Chief of Zululand, John Dunn, his 49 wives and 117 children. Although Dunn had adopted a Zulu lifestyle and customs, his taste in furnishings reflect a distinct European fondness for comfort.

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