UMthayi Marula Festival is a traditional African celebration of the harvesting of the Marula fruit in the Kwa-Ngwanase district, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.
The Marula Season begins each year in mid-February and continues until May, bringing with it a celebration of the harvest of the Marula fruit. Once the green fruits fall to the ground, women and children gather and store them until they ripen to a creamy yellow colour. The fruits are then placed into water, sugar is added and it is fermented, and distilled into a beer. This beverage mixture is called Buganu, or Marula Beer.
This is a unique celebration of culture, heritage and trans-border relations since it is attended by people from neighbouring Mozambique and Swaziland. The main feature of the festival is the unique practice of the Tembe people, in which they bring gourds of Marula Beer to the King and Queen Mother who, according to custom, must be the ﬁrst to partake of the brew before the community can join in the festivities.
• Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, KwaZulu-Natal
• Christie Keulder