Indigenous Wildlife and Cultural Traditions in the Valley of 1000 Hills

Today I visited the PheZulu Safari Park, a popular tourist attraction in the stunning Valley of 1000 Hills just outside of Durban.  Not only did we interact with snakes and crocodiles, but we also sat in traditional thatched huts while Zulus educated us about their indigenous customs, weaponry, social exchanges, and foods.  We even observed reenactments of traditional Zulu dances and marriage proposals!  It was a great experience to see wildlife, demonstrations, and performances that I never could have viewed elsewhere.

I found it especially interesting to see how the Zulu people valued medicines from traditional herbs and plants such as ginger root.  After all, the debate over traditional vs. modern medicine appears to have strongly intensified as HIV/AIDS patients continue to rise in South Africa.  Despite concerns, some doctors are looking toward the remedies of traditional healers for possible links to find a cure for AIDS.  For more information on the traditional healer vs. modern medicine debate, check out this discussion paper prepared for the Treatment Action Campaign and this Slate article about fighting AIDS in Tanzania.

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