Celebrating KZN’s diverse culture: The Umthayi Marula Festival

Celebrating KZN’s diverse culture: The Umthayi Marula Festival

Find out why harvesting of the marula fruit is helping the Tembe community share their culture with people from all over Africa.

Amarula Festival
Supplied, Tourism KwaZulu Natal
Tourism KZN
Tourism KZN

The small town of Manguzi, Mhlabuyalingana (uMkhanyakude District), comes alive every year for a colourful festival rich in culture and heritage.

The Umthayi Marula Festival is an annual event that attracts over 30,000 people.

Tourists from all over South Africa, eSwatini, and Mozambique descend on the eMfihlweni Royal Residence every year to celebrate the harvesting of the first marula fruit.

The harvest usually takes place in mid-February.

The days leading up to the main event are filled with lots of excitement, with the carnival-like atmosphere setting the tone for the week-long festivities.

The traditional African celebration has been around for more than 20 years and is credited with being one of the few cultural events that brings people from different communities together.

In keeping with custom, women within the Tembe clan brew marula beer. They then deliver the marula beer to Inkosi Tembe's residence.

Inkosi Tembe is the traditional leader of the clan.

The harvesting of the marula fruit has deep meaning for the community, who proudly display their heritage and culture during the celebrations.

It’s a great way for tourists to learn about the community’s culture and people while learning more about the marula fruit – which has many benefits.

The Umthayi Marula Festival is also good for the local economy. The community are known to welcome visitors with open arms.

Many people who attend the festival stay for a week. Some of the popular accommodation venues include: 

For more KZN Travels articles read below:

  1. Five places to eat along the Inanda Heritage Route
  2. Inside the Battle of Isandlwana – Explore one KZN’s most historic sites
  3. Historic Capture Sight Captures the Imagination
  4. Visiting the Valley of Kings
  5. Interesting facts about Umkhosi WoMhlanga – the famous Zulu Reed Dance

Main image courtesy of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal

Show's Stories