Traditional Living The Vulamehl
The Vulamehlo Local Municipality (KZN 211) forms part of the Ugu District Municipality (DC21). It is located south of the eThekwini municipality and is bordered by Umdoni to the east, Mkhambathini and Richmond to the north and Ubuhlebezwe to the west. The Municipal area is predominantly tribal with common tribal land patterns. There are, however, also a few scattered pockets of privately owned land throughout the Municipal area. The dispersed, low-density settlement pattern, makes the provision of physical and social infrastructure (roads, water, electricity, clinics, schools, and police stations), and the costs of installation, maintaining and operating the infrastructure very high. The Vulamehlo Municipality is one of the localities within the Ugu District that is hardest hit by high unemployment levels, poverty, and negative economic growth rate.
The area contains commercial farms on which sugarcane and timber are cultivated. Small-scale sugar-cane growers tend to cluster around Dududu, Kenterton and Mfume.
Strategies to support agricultural growth include diversifying agricultural production; promoting intensive irrigation schemes; supporting emerging farmers; and assisting in the establishment of community gardens.
The coastal strip forms part of the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, which is a popular domestic tourist destination. Nearby, Scottburgh and Pennington both offer resort facilities, and are affluent in comparison with the underdeveloped rural areas of Vulamehlo.
Tourism development projects include the development of a market for traditional rural arts and crafts, and of ‘traditional rural lifestyle’ cultural tours. A further aim is establish diverse initiatives through four anchor projects at Tshehlope, the Isintu Cultural Village, Ehluhluwe Kwa Tikwalala and community involvement in operating Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve.
A short distance from Dududu, standing sentry over the expansive Umkomaas Valley, is the imposing Execution Rock, a distinctive natural feature shrouded in myth and legend. A climb to the plateau is rewarded with spectacular views into the Umkomaas valley and an opportunity to spare a thought for the Zulu warriors who were said to be despatched from the rock promontory for errant behaviour.
The Ugu District Municipality supports the development of Execution Rock – one of 15 upliftment projects – as a tourism attraction and funding has been allocated to build rondavels to create a fully-fledged craft village.
By 2025 Vulamehlo will be self sustainable and economically viable through agriculture, tourism and the establishment of a vibrant town.
The purpose of the Vulamehlo Municipality is to facilitate and coordinate the provision of sustainable infrastructure and services thereby creating an enabling environment that allows the active involvement of the broader community in order to improve the quality of life of all Vulamehlo residents.