The Fort Nongqayi Museum Village

Set in the tree-shaded grounds of the historic Fort Nongqayi, this fascinating cluster of facilities includes the Zululand Historical Museum (in the fort itself), the Mission Chapel Museum, Vukani Zulu Cultural Museum, the Phoenix Prison Art Gallery, KZN Papermakers, Ian Garland Arboretum, Adam’s Outpost Restaurant and Crafts of Africa curio shop. Under construction is an geodesic butterfly house and on the horizon is a brand new building to house an ethnological collection, which will be surrounded by indigenous gardens; one celebrating dyeing, weaving and economic plants, and one dedicated to the vast indigenous knowledge of medicine plants.

Fort Nongqayi itself was the home of the Zululand Native Police or “Nongqayi”, a word indicating that matter will be brought into the light – a very apt name for an effective police force that served the area from 1883 until 1901, and was then revived in 1906 during the Bambatha Uprising. The fort was erected in 1883 by two local men after the original attempt by itinerant builders fell down. The building was used as offices, blacksmith workshop and stables, the men being housed outside the fort in traditional grass huts. The central courtyard was the parade ground.

A visit to the Museum Village requires a couple of hours if you are to take in all the interesting things to see or do, yet a single nominal charge covers all the facilities. Schools tours are especially catered for and teachers are invited to work with the education officers to ensure that their classes get the maximum benefit from the visit. All groups are requested to book beforehand to ensure that we can fit in with the timeframe of the tour itinerary. Please contact us at zhm@umlalazi.org.za or +27(0)35 474 2281 – we look forward to your call