Keeping up with the Khumalos, Naidoos and Coetzees

Many people plough a lot of time, energy and money into making their homes outstanding. In a country that proudly brands itself as the Rainbow Nation, it comes as no surprise that the different types of housing styles found in South Africa are as diverse as its people – from the colourful patterns of a rural Ndebele home, to the stark white manor that overlooks the sea in Camps Bay. As the saying goes, “home is where the heart is”, and what lies between four walls is often a reflection of a home owner’s interests, personality, social standing and culture. The following list pays homage to four different types of houses that dot the country’s rural and urban areas.

Bo-Kaap Houses

If you’re ever in Cape Town, affectionately called the Mother City, then a visit to Bo-Kaap would be worth your while. What makes the historic neighborhood uniquely beautiful, are the brightly coloured houses that line its cobbled streets; and the fact that it’s situated on the slopes of Signal Hill only add to its quaintness. These ‘little boxes on the hill side’ are home to many Cape Malayans, and many who visit Bo-Kaap step into the local restaurants to taste their tasty traditional dishes.

Ndebele Houses

White washed walls are the canvases of traditional Ndebele women, and their paint brushes are fashioned out of bundled twigs and feathers. The geometric patterns that that adorn their houses are outlined with rich black paint, and subsequently filled in with colour. One would be wrong to assume that the vibrant patterns are merely used for decoration.  They’re actually expressive symbols that originated in the 18th century when the Ndebele lost against the Boers on the battlefield. The Ndebele painted secret codes to communicate their cultural resistance to the current situation and the continuity of their culture. Today the symbols still stand for self-identity, values, emotions and marriage.

Oceanfront houses

The sprawling estates situated along the Garden Route, have some of the country’s most luxurious homes dotting South Africa’s coastline. These enviable homes are surrounded by very dramatic landscape: rugged cliffs, ancient forests, secluded sandy beaches, mountains, lagoons and cliff crashing waves. But when one steps inside, they are likely to find that the home is decked out with elegant and seamlessly designed home appliances and furniture. Pezula estate in Knysna has plots that sell for as much as R17 million; and it is home to several famous people such as Roger Federer and Graeme Smith.

Traditional Zulu Houses

Although many Zulu people now live in urban areas, a few still live in traditional homes. These are typically built by the men, and fashioned out of mud, grass, cow dung, tree poles, mud bricks and soil from anthills. A Zulu house is composed of several buildings of varying shapes and forms: a round house used for sleeping; a square house used for entertaining guests; and a hut made with grass walls and a grass roof, for the family’s ancestors. Each building has only one door, and all of them face in the same direction.

The arthor of this post writes on various topics including iLasik surgery and cataracts as she specializes in the medical field. Her love for property is something she picked up while doing many different research projects.

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