In the Kazungula District of Southern Province lies the rural Mukuni Village. It is just seven kilometres from the world heritage site of Victoria Falls and was founded in the thirteenth century by Bedyango the Leya Tribal Matriach, it was originally called Gundu. However it was renamed in the seventeenth century to Mukuni Village after and in honour of Mukokalya Mukuni N’gombe.
Mukuni Village rural scene
Mukuni Village is sitauted on a dry, sandy knoll and has a population in excess of 7000, it is the main village of the Mukuni Chiefdom. The soil is relatively infertile and they cannot rely on agriculture; therefore they have turned to tourism. Mukuni Village is now a tourist destination, introducing an insight into the Leya people’s cultural inheritance; with a wonderful developing curios market, selling intricate wood carvings, stoneware, jewellery and baskets.
Young boy from Mukuni Village fetching water
There are over 100 villages within the Mukuni Chiefdom, with twelve schools and three health centres at Mukuni, Songwe and Katapazi. 2013 will see the completion of a fourth clinic at Mahalululu. Mukuni high school, funded by The Butterfly Tree, was the first rural high school in the district. We work in partnership with the Mukuni Development Trust, set up to raise funds through businesses and organisations to assist the people.
Seats carved in Mukuni Village and sold at the Mukuni Village curios craft market
For centuries the Leya people in Mukuni Village have lived a peaceful, traditional tribal life but like much of Southern Africa the village has been decimated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Being in a tourist catchment area, close to Livingstone and the Zimbabwian border Mukuni is vulnerable. However Chief Mukuni, along with The Butterfly Tree is working hard to advance the education; which he believes is the key to overcoming the problems caused by this devastating disease.
It is possible to go on a cultural tour of Mukuni Village and see a traditional way of life. We encourage visitors to first contact The Butterfly Tree or visit our projects when looking round the village, so that you can see first hand the difference that has been made at the school, the health centre and within the community.