n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - The role of tribal authorities in rural tourism development in South Africa : the case of the Kingdom of the Rain Queen

Supplement 2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The strategic objectives of South Africa's government in getting the most impoverished rural areas in the country out from underdevelopment are: infrastructure development, poverty alleviation and job creation. In the national policy framework, tourism is singled out as the most effective tool for achieving pro-poor rural development through community-based tourism. A successful implementation of pro-poor tourism development at the local level requires an inclusive approach and developmental governance which depends on effective cooperation between tribal (traditional) authorities and the local government. Likewise, a successful implementation of community-based tourism development depends on active participation of community in all tourism related issues including distribution of benefits. Since the poorest areas in the country are under the rule of tribal authorities, the question this paper attempts to answer is whether community-based rural tourism development can be implemented in areas under tribal chieftaincy. In understanding the role of tribal authority in rural tourism development the focus is on royal villages in the kingdom of Modjadji, the Rain Queen, in the Limpopo province of SouthAfrica. The key findings from in-depth interviews lead to a conclusion that traditional authorities have absolute power in making decisions regarding every aspect of tourism development in the village, in particular employment and share of benefits which emerged as the most contentious issue for the community. This points to an imperative of extending the research agenda on applicability of community-based tourism under tribal chieftaincy for achieving pro-poor developmental objectives of rural tourism development in South Africa.

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