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Marico Matters: The Rain Tree

" To go back to tradition is the first step forward"

African proverb

This ancient tree in Koffiekraal was already a mature tree in the late 1800s. The elders of this traditional community gathered under the Rain Tree to perform rituals to call the rain. The knowledge of these rituals and incantations was lost, but the belief is that there are still those who exist with sufficient sensitivity to communicate with the ancestors to regain this knowledge.

Under traditional law this species of Acacia tree, known as the Mogotlho, or Camel thorn, is protected and can only be made use of by special permission of the Kgosi (Chief) at certain times of year. This was revealed to us recently on a fascinating village tour.

This versatile tree provides not only shade and firewood, but also nutritious fodder from the mature pods and leaves and a treatment for ear infections, the gum is edible and the bark provides rope as well as a headache remedy. The roasted seeds can be used as a substitute for coffee.

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