Zwifho(Dzomo la Mupo Sacred natural sites)co-ordinator

Vho-Makhadzi Vho-Joyce Netshidzivhe of Thathe sacred Natural forests(Zwifho)

She is the Dzomo la Mupo sacred sites co-coordinator.Members of DLM said she is the one who can lead this role when she was elected in DLM general meeting.The members said that  the programme of Zwifho require an elder Makhadzi who is from Zwifho clan and who is able to write and talk about Zwifho knowledge.

What is Zwifho: Dzomo la Mupo dialogues with knowledgable elders describe Zwifho as follows:

Zwifho are Sacred Natural Sites of natural forests and they are found in Nature inside indigenous forests.Zwifho are also found in lakes(Dzivha) or natural ponds(mativha), natural waterfalls(mahovhohovho and caves(mabako) and all these are sorounded by indigenous forests. Zwifho were created by Ri sa mu di or Nwali (Creator or God) since Tsiko (Creation of the Universe). Zwifho are not human made, or demarcated by human beings like Zwiendeulu (royal graveyards) or game parks. Zwifho means ‘‘to give and be given’’. Zwifho is the root of our life and well-being. There is no written record which can say when those places become Zwifho, and who chose the people or the Clan to be the Custodians of each Zwifho. This has been respected and passed on by generations of our ancestors through our oral tradition, which is older than the written tradition.The zwifho has been respected as such by everyone in our communities. Zwifho is a place where Vhadzimu (ancestors’ spirits) It is where thevhula and u phasa (ancestral ceremonies) are performed in each zwifho by the custodian clan chosen by Ri sa mu di or Nwali (Creator or God). When we do thevhula and u phasa (ancestral ceremonies), we ask for shothodzo u ri shango li lale (harmony and well-being, peace and health for all). Thevhula and u phasa are the same with doing prayer, this is where in zwifho humble ourselves to request shothodzo(harmony).

Makhadzi play a huge role in zwifho and makhadzi is the one responsible for all duties which happen in the zwifho.Zwifho and zwiendelulu (royal graveyards) are not the same. Zwifho and mashubi(ruins) too are not the same.

In Dzomo la Mupo, the knowledge of the protection of sacred natural sites, and indigenous forests is held in the memory of the elders, and in particular the women  ( vhomakhadzi). The elders are experienced in the governance of their ecosystem for maintaining the, ancestral spiritual order, territorial order and the balance of the seasonal cycles which regulate the climate. This knowledge is also trafered to the younger generations orally.Vho-Makhadzi said, I write Luvenda language , I will only need a translator when we use English but the work is not about education qualification, Dzomo la Mupo work needs elders knowledge, not school education certificates.The school people learn from us the elders and then write our knowledge” Vho Makhadzi Vho-Joyce has been there in the beginning of dialogues with elders during the times of the late Chief of Tshidzivhe. Many dialogues which she attended , she played a huge role for the foundation of Dzomo la Mupo. She is now able to lead the ecological mapping processes.Her knwledge on Zwifho is outstanding as she represent DLM in government meetings explaining the importance of zwifho. Watch her and listen to her in this film.(you can link a sacred site voice film)




Dzomo la Mupo(DLM) 2018 theme: The importance of indigenous trees and indigenous forests in this times of climate change threats.

We women!! We moon!! “Seedlings germinate from seed. We pick seeds of the trees and we do not transplant germinating seedlings from the forests.”

This is a program of  planting trees that are indigenous and recuperate knowledge about indigenous trees.

Tree planting groups in all DLM communities have been trained the permaculture and agro ecology skills. Members establish own nursery at home, DLM has developed the home based nursery for knowledge to be transferred to the family and children to learn about the trees.

DLM has 12 000 indigenous trees in the nurseries, ready to be planted this year 2018. Since 2009 DLM has distributed 15 000 to many schools, communities ,Thohoyandou Botanical garden, traditional authorities, Thulamela, Makhado and Mutale municipalities.

Dzomo la mupo is working with the following communities for establishment of indigenous trees nurseries: Tshidzivhe.Vhutanda –Duthuni and Vuvha. In each community there are house hold nurseries.DLM is working with 13 villages and 15 schools for programmes of protection of ecosystem sites,seed and healthy food systems, cultural biodiversity with youths.

The DLM has also developed the ecological territorial cultural maps and traditional ecological calendars which shows the climate and role of indigenous forest in the territory.


  1. To plant trees which are indigenous and recuperate knowledge about indigenous trees in Vhembe District.
  2. To raise awareness about the Vhembe biosphere on role of indigenous forests, rivers wetlands and fountains.


  1. To market the indigenous trees from Tshidzivhe-Thathe, Vhutanda and Vuvha home based nurseries as a strategy to generate income for these rural communities.
  2. To promoted indigenous trees planting in   schools, homesteads and communities’ degraded areas, such as around the rivers, fountains and around wetlands areas.
  3. To assist communities by reviving ecological care knowledge to restore ecosystem in wetlands and reviving ecological life in rivers and fountains by replanting the following plants: midulu(cyperus),mitate(scirpus spaces), milolo,mazhesi, mufhongwe(colocasia esculenta) ).mufhere, midima(fern and moss plant)