My Beautiful Home – Comba Indlu Ngobuciko

Society & Culture | By Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi, Creative Entrepreneur | 03 October 2015
PHOTO: © Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi

In 2014, Amagugu Heritage Trust in partnership with Veronique Attala and John Knight initiated the My Beautiful Home (MBH) hut painting competition in Matobo District. Due to the rapid spread of modernisation into the rural hinterland, the popularity of hut painting among rural communities in Matobo district is in decline rendering hut painting a skill and practice in threat of extinction. The rationale of the competition is thus to revitalise traditional hut painting using natural pigments. 

The competition awards prizes to huts with the most immaculate interior and exterior. Open to two wards in 2014, the competition has in 2015 been expanded to seven wards.

Painted huts exude a warm outlook and brighten the rural landscape, adding value to the overall ambience of local communities as they exist within the broader context of Matobo Hills as a World Heritage Site.  Hut painting is traced back to pre-colonial era and is a skill unique to women. Hut painting is normally done after April when rains have ceased. Images often times depict the local environment with flora and fauna being the major sources of influence. Some homesteads change designs from one year to the other. The competition has strong community participation. 


Adjudication and selection of winning huts is done by villagers working together with their traditional leadership. Through the MBH competition, hut painting is being revitalised and the skill transmitted from older women to their girl children. Amagugu Heritage Trust facilitates guided tours to the painted homesteads.