Early South African History
About This Project

(National Cultural History Museum, Pretoria)


These unusual copper objects date to the last 250 years and are unique to the Northern Province. Musuku were owned by important Venda chiefs and a few specialist metal workers. Made from a mould in the ground, they stand from 10 to 20cm tall, and most are filled with sand. They usually have 3 to 4 rows with 5 to 10 studs each. Solid Musuku may have been trade ingots, but the others served ceremonial functions. These puzzling objects may have represented the euphorbia cactus planted on important graves.