Kosi Bay is a series of four interlinked lakes in the Maputaland area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

It was Proclaimed as a nature reserve in 1950 and extended in 1984.

The four lakes Makhawulani, Mpungwini, KuNhlange and Amanzamnyama consist of inter-connecting channels which drain via a sandy estuary into the Indian Ocean and they provide a very significant source of food and livelihood for the communities that settled in this region.

The larger Kosi Bay area comprises five different communities living around the lakes and three of the five communities lie adjacent to the three biggest lakes, Trelfall, Hlomula and ENkovukeni (Sunde, 2013).

Kosi Bay is the cultural capital of the ancient Tsonga Tembe kingdom. This is the original and natural home of the Tsonga people and their primitive fish traps that were established centuries ago.

The Tsonga people, who have made this land their home for more than 1000 years, are experts in fish traps and the construction of fishkraal.

Kosi Bay and Maputo Bay can be considered one land-area, traditionally belonging to the Tsonga people with the history of Vatsonga people on the land dating back some 1000 years.

There are roughly about 200 members of Coastal Links South Africa (CLSA) based in Kosi Bay and in adjacent communities. Some form part of the communal trust entrusted to govern the park while most partake in fishing activities using the fish traps and angling to catch fish. CLSA has more than 4 000 members nationally.

Smangaliso Mageba, the current national chairperson of CLSA comes from Kwa Dapha, a community in Kosi bay. KZN communities became part of CLSA in 2010 when the organisation expanded its national footprint in South Africa.

Kosi Bay was also known as Tembeland or Thongaland, but the name fell into disuse in the early 1900s. When Britain colonised South Africa, Kosi Bay was annexed to Natal, while Maputo was annexed to Mozambique. The Vatsonga people lost large tracts of land on St Lucia Bay in 1895 when Britain took the land and restricted the Tsonga people to Kosi Bay only best project management app. Before 1895, the Tsonga people controlled the whole of St Lucia Bay, known today as Greater St Lucia Wetland Park. Today, Kosi Bay continues to be the proud home of the Tsonga people (Wikepidea, 2016).

The Tembe Traditional Authority (led by Chief Israel Tembe, a descendant of the ancient Tembe kingdom) exercises political control over the area.

The lake system has historically been a very significant source of food and livelihood for the communities that settled in this region. Many women from these coastal communities harvest a range of inter-tidal resources such as mussels, chitons, sea cucumbers, sea weed and octopus as well as sandy shore organisms such as ghost and mole crabs whilst men fish for various line fish species.

Marine resources form the material basis of the culture of these communities. They also harvest marine resources for medicine as well as using them in a range of cultural rituals.  In their system of customary tenure, fishing rights are held by individuals but are nested within a community system of common property ownership (Masifundise, 2016).

Along the coastline it is reported that each of the rocky outcrops is owned by a different community and they know exactly who has the right to fish and harvest on which sections of the coastline.   They have a very extensive knowledge of the local resources and marine ecosystems of this coastline as they have interacted with them for centuries.

From the perspective of the local Kosi community, since time immemorial, governance of their lives and their interaction with the lakes and surrounding land has been located within their customary system of governance (Sunde, 2013).


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