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Water Quality:

Spiritual Meaning of Water


Apart from its essential biological role for sustaining life, water also has important spiritual, cultural, and religious meaning for indigenous cultures. There are many traditions, rituals, rules and stories connected with water as an essence of life, which (in the form of springs, rivers, lakes and waterfalls) are closely connected with local history and beliefs.

However, many of these traditions are slowly being lost due to cultural modernisation of our societies. There is presently some a debate with respect to how far these traditions can be retained, not only to preserve as a cultural heritage, but also as an instrument of sustainable water resource management. Some examples of areas surrounded by local traditions in the Orange-Senqu River basin include:

  • Maletsunyane Falls, in Lesotho
  • Augrabies Falls, in South Africa
  • Fish River Canyon, in Namibia
  • Kalahari Desert, covering most of Botswana.

For more details turn to the History and Water-Related Culture section in the "People and the River" theme.

Maletsunyane Falls, in Lesotho.
Source:Lesotho Water Commission 2005
( click to enlarge )



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