Based on a(n) (interrupted) period of 15 years of fieldwork, this study explores the
question whether cultural villages in South Africa are to be considered an effective
way to conserve a particular cultural heritage in an authentic way. In order to
answer this question, three notions of authenticity are juxtaposed with three types
of cultural villages. The outcomes reveal a nuanced answer that suggests that some
types of cultural villages do contribute to the conservation of an authentic cultural
heritage, but not all. The research also shows how cultural heritage tourism is often
haunted and influenced by old colonial stereotypes and exoticism.