Huts by Mark Steven Moot – The Vanishing Rural Traditions and Vernacular Architecture found in the 1980’s Southern Africa

Mark Smoot, professional Landscape architect and passionate photographer from California, took a job in South Africa in 1982 at the height of Apartheid. Fascinated to learn about this new world, he began taking road trips, exploring dusty roads and remote villages with his Nikon on the car seat beside him.

Mark’s focus soon became the self-built, rural homes of the indigineous peoples that he found to be meticulously maintained, decorated with loving care and fitting in complete harmony with their surroundings.

The resulting portfolio of 577 full-colour photographs, taken over seven years and poignantly capturing a time and cultures that no longer exist, remained boxed away for decades as Mark continued to travel and work around the world.

Finally, while locked down during the global covid-19 pandemic, Mark took out the photographs and put them together with 26 sketch illustrations, construction methods, tribal histories and his memories of adventures into this 303 page volume.

Mark’s work provides a rare insight into the lives (at that time) of indigenous peoples from 14 tribal groups of 6 different countries and the complex historical forces that impacted their traditions and vernacular architecture.

This book is my expression of gratitude and tribute to all those amazing people, mostly women, who allowed me to enter their wonderful homes with my camera.

Mark Smoot

‘A house is made with walls and beams. A home is made with love and dreams.’

 – Unknown 


This photo documentation has been created to display the unique, and quickly disappearing, shelter-building heritage of indigenous southern African societies. It has taken nearly forty years to bring the project to fruition but I am happy with the end result.

Aiming to show the world the immense creativity that I was fortunate to have discovered all those years ago, I have compiled everything into one book, sectioning it in a way that gives a thorough understanding of the people from various regions and countries of southern Africa, their tribal histories and their struggles. I then added my personal memories of adventures while exploring each region.


This is a one of a kind book that can specially be order through Porcupinepress.


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