26 May 2014
Don’t expect the normal guided tour, meal and take-home curios when entering! Khwa ttu, (located on the R27 close to Yzerfontein).
It is right after being warmly greeted by the San guide at the door, that you will begin to understand that !Khwa ttu is not only a tourist destination, but also a cultural and educational facility, established to help the San acquire general life skills and learn more about their rich heritage, culture and language. Through training, the San are empowered to gain skills in entrepreneurship, tourism, health, community development, craft production and marketing in order to provide a tourist destination that is not only managed by the San, but embodies a facility that they can be proud of.
When walking through the timeline at the outdoor exhibition area, the images and quotes from San people paint a picture about their journey. As you are looking at the art and reading these stories, the moment almost turns sacred when you realise that you are audience to the transfer of wisdom through the ages.
PAST: FROM A PROUD HERITAGE TO OPPRESSION AND LIMITED RESOURCES
In similar fashion to the first inhabitants of other parts of the world, the San has an unfortunate history of decline in cultural identity and social rejection, as can be seen by the following quotes of modern day San people.
“Once we were proud hunters and later we were hunted.” Ivan Vaalbooi
From hunting the San as a sport by the Dutch settlers in the Cape in 1652, to ethnic cleansing by the early German settlers in Namibia, the story of survival is riveting.
“The relationship between wife and husband was good in the past. Men brought meat home and women bush food” – Carlos Munawgo
In our modern society where the family unit is often disrupted, child abuse an unfortunate norm and quality time with one another a rare commodity, it is refreshing to learn how wise the San were, when it came to the family unit.
“Children had no social duties besides playing, and leisure was very important to San of all ages. Large amounts of time were spent in conversation, joking, music, and sacred dances. Women had a high status in San society, were greatly respected, and may have been leaders of their own family groups. They made important family and group decisions and claimed ownership of water holes and foraging areas”. (Source: Wikipedia)
“We can live without food for a week, without water we die.” Ivan Vaalbooi