The young, the elderly and the visitors
Ouma Magriet and Oupa Abraham Malgas' original plan to visit their grandchild Linkie developed into a truly unique experience for all people at !Khwa ttu. Both visitors and team members took an instant liking to the ‡Khomani elders when they arrived at !Khwa ttu in late October 2008. Drawn by their warmth, humour and wealth of traditional knowledge ouma and oupa were constantly surrounded by young and old attentively listening to and deeply caring for them. Read more
Ouma Magriet and Oupa Abraham, both in their 70s, took great pleasure in sharing stories of their personal lives and in recalling events of the ‡Khomani's history. More than once the visitors' attention was immediately captivated when Oupa Abraham would begin his anecdotes with "I used bow and arrow, went hunting to feed my parents ...". Others had the opportunity to hear about his days "when I worked in the Park", referring to the now Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the southern Kalahari, where he looked "after the waterholes and the animals". The excitement at the replica traditional village grew even further when both ouma and oupa transmitted their vast knowledge about plants to the !Khwa ttu guests. Unfortunately oupa's loss of his sight prevented him from demonstrating the use of traditional hunting equipment, but ouma Magriet's dexterous skills of producing jewellery from ostrich eggshell beads were fascinating. The visitors as well as the !Khwa ttu guides, who accompanied ouma and oupa to the village, felt privileged to observe their skills and listen to the ‡Khomani elders.
Special memories were also taken away by the !Khwa ttu children and youth after having listened to ouma Magriet and oupa Abraham's traditional stories. Oupa's animated way of telling these stories and letting the animal characters come alive brought fun and laughter but also serious thoughts into their midst. Not all the tales carried messages but the ones that did, made the youth contemplate them for quite a while.
Shortly before Christmas ouma Magriet and oupa Abraham returned to their home in Welkom in the southern Kalahari. They were glad that people at !Khwa ttu had been keen to learn from them. However, ouma Margriet still felt "very bad for our grandchildren because now we are old and anytime we can die while the kids don't know anything about hunting and the plants." Maybe they will be given an opportunity to continue their sharing of knowledge at other places nearer to their home.