San community project wins prestigious SA award
National Heritage Council recognises !khwa ttu San centre
It has been a long road for the !khwa ttu San Education and Culture Centre outside Cape Town but it has finally received the recognition it deserves - collecting the Golden Shield Heritage Award for outstanding community project from the National Heritage Council.
It would be a significant honour in any year but this was the inaugural year for the awards - underlining just how exceptional the centre is and how important its work is in terms of restoring and displaying San heritage, culutre, folklore, visual arts, cosmology and languages; educating the general public about the world of the San; and providing training to the San in literacy, entrepreneurship, tourism, health issues, community development, craft production/marketing and gender awareness.
The Outstanding Community Project award recognises exceptional achievement for projects funded by the NHC which “….. contribute to changing lives in the communities it targets….[and] contribute towards making such communities aware of their heritage, derive economic benefit for communities, contribute towards poverty alleviation and also empower communities with skills for self-sustenance.”
According to the NHC, the objective of the awards is to “recognise the contribution of individuals, groups, or organisations/academic institutions to preserving our heritage. The award recipients and the projects reflect best practice in promotion, preservation, conservation and/or interpretation of our heritage”.
And there is no doubt that !Khwa ttu - A Celebration of San Culture, Past and Present - is a worthy recipient of the inaugural award.
Jobe Gabototwe, from Kedia, Botswana, received the award on behalf of !khwa ttu at the ceremony. Jobe not only completed the San community-based tourism curriculum at !Khwa ttu in 2011 but has also since been part of the centre’s first San Curators Programme.
He accepted the award with the words “ǃke e: ǀxarra ǁke”, which is the motto on South Africa’s coat of arms and which translates as "diverse people unite" from the language of the ǀXam people who used to roam the lands on which !Khwa ttu is situated.
70 km north-west of Cape Town, !Khwa ttu, which has also received funding from OSISA, offers visitors the unique experience of being introduced to the world of the descendants of the first indigenous people of southern Africa. The San take visitors on a journey into their history, traditional knowledge, skills, languages, customs and current affairs. Indeed, a specially-arranged visit was one of the highlights of the majo OpenForum, which the Open Society Africa Foundations hosted in Cape Town in May.
The centre also offers a restaurant, accommodation and unique San-produced crafts. It really is well worth a visit the next time you are in Cape Town.