ATC131022: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture on an oversight visit to Khoi and San Cultural Organisations in the Western Cape Province from 19 and 20 June 2012, dated 16 October 2013
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture on an oversight visit to Khoi and San Cultural Organisations in the Western Cape Province from 19 and 20 June 2012, dated 16 October 2013
The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture, having conducted an oversight visit to the !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre in Darling and the Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project in Clanwilliam, Western Cape Province reports as follows:
The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture, inspired by its Constitutional mandate and Rules of Parliament to ensure effective oversight and greater accountability of entities and organisations funded through transfers by the Department of Arts and Culture, embarked on a fact-finding visit of organisations that promote the Culture and Heritage of the Khoi and San people in the Western Cape Province for the period 19 and 20 June 2012.
2. Terms of Reference
The organisations that the Committee visited was the !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre and the Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project. The Committee sought to understand the challenges that the Khoi and San people encountered.
The delegation consisted of:
3.1. Committee members
Ms LN Moss (ANC) - Committee Whip and leader of the delegation
Mr DW Mavunda (ANC)
Mrs TLP Nwamitwa–Shilubane(ANC)
Dr HC van Schalkwyk (DA)
Mr N van den Berg (DA)
Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE)
3.2. Parliamentary Officials
Mr J van der Westhuizen, Acting Committee Secretary
Dr H Baloyi, Committee Researcher
4.1. !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre, Darling, Western Cape Province
Upon arrival, the Committee was welcomed by Mr. Hans Kuhn, President, !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre. He was accompanied by Mr. Michael Dailer, General Manager; Mrs Meriam Asmal, Senior Manager, Arts; Mr. Axel Thoma, Botanist and Mr Ivan Vaalberg, Senior Guide at the Education Centre.
Mr Kuhn explained that their centre was one of four centres that formed the West Coast Fossil Park. Other parks included the Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project, a project at Ratelgat in Vanrhynsdorp.
He informed the Committee that their vision was to be declared a World Heritage Site. The combined project envisaged the creation of jobs. With the help of the Western Cape Provincial Government they would start by declaring the sites as Provincial Heritage Sites. They had also embarked on joint ventures with the Provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
Mr Kuhn indicated that they were also trying to get the European Union on board and that they had proposed a joint venture with the National Department of Arts and Culture. The Department of Arts and Culture had responded positively in this regard and had indicated that they qualified for funding.
He informed the Committee that the Khoi and San people set the stages for the establishment of the project and that they indicated the need for space to work from. The patron of the project who was also the owner of the farm, which comprised 850 hectares, indicated a willingness to assist in this regard.
The project had been running for the last 12 years. The goal with the project was to enable the Khoi and San people to become sustainable and to play a role in their own development. The crux of the project was therefore the empowerment and education of the Khoi and San people.
Mr Kuhn informed the Committee that as part of their programme they were running a youth programme. The aim of this was to educate the youth about biodiversity of their surroundings which they in turn could utilize in their own development.
Mr Ivan Vaalbooi, Senior Guide, took the Committee on a guided tour of the facilities. He started the tour with an exhibition that contained a storyline that depicted the following:
a) Times of abundance : It depicted an era where the Khoi and San forefathers lived free and where there was plenty to live from in nature. Nature was also depicted as a chemist which contained medicines for all types of ailments.
b) Times of dispossession: Where it illustrates the fact that the Khoi and San people had to share the land with others. The hunters took whatever they could and in some instances more than what they needed. They were disposed of their right to the land and eventually became poor landless people.
c) Times of revitalization: Depicted that there was hope and that the Khoi San people could get back some, if not all that they had lost. It also showed that the Khoi and San People could still utilize their knowledge and skills of the past to make a living.
Mr Vaalbooi informed the Committee that the mural was painted by 3 elderly artists that hailed from Angola. He proceeded to take the Committee on an Ethno Botanical Trail. The trails consisted of various fynbos plants and were illustrated by boards which also explained its medicinal properties. He concluded the tour of the Botanical Trail by explaining that all the plants were indigenous to South Africa.
The Committee was then taken on a guided tour of the potters’ gallery by Ms Magdalena Swart. She explained that the gallery used to be a sheep pen and that it had been renovated recently to accommodate their indigenous Khoi and San pottery. Part of the exhibition also contained the mythical story of how the Mantis created the eland, maps of the Kalahari and a touch screen exhibition of Khoi and San people communicating in their mother tongues.
The tour was concluded with a visit to their Education Centre. One of the students gave the Committee an overview of the !Khwa ttu San Community-Based Tourism Training Programme. He explained that the curriculum consisted of classroom-based courses which included the following:
a) San Issues and Life Skills, English and Geography;
b) Fynbos Botany, Environmental Issues and Intellectual Property Rights;
c) Hospitality Training; and
d) Healthy Living and Social Competencies.
The job experiential training consisted of:
a) Basic cooking skills and Food/Beverage Serving Skills;
b) Nature and Cultural Guiding; and
c) Reception Skills.
Mr Kuhn explained that the course stretches over a period of nine months and that to participate in the programme candidates had to submit an application that had to be accompanied by a Curriculum Vita. Candidates came from as far as Angola and Botswana. He pointed out that for that current academic year they had not received any applications from the Kalahari region.
He explained that the most common challenge the trainees experienced was the language barrier as there were different dialects of the spoken Khoi and San Languages. Upon conclusion of the programme they received SETA accreditation in a form of a certificate.
4.2. Clanwilliam Living Landscape Heritage Project
The Committee was welcomed by Prof John Parkington, retired Professor in Archeology, and Mr John Mbulelo Mountain. They informed the Committee that the University of Cape Town’s Archeology Department had been conducting research in the area for the last 15 years. It was rich in old Bushman paintings that dated back 1 million years.
Prof Parkington informed the Committee that the project came to the realization that nothing was ploughed back into the community hence they initiated the project. They did this in two ways namely:
a) To incorporate it in the School curriculum; and
b) Passing it on to the community to enable them to become self sustainable.
He indicated that it was achieved through providing assistance to members of the community to become guides and to manufacture crafts. Prof Parkington explained that during 2000 he wrote a letter to the then President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr Thabo Mbeki, wherein he made a passionate plea for assistance in the establishment of the project. He answered their plea and they received a grant from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The grant enabled them to start off with 20 trainees. They also had a visit from the National Heritage Council which assisted them to train 2000 children through various projects e. g. mapping etc. He informed the Committee that the premises where they were running their operation had been purchased by the University of Cape Town and they allowed the project to continue running from there.
Professor Njabulo Ndebele was the patron of the project and it was managed by the Crocodile Trust. The Trust met twice a year and comprised of five Board members. They were using their archeological skills to create employment. The project was also collaborating with other local and international universities.
He informed the Committee that they were currently generating income through their accommodation facilities, catering, bookshop, crafts and tours. All of the aforementioned was however of a seasonal nature and usually coincided with the Namakwa flower festival. He explained that they planted an indigenous garden that reflected the ethno botanical knowledge of the Khoi and San people. He informed the Committee that the project currently had a staff complement of 10 which comprised the following:
a) Four permanent staff members; and
b) Six temporary staff members
He explained that all of them were from the local community. He indicated that the
Provincial Department of Economic Development was providing them with some form of support.
He proceeded to inform the Committee that they had approached the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund, but were unsuccessful due to the fact that the projects books were not fully audited.
Professor Parkington highlighted their challenges in terms of the project as follows:
· They were battling to turn the project into a reality and needed financial assistance in this regard;
· They also needed help to turn the project into a sustainable source of income; and
· They also needed help to build the time trail and has approached the CATHSETA to assist with funding in this regard.
4.3. Rock painting site
Upon conclusion the Committee was taken on a guided tour. They were accompanied by Mr John Mbulelo Mountain. He explained that the site where the old bushman rock paintings were found belonged to the Clanwilliam Local Municipality. He explained that the trail was called the “Waaihoek Trail”. It was adjacent to the Jan Wessels River. The river flowed right through and joined with the Olifants River. He explained that the area was a heritage area and that legislation was as such that the area was declared a Provincial Heritage Site. He explained that the municipality zoned it on their Industrial Development Plan (IDP) as a Heritage Park. He continued to explain that the rock paintings were between 3500- 4000 years old.
The Committee recommends that the Minister of Arts and Culture should ensure that:
4.1 The Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project drafts a proper business plan that would assist them in the sourcing of funds;
4.2 The Trustees of the Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project should be more representative of the demographics; and
4.3 The Department of Arts and Culture visit the projects so that they could be more on board in terms of funding for the projects.
Report to be considered.
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