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Media Release: Senior citizens celebrate Heritage Day in style in Kruger

Date: 25th September 2008

One hundred senior citizens from the surrounding communities of the Kruger National Park (KNP) joined hands with 100 youths from those communities on Wednesday, 24 September to celebrate National Heritage Day at the Skukuza Soccer Stadium.


Senior citizen Ms Maria Kgobela
from Phalaborwa spent Heritage
Day in the Kruger with Vuyisile
Manzini from Mkhuhlu, while Dr
Bandile Mkhize, the park’s
managing executive
looks on

One hundred senior citizens from the surrounding communities of the Kruger National Park (KNP) joined hands with 100 youths from those communities on Wednesday, 24 September to celebrate National Heritage Day at the Skukuza Soccer Stadium.

“As Heritage Day falls conveniently within our SANParks Week, we again take the opportunity to reach out to our neighbouring communities so that they not only understand but appreciate our beautiful cultural and natural heritage assets,” said Ms Helen Mmethi, the KNP’s HOD for People and Conservation.

A true feast of African culture, the day included traditional food - everything from “potjiekos” to “morogo”, traditional dance groups and a display of the traditional instruments used by the different cultural groups that surround the park.

“As the theme for National Heritage Day is ‘Dance our Culture our Heritage’, we feel that by seeing these traditional instruments, eating this traditional food and watching these traditional dance groups, our youth can keep touch with their cultural heritage,” Ms Mmethi added.


Kurula Mabuza from Mhkuhlu
had the opportunity to learn more
about her cultural heritage from
senior citizen Maria Mohaule f
rom Hazyview

Each young person that attended the day “adopted” a senior citizen for the day, which is the third event in the KNP’s 2008 SANParks Week Calendar.

“Hopefully those young people will learn about their culture from the senior citizens, which is how we believe indigenous knowledge of conservation matters was passed on from generation to generation through the ages,” Ms Mmethi concluded.

The keynote address for the day was delivered by Mr Dowelani Mabogo from the Limpopo Department for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism who spoke about the link between indigenous knowledge and conservation.

The KNP’s People and Conservation Department communicates with the local communities surrounding the park via seven community forums, which are scattered around the park. This stakeholder engagement policy is a key focus point for South African National Parks (SANParks) and is also practiced in the communities surrounding the other 22 national parks.

SANParks Week has been celebrated every year since 2006 and sees various events, functions and special offers aimed at encouraging the neighbouring communities to not only visit the park but also to understand the principles and ideals of conservation.

“We try and include everyone in our celebrations during SANParks week here in Kruger,” commented the KNP head of public relations, Mr William Mabasa, “and in the past events have included the opening of key tourism facilities, the celebration of Heritage Day and other events.”

The KNP is just under two million hectares in size, it attracts in the region of 1,3-million tourists every year and hosts around 500 bird species, almost 150 mammal species, almost 340 tree species and is world renowned as a beacon of conservation as it hosts many fact finding delegations from all over the world.

Issued by:
Raymond Travers, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park, tel: 013 735 4116, cell: 082 908 2677 or e-mail: raymondt@sanparks.org

Enquiries:
William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communication, Kruger National Park, tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or email: williamm@sanparks.org

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