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2013 SANParks Arid Cultural Event
Date: 17th July 2013
South African National Parks (SANParks) initiated SA National Parks Week in 2006. This week (9 -13 September 2013) focuses on free access for South Africans into almost all of the South African National Parks. The Arid region which includes Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Augrabies Falls National Park, Namaqua National Park, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and the Mokala National Park has for the last three years held a flagship regional event, the Arid Cultural Event in partnership with the Dept. of Economic Development and Tourism of the Northern Cape Province (DEDAT), at one of the parks to commemorate this week with its communities. This year the event will be celebrated at the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park with the focus on cultural heritage, on Wednesday, 18 September 2013.
SANParks vision of “Connecting to Society” is the backbone behind this event as this provides an opportunity for the various arid region cultures to showcase their uniqueness but also emphasise their similarities. Via this channel the San people (Bushmen as they prefer) from the Kalahari, the Tswana people from the Mokala community and the Nama people from the Augrabies, Namaqua and Richtersveld communities can convey a message to the public and commemorate their heritage through various cultural activities like traditional singing and dancing, storytelling and amongst others showcasing their traditional products.
The aim of this event is to celebrate the South African Democracy; provide free access to the park; to educate the public on the National Symbols and Orders and their importance with regard to nation building; to popularize the uniqueness of our region’s cultural heritage in a manner to develop a 'sense of ownership'; to reinstall a spirit of respect and understanding for the various forms of indigenous cultural heritage; to build strategic partnerships; to utilize the Heritage Month and SA National Parks Week Celebrations to intensify efforts to create a new moral and national consciousness; to preserve and respect the cultural heritage of the local park communities; to enhance cultural tourism in the region; to develop mutually beneficial programmes between SANParks and local community and to create awareness of the various cultures as living entities.
Previously this event was held at Namaqua, Augrabies and Mokala National Park. The communities around |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and the public are encouraged to attend this event and join in the festivities as SANParks “Connects to Society”.
For the 2013 event, SANParks “partners” with various local stakeholders, like the Open Africa Richtersveld Tourism Route, The Richtersveld Community Property Association, Richtersveld Mining Company (Alexkor), The Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Transhex Mining Company, Richtersveld Municipality, Ai-Ais Hot Springs Game Park and Compass Catering Company. The mining Companies are all very active in the community, and often contribute to events like the upcoming cultural event.
The Open Africa Richtersveld Tourism Route, is a Community based Tourism Forum, and part of the larger Open Africa “family”. Open Africa is developing Tourism Routes throughout Africa, focusing on rural parts, with the aim of creating job opportunities in the Tourism Industry. The Open Africa Richtersveld Route Forum has been working closely with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism for a few years, with the same goal, to develop this unique area, to a tourism destination of choice.
The Compass catering company is a community managed business. Events like this, contribute greatly to the development of sustainable businesses owned and managed by Community members and entrepreneurs.
The Open Africa Richtersveld Tourism Forum, sees this event as a wonderful opportunity, to develop true community based Tourism in the Richtersveld area. Persons interested in a true cultural experience, can contact one of the people from the Route Forum, to assist them with accommodation arrangements.
Accommodation in the various Richtersveld Villages is limited. If there is no more accommodation available in the chalets or other campsites, accommodation will be arranged in the homes of community members, taking part in the programme. This will be a unique opportunity for the tourist, to experience true local hospitality and culture, and for the local entrepreneurs taking part, an opportunity to benefit financially from the developing Tourism Industry.
Apart from the exciting cultural activities on the day of the event, the Richtersveld Area has unmatched natural beauty, and breath-taking landscapes, which makes a visit to the Area, a MUST….
Sendelingsdrift, where the event will be held, is also a point of entry into our spectacular neighbour, Namibia. One can plan the visit to Sendelingsdrift, with a crossing into Namibia, and then staying in the Ai-Ais National Park on the Namibian side, before returning home.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications:
Tel: 012 426 5065
Open Africa Richtersveld Route
Tel: 082 335 1399
Johan de Waal: Open Africa Route - Port Nolloth
Cell: 082 335 1399
Aletta Joseph: SANParks People and Conservation Officer /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (RSA side)
Tel: 027 831 1506
Willem Hans, Open Africa Route, Kuboes
Tel: 027 831 2375
SANParks Duty Manager, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (RSA side)
Tel: 027 831 1506