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Media Release: SANParks celebrates by Connecting to Society

18 September 2013

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 3 years held this flagship regional event in partnership with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism of the Northern Cape Province (DEDAT). This year the event focused on cultural heritage.

SANParks vision of “Connecting to Society” is the backbone behind this event as this event 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 groups that participated in this year’s event are the Kuboes Nama Youth Choir, The Phatsimang Cultural Group, the Namaqua Garies Trappers, The Namataradi Project, the Kalahari Rooi Duin Manne and the Sendlingsdrift Youth Choir. 

SANParks “partnered” with various local stakeholders, like the Open Africa Richtersveld Tourism Route, The Richtersveld Community Property Association, Richtersveld Mining Company (Alexkor), The DEDAT, Transhex Mining Company, Richtersveld Municipality, Ai-Ais Hot Springs Game Park and Compass Catering Company for this year’s event. The mining Companies are all very active in the community, and often contribute to events like the 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, as 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, saw this event as a wonderful opportunity, to develop true community based Tourism in the Richtersveld area.  

Previously this event was held at Namaqua, Augrabies and Mokala National Park. The communities around /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and the public joined in the festivities as SANParks “Connected to Society”. Apart from the exciting cultural activities, the Richtersveld Area has unmatched natural beauty, and breath-taking landscapes, which make a visit to the area, a must. Don’t miss out on the next event planned for 2014.  

Arid cultural event - participants
Participants from various groups at the Arid Cultural Festival in /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.

Issued by:    
South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications
Tel: 012 426 5065 

Aletta Joseph
SANParks People and Conservation Officer,  /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (RSA side)
Tel: 027 831 1506

Hendrik Prins
SANParks Duty Manager,  /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (RSA side)
Tel: 027 831 1506

Johan de Waal
Open Africa Route, Port Nolloth
Cell: 082 335 1399

Willem Hans
Open Africa Route, Kuboes
Tel: 027 831 2375