WTM Africa is coming up in April and with it comes a chance to network with various people in the tourism industry and to do a few press trips to discover some very interesting places. On Tuesday, I tagged along on a press trip to Khwa ttu, located on the R27 on the West Coast Way’s Culture Route.
Khwa ttu’s tagline is: San Spirit Shared and the project is dedicated to a San culture and education centre. It is run by a Non-Profit Company, jointly directed by the Swiss Ubuntu Foundation and San community, represented by WIMSA (Working Group for Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa).
Khwa ttu celebrates San culture, present and past, for a better future, by:
Khwa ttu: Building a bridge between past and present
We arrived a little bit after 10 am and were welcomed by their staff, who would, over the course of the day, impress me with their knowledge and passion. After coffee and muffins, we were introduced to the centre by Bianca – she talked us through the history of Khwa ttu, their educational program, activities on offer and the future of the project.
Did you know?
The land that Khwa ttu currently occupies used to be a farm? If you look closely at the land you can still see the signs of farm life. It may take decades for the land to return to its natural state.
Khwa ttu runs yearly training programs for young members of the various San tribes. Khwa ttu educates and skills up to 30 San annually, benefitting some 150 dependents from remote communities in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
The entry-level course focuses on improving students’ cultural, heritage, nature and environmental education, builds life skills and provides work exposure. The course prepares San youth to make decisions about their future and walk the path of their choice – be it further study, entering the workplace or starting their own business.
Khwa ttu is committed to the conservation of biodiversity and a sustainable environment, by reducing carbon emission & costs, and promoting healthy biodiversity & ecosystem processes.
The San Heritage Centre Khwa ttu
Fondly known as the ‘Dream Museum’ by those working on it, the San Heritage Centre is the world’s first heritage centre of the San people, and will be composed of five distinct areas, each exploring an aspect of the life, culture and history of the San. They are currently completing the final building of the San Heritage Centre and we got to see the roof going on! I cannot wait to visit again to view the completed San Heritage Centre.
Now for some fun
After the tour of the San Heritage Centre, we were divided into three groups, given and map and sent on a quest. You know the saying: learn through play? Well, we all had lots of fun with this San inspired treasure hunt. Our first activity was to pop a balloon with a San bow and arrow. Which was hard. Very hard. I couldn’t do it. Other activities included finding special plants, figuring out how to spell a San word, finding hidden San objects and more.
But my favourite was the story challenge. We arrived at Donika’s hut and we sat around. The challenge was that Donika would tell us a story in a San language, using a prop and actions and we would have to write down what we thought the story was.
Donika’s story went like this: If a San man is interested in a woman, he takes a very small bow and arrow (about the size of an A5 book, so really small), aim it at her bum and shoot her, like cupid! If she is not interested she will break the arrow in half, and throw it on the ground, but if she is interested she will hold the arrow to her heart.
I asked Donika if her husband did this to her and she said yes! I asked a few of the male tour guides and they had also asked their wives to marry them this way. Tradition is alive and well and this makes me so happy. What a romantic way to let someone know you love them.
We were treated to lunch and afterwards were driven up to the top of Khwa ttu in a tractor, where the views of the land are just breathtaking. It is here that you can relax with a drink and watch the sunset in peace and quiet.
Activities on offer at Khwa ttu
- A Restaurant which is open for breakfast and lunch
- Accommodation consisting of a Bush House, Bush Camp and Guest House
- San Guided Tours where you can enjoy fascinating insights into the culture, heritage, knowledge, skills and contemporary life of the San.
- Cycling at Khwa ttu: the mountain bike trails on the Cape West Coast offers variety, fun, relaxation and spectacular views, at a great family venue perfect for weekend getaways.
- Khwa ttu’s walking trails are a lovely way to view game, explore the unique plants of the area
- Gallery and shop offering art, crafts, photography, books and innovative merchandise related to the San. They make for unique gifts and your purchase will support San artists from all over Southern Africa.
- Khwa ttu run a wonderful Kids Fun Program every school holiday. Follow them on Facebook to keep up to date with their events.
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