A ‡Khomani San Project supported by the TFPD Foundation
Dawid Kruiper, the recently deceased leader of the ǂKhomani San, led his people through a land claim settlement that saw the restoration of a section of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park to his community. In addition, he believed that many of the social ills that plague the ǂKhomani San community today stem from their having lost much of their traditional link with nature. He believed that re-establishing this connection with the land was vital for the survival of their culture and identity.
Dawid Kruiper’s dream was to establish a traditional village as a “Veldskool” (Field School) in their part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. He wanted a place where young people would spend time, learning to live traditionally, mentored by their elders. In addition, it would be a place where the elders could return to live their tradition, away from the negative influences of their current lives.
Realising the Dream – !Gam !Gaub
Now his dream has beeen realized. Members of the ‡Khomani San have collaborated to construct, from natural materials, a traditional village called !Gam !Gaub. Meaning “Renewal of Old Traditions,” it overlooks Twee Indabas Pan, an important site to the Bushmen in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
!Gam !Gaub is where young people will learn to live side by side with nature; to not fear the predators of the Kgalagadi; to hunt traditionally, and to understand the medicinal properties of the plants. They will learn their language, stories, dances and crafting skills from their elders. They will learn to respect and protect nature as their ancestors have done for centuries past.
!Gam !Gaub has been cleared and traditional grass huts built within a thorn bush enclosure. The area will be used for activities such as crafting, dancing and storytelling. A separate living area has also been constructed for the sixteen young ‡Khomani San and their mentors who will live at the village on a permanent rotational basis. Residents will live their culture and craft, and dress traditionally. They will learn tracking skills in the surrounding wilderness.[nggallery id=14]
Extending !Gam !Gaub’s facilities to visiting tourists and students
!Gam !Gaub will also offer educational facilities to tourists and students who wish to learn more about this lifestyle. Visitors will be able to join the ǂKhomani San students at !Gam !Gaub, learning rudimentary skills and experiencing the natural rhythms of this ancient culture. This extension of the Veldskool to people outside the community has many benefits to both groups. While the tourists will provide a source of revenue to !Gam !Gaub by staying there, they will also offer an opportunity for the ǂKhomani San students to practice and deepen their newly learned skills, as they share their knowledge with the visitors.
!Gam !Gaub will offer a variety of visitor interactions, including short morning sessions or overnight visits. Co-ordinated by the ǂKhomani San and Mier-owned !Xaus Lodge, visitors will have the option of being driven to !Gam !Gaub, or participating in a guided hike through the dunes to !Gam !Gaub as part of the !Xaus Lodge experience.
What is required to ensure !Gam !Gaub’s sustainability
The students and mentors who will live at and study at !Gam !Gaub do not have the financial resources to support this facility. An amount of R50,000 per month is needed to cover a daily stipend and logistical back-up for the 16 youngsters and their mentors. This includes vehicle operating costs for the transport of participants, food and water supplies and other basic necessities to support the learning process.
Once-off items will be required to a value of R1,1 million. This includes a radio communication system for emergencies, borehole, solar pump, solar water purification system and storage tank as well as two second-hand 4×4 Bakkies for the transport of people and supplies and to provide back-up support for any emergency situation.
How to contribute
Your contribution is invaluable for the fulfilment of Dawid Kuiper’s dream to retain the culture and identity of the ǂKhomani San and may be made to:
The TFPD Foundation, and it’s role in !Gam !Gaub
The TFPD Foundation has committed to the ǂKhomani San community to assist them to raise the necessary funds to ensure the sustainability of !Gam !Gam. In addition, through !Xaus Lodge, marketing and logistical support will be provided to !Gam !Gaub by TFPD.
If you would like to donate to the project please contact the TFPD Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or on ph +27 (0)21 701 7860.
Banking details are: TFPD Foundation NPC | Bank: ABSA | Account No: 4078230407 | Branch Code: 632005 | Swift Code: ABSAZAJJ | All contributions will be acknowledged and if needed, a Section 18A Tax Certificate will be issued.