Monday, 31 October 2011

Cultural Tourism lessons in die Bo-Kaap

The Roof top of the Wale Rose Restuarant

 Whether you prefer big cities or small towns, special place are those that you’ve been to a thousand times before, but still manage to find something new each time you go. That place for me is Cape Town. There is always that one place I will discover that is sure to take my breath away. My latest discovery was in the Bo-Kaap this past weekend.
Inside decor

I was invited to join a network group of tour guides and tourism stake holders. The host, Aqeelah Hendricks, had invited me to this networking session because of my interest in cultural tourism.  I am not the one to pass an opportunity to explore and learn so more than 30 minutes after this particular meeting had started I found myself standing at the entrance of the Wale Rose Restaurant where it was all taking place. Although somehow very fancy, the atmosphere at this venue wasn’t discriminatory.

Cultural Tourism talk

Inside I was seated next to Rudolf Rieger CEO of AfricaNI who together with Aqeelah are working on a project that aims to mobilise companies dedicated to working on the South African culture under the Khanizeni project. The project which falls under AfricaNI will focus on Cultural Tourism ventures and promoting the local tourism industry.
My eyes kept wandering while I listened to speakers talking about Cape Malay and KhoiSan cultures. A collection of African art caught my eye and I wondered if the Wale Rose Lifestyle Restaurant as venue was a deliberate choice to host this kind of thing. The landscapes pictures of places surrounding the Mother City from the golden era complemented the colourful heritage of the Bo-Kaap beautifully in my eyes.  Once more, I was opened up to the fact that there is much more to the name coloured than the damning stereotypes that gets associated it with. It reminded me of a similar event I had been to last year this at the same time in Mamre by the KhoiSan chiefs.

Aqeela Hendricks and Tasneem Khan

Even then I was making comparisons of the Khoisan culture and the Balobedu culture at the other part of South Africa. The challenges we face are common, we are all facing fears of our respective heritage facing extinction because of the lack of interest from new generations.

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