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28 October 2022
South Africa’s National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund injects millions to support the !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
South Africa’s National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund has made a significant contribution to the development of the !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park. The generous donation of R4.8 million will help preserve the ‡Khomani San and Mier cultural and traditional knowledge while improving their livelihood opportunities and ensuring their active participation in the joint management of the Heritage Park. Additional to this, the Canadian Development Agency is donating a vehicle and R150 000 for the project.
The !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park is co-managed by a Joint Management Board (JMB) comprising ‡Khomani San and Mier community representatives and South African National Parks officials.
The project that will now be funded by South Africa’s National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund will support the following interventions and activities:
An officer will be appointed to oversee the implementation of the JMB’s decisions, and to coordinate the Heritage Park’s management and development programmes;
Training and capacity building will be given to communities to enable them to effectively co-manage the Heritage Park. This will include training in business, administration and IT, as well as GIS training for the community rangers;
Management and development plans will be implemented. These will focus on ecotourism development, income generating opportunities and sustainable livelihoods for community members, cultural regeneration, environmental education, and monitoring and evaluation of sustainable resource use;
An internal communication strategy will be developed to ensure effective verbal and written communication between the JMB and affected communities, who are widely dispersed over a remote and isolated area;
The implementation of the Imbewu Programme, which will ensure the transfer of traditional knowledge from the elders to the youth;
A tourism and cultural plan will be developed to make the area’s rich cultural and natural history, and wealth of information and unique artefacts accessible to the visitor; and
A monitoring and evaluation system, based on cybertracker and GIS, will be developed to assist the community ranger force in the enforcement of their protocol on sustainable use of natural resources.
Sershan Naidoo of the South Africa’s National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund said that the donation was in line with the Fund’s support of arts, culture and national heritage and particularly its support of the protection of indigenous knowledge. The support of this project that will preserve Southern Africa’s cultural and traditional knowledge has been made possible by the participants of South Africa’s National Lottery.
Mr Dawid Kruiper, traditional leader of the ‡Khomani San, speaking on behalf of the ‡Khomani San and Mier communities, said that the donation would go a long way in protecting a traditional lifestyle at a time when modern Africa was encroaching on wilderness areas, while at the same time enabling the communities to benefit from training, capacity building and ecotourism development.
At South African National Parks, Chief Executive Dr David Mabunda said that this was a welcome development that would strengthen the co-management of the Heritage Park and enrich the experience of the tourists visiting Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Mr Werner Myburgh, CEO of Peace Parks Foundation expressed his sincere thanks to the Canadian Development Agency and to the South Africa’s National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund for their generous donation and said: “We are particularly pleased about the National Lottery Trust Fund’s involvement. As the Fund’s first contribution to transfrontier conservation development, it is fitting that it will be used for the communities who represent the first inhabitants of our land, in Africa’s first transfrontier park.”
!Xaus Lodge, a fully catered luxury lodge situated in the Heritage Park, was opened in July 2006