Traditional Leadership and UKZN Partner in Cultural Tourism
An innovative approach to tourism in KwaZulu-Natal will see the combination of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and place-based cultural tourism by capitalising on the destination’s history, heritage, stories, people, landscape, and local ways of knowing and value systems.
Spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST)/National Research Foundation (NRF) Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) at UKZN, the initiative has mobilised the active participation of the provincial traditional leadership, the Amakhosi.
The Director of the DST-NRF Centre in IKS at UKZN, Professor Hassan Kaya, explained that place-based tourism was about the experience of the place. ‘It’s about discovering what makes a destination distinctive, authentic and memorable.’
Kaya said the value proposition of IKS and place-based cultural tourism was ‘an attempt to rescue the local communities and their cultures, urban or rural, from the unattractive and homogenised sameness which has little appeal to tourists or residents.
‘It identifies, and then capitalises on the unique cultural character and sense of place that distinguishes one place from another. In this sense, place-based cultural tourism also becomes a developmental strategy in which local communities are able to sustain, preserve, and steward the cultural assets and associated knowledge systems they most value for sustainable livelihood and cultural identity.
The combination of IKS and cultural tourism will constitute an extremely potent economic engine for the provincial tourism industry. ‘The Tourism industry then interprets and markets the destination’s cultural character and sense of place in tandem with its cultural experiences,’ he said.
Kaya emphasised the benefits for the community, including capacity building. ‘Unlocking the economic potential of the provincial IKS part of its cultural tourism will contribute greatly to the stimulation and growth of the provincial tourism industry.’
The initiative, which hinges on participation of provincial traditional leadership, has secured buy-in and ownership from the Indunas and Amakhosi. ‘The Amakhosi and Indunas will help identify community recorders and provide the community’s historical, cultural knowledge as custodians.’ The Amakhosi and other provincial stakeholders, from both the private and public sectors, met on May 17 at the Westville campus to give the initiative their blessing.
Kaya cited examples of place-based cultural tourism including Amanzimtoti, Thoyano under inkosi Hlengwa where King Shaka drank water and said ‘amazinimtoti’ (nice water). ‘There is also Shaka’s kraal (isivivane), the historical UCC church, and the Hlankakazi mountain where Isiah Shembe started the Nazareth church.’