South African Cultural Conservation
In South Africa, cultural conservation has many faces.
You may find a tribe who regard a lake or mountain as sacred, and who safeguard it through their beliefs. Or you may find a far-flung little village where religious beliefs have preserved a specific culture for centuries.
Learning about culture conservation in South Africa is a voyage of discovery. In most cases, you get to witness living traditions that have existed side by side for centuries all over South Africa.
Look a little further and you'll find tourism interest or the creation of a World Heritage Site helping to revive old ways. A specific dance that may have been dying out, for example, or a way of creating crafts.
Then there are brand new approaches happening in South Africa's cultural conservation. A tribe with wilderness land may invite tourism operators to build a lodge from which the entire community benefits.
You'll also find new ways of creating crafts. Instead of cutting down trees for carving, you may find a trend towards renewable resources, like reeds woven into bright, trendy shapes.
Cultural conservation in South Africa often takes place in disparate strands, but combine them and you'll uncover a strange and beautiful tapestry.
A visit to these initiatives may seem a small event, but to these communities, it can mean everything: jobs and income, respect for tradition, a reason to revive the old ways, and motivation to carry on conserving.
Some of these initiatives fall under easily accessed tourism routes or accreditation labels. Others are off the beaten track. All offer a unique insight into South African culture.