Makuleke people of South Africa benefit from tourism
Did you know?
The Pafuri area is one of the Kruger National Park's most magical places.
There is a day in 1969 that Livingstone Maluleke can never forget - the day the apartheid government authorities came to forcibly remove the Makuleke people from the Pafuri area in the northern Kruger National Park.
‘There was no prior agreement or arrangement, no time to pack. Our fathers were in Johannesburg or working on the mines. It was only the women and children at home. This was a terrible tragedy in our lives. We lost our identity. We even lost our traditional leader - he was taken away to become a leader under another chief.'
The Makuleke were able to lodge a successful land claim in the Pafuri area after democracy in 1994. And for a time, there were serious challenges. Here was a land claim inside the Kruger National Park, a flagship game reserve. Eventually, through negotiation, a win-win solution took shape. The Makuleke have not moved back onto the land, but have full commercial rights within a conservation context.
Two luxury eco-lodges - Pafuri Camp, operated by Wilderness Safaris, and Outpost Lodge - now stand on their 24000 hectares and from the money first generated, the community was able to electrify 3 villages, build a school, and upgrade 5 others.
Livingstone says: ‘I must say, the community is very happy with what's happened. We can see where we are benefiting.'
Senior ranger and guide Enos Mngomezulu can only agree. ‘Some of the older people wanted to come back, to be a part of the culture of the Makuleke. But now they see they have ownership in a way that offers their children opportunities.
‘It's a story with a happy ending', he says contentedly.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0) 11 807 1800
Makuleke Information and Implementation Office
Tel: +27 (0) 15 853 0063