Saartjie Baartman Hankey upliftment
Did you know?
From Saartjie Baartman's grave, you can see the largest sundial in Africa.
Saartjie Baartman has indirectly helped Hankey's upliftment.
The little town of Hankey in the Eastern Cape, a gateway to the Baviaanskloof Mega-reserve, has an unusual link with history: a Khoikhoi woman known as Saartjie Baartman was born here, on the banks of the Gamtoos River.
It was she who left for Europe in 1810 and became the ‘Hottentot Venus' displayed as a racial oddity at various exhibitions in London and Paris, where she died in 1815.
In 2002, her remains were brought back from the Musée de l'Homme in France, and re-interred on top of Vergaderingskop Hill, overlooking her beloved Gamtoos River.
Those who lobbied for her return see it as a victory for humanity against sexism, racism and colonialism. Her grave has been declared a national heritage site.
Gloria Mphahlele is one of those who saw the potential tourism opportunities for Hankey and its township, Weston. She is the tourism information officer for the town, and takes visitors on cultural tours through the town and neighbouring township.
Gloria is using Saartjie Baartman's fame for Hankey's upliftment - and she has initiated a series of poverty relief projects in the town. One is the Siyakhula Project, funded by the Department of Social Development.
This Gamtoos Valley upliftment project offers training and employment in beadwork, pottery and sewing, mainly to men and women over the age of 55.
Another Gamtoos Valley social upliftment initiative is the Hankey Rural Jewellery Project. The 25 people there have been trained to produce indigenous jewellery.
Gloria can also tell you about the sheep-herding Khoekhoe who lived here, the farmers, the missionaries, and the struggle history of the town. Ask her about traditional dances, initiation ceremonies, tavern tours and theatre groups of Hankey.
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Who to contact
Hankey Tourism Information Office
Mobile: +27 (0) 72 891 0222