Educating the youth on Khoi heritage

Natural healer Reagan Appels with members of the South Peninsula Customary Khoi Council, headman Victor Jacobz, chief Stephen (Xoma) Fritz and senior chief Ishmael (Ishsaqua) Sabodien.

Members of the South Peninsula Customary Khoi Council believe the Khoi heritage should be revived by educating the youth on where they come from.

Senior chief Ishmael Sabodien, known by his Khoi name Ishsaqua, meaning one who lives by the sea, said the Western Cape has the most westernised of all the tribes and they have forgotten their heritage.

Mr Sabodien has been given the opportunity by Johann Kikiillus, founder of the Ocean View Care Centre and the New Life Kids Centre, a safe haven for vulnerable children in the community, to educate children on the Khoi heritage and language three times a week at the centre.

Mr Sabodien believes people should be proud to teach their children where they come from.

Khoi chief Stephen Fritz, known as Xoma, meaning son of soil, emphasises this. He was born in Sun Valley and said his ancestors prayed at Peers Cave.

He said as a child his grandparents told him about his heritage and he knew he could not play near Peers Cave as it was sacred ground. Although he is westernised he has never lost sight of his heritage and the Khoi ways.

Peers Cave is known for the 14 12 000-year-old paleolithic skeletons found by Victor Peers and his son, Bertie, in 1927. This included an 11 000-year-old skull, proof of Khoi habitation.

Mr Sabodien, who has a background in environmental teaching, said it is vital to teach the children to respect nature and the many treasures it has to offer.

Classes consist of literature, reading, storytelling, art, folklore and worshipping of multiple religions, sensory exercises as well as workshops, which include teaching the children about the use of medicinal herbs and plants.

Natural healer, Reagan Appels, assists Mr Sabodien during these classes, educating the children about medicinal plants, their use and healing powers.

Mr Kikillus said he was very grateful to have the team on board. He said these days it was rare to see men stand up and help children and he wanted to thank the team for doing just that: standing up and doing what they believe in.

“I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and want to encourage people to visit the far south and the centre to learn more about the culture of the Khoi people,” he said.

For more information about the classes, email