A Khoisan hut, built at the Galley restaurant on Fish Hoek’s beachfront and which will serve as mini cultural centre, was officially opened at the weekend.
The hut is meant to celebrate the customs of the original people of the Cape. It will also be an information kiosk for tourists.
The opening ceremony on Saturday August 11 followed the International Day of Indigenous People on August 9.
King Khoebaha Calvin Cornelius III was at the opening along with other chiefs, members of the South Peninsula Khoisan Customary Council, Ocean View residents laying claim to the Khoi ancestry as well as residents from Fish Hoek and surrounds.
The festivities included a buffet with seafood soup, Kaapse waterblommetjie bredie, Malay chicken curry and Sago pudding.
Mathea Eichel, a proud Khoi descendent and part owner of the Galley, together with the king, cut the ribbon to the hut, which will also be used to exhibit traditional jewellery made by Khoisan descendants.
Ms Eichel also helped fire starter, Liesl Haasbroek with a symbolic fire-lighting ceremony while a Khoi band from Ocean View played music.
Ms Eichel said that as a cultural icon, the hut did not need specific permission from the City.
The hut is on City property the Eichels maintain as part of their lease agreement.
Ward councillor Felicity Purchase confirmed that. She described the hut as an initiative of the Eichels and confirmed it posed no contravention of any by-laws or policies.
Sharon Brink, an Ocean View resident and member of the South Peninsula Khoi Customary Council who is known as The Rain Princess in the Northern Cape Kalahari, said the hut was “not there as a land grab” but was rather an “information centre” for the many people, both locals and foreign tourists, interested in Khoisan culture.
“To me, this is a new beginning – not just for us – but our children. Putting up this hut and having different groups of Khoi houses celebrating with us made it even better.
Seeing Fish Hoek residents coming together to celebrate with us is a start of unity on another level,” she said. We believe this event made good history.”
Ms Brink said some had challenged the authenticity of the hut, saying it was not a “real” Khoi hut. “But I say anything made and built by Khoi people is Khoi whether or not is looks the same as something hundred or thousands of years ago, it is still a Khoi hut,” she said.
“Just like the clothes we wear today were given to our forefathers to wear, but today when we add our own design and make it, it is ours, it is of the Khoi Khoi,” she said.
KK – JUST waiting for comment from felicity about plans –
RF NWS KHOIHUT
Rf nws khoihut
Cn rf cap khoihut1: King Khoebaha Calvin Cornelius 111 and Mathea Eichel.
Cn rf cap khoihut2: Pastor Kenneth Adonis , Chief Steven Fritz, Mathea Eichel, Reverend Gregg Fick chairman of FINSA and Herbie Eichel.
Cn rf cap khoihut3: Michelle Orris and Shireen Matthews, members of the South Peninsula Khoisan Customary Council who take care of the sales and tourism queries in the Khoi Hut.
PICTURE; EVELYN LYLE