Lessons on tribes

* Ishmael Sabodien with the paintings of indigenous animals he has done for the children of Ocean view Care Centre.

While Heritage Day is a special occasion across the country, it has become the life’s work of Chief Ishsaqua, Ishmael Sabodien.

Mr Sabodien, of the South Peninsula Khoi Customary Council, has spent the year teaching children of Khoi descent in Ocean View about their roots and culture.

Heritage Day had been challenging for them in previous years, he said, as there was little information available about their own culture.

Mr Sabodien has brought his indigenous knowledge to the Ocean View Care Centre and from there, teaches the children and community about the ways of their ancestors, the land and its animals.

“There are adults, never mind children, who have never left Ocean View. They have never seen beyond these borders. And so, we want to make sure that the children know the area, its history, its fauna and flora. And we want them to develop a sense of pride in their ancestry, and confidence in who they are and how connected they are to the land they on,” he said.

In the centre of the paintings, is a symbol and the words “Diversity Unity”.

He chose that expression, he said, to illustrate the way forward for the current generation, no matter where they lived or what their ancestry was.

In the weeks preceding Heritage Day, Mr Sabodien painted the containers at the care centre with images of animals of the land, sea and air which have special significance to the Khoi. He is teaching the children about these animals and their symbolism in Khoi history.

On Friday September 28, the children at the care centre greeted the False Bay Echo with a drumming welcome song and sang Happy Birthday to the Echo in the Khoi language and English.