The Galley makes space for cultural centre

At the ribbon cutting, from left, are Chief Eleanor Smith, The Galley co-owners Herbie and Mathea Eichel and First Indigenous Nation of Southern Africa head Dr Gregg Fick.

The Galley restaurant on Fish Hoek Beach, which set up a Khoisan information kiosk in a hut three years, is now home to a larger cultural centre.

The hut at the entrance to the restaurant was launched in August 2018 to inform tourists about the customs of the indigenous people of the region.

The Galley co-owner Mathea Eichel said members of the First Indigenous Nation of Southern Africa (FINSA) had since asked her to make a space available for people of Khoisan descent to meet, learn about their culture and celebrate their heritage.

The loss of tourists due to Covid-19 meant there was space to accommodate the False Bay Khoisan Cultural Centre, she said.

“This will enable people of Khoisan descent to learn more about their heritage and will give them a place to practise religious ceremonies as well as educate people about the Khoisan,” she said.

The centre was officially opened on Friday March 19 and was attended by members of the community along with members of Khoisan descent and members of Finsa.

First Indigenous Nation of Southern Africa head Dr Gregg Fick welcoming visitors to the centre.

“The opening was glorious, and what better place to have the centre than at the beach where the original Khoisan people lived and roamed?“ she said.

FINSA head Dr Gregg Fick, The Galley co-owner Mathea Eichel, chief Rushwain Davids February, actress and motivational speaker Jolene Martin, linguist Bradley Van Sitter and performing artist Charl “Bliksemstraal”.’

Finsa head Dr Gregg Fick said they had met at The Galley for many years. The Galley had an important place in the history of the first indigenous people as it was at the beach where the indigenous people had held fire festivals, danced and sang and stood in a circle to symbolise their culture, watched the whales and roamed the beach.

He said Finsa was grateful to Ms Eichel for giving them this opportunity and for allowing visitors from all over the world to learn about the Khoisan heritage and history.

A spiritual ceremony on the beach led by linguist Bradley van Sitter.
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