Pa­tri­cia Glyn went on an ex­tra­or­di­nary jour­ney with the Bush­men of Kgala­gadi. She tells about it

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After spend­ing a month at base camp on Mount Ever­est, and then walk­ing from Dur­ban to Zam­bia, Pa­tri­cia Glyn felt like a new chal­lenge. In 2011 she be­gan a walk through the Kgala­gadi Trans­fron­tier Park to un­der­stand the Bush­men’s sto­ries; to walk in their foot­steps, lit­er­ally.

But when she met Dawid Kruiper, the Khomani San peo­ple’s tra­di­tional leader, her plans changed and she joined the call­ing to help the “for­got­ten peo­ple” – the Bush­men – re­mem­ber and doc­u­ment their her­itage.

“My in­volve­ment with the Khomani San was pure ac­ci­dent. I was in the com­mu­nity, try­ing to find peo­ple who would walk with me when I met Dawid. He asked if I could change my plans be­cause he knew he was dy­ing,” says Glyn.

The Khomani had won a land­mark claim and 25 000 hectares inside the Kgala­gadi Trans­fron­tier Park had been re­turned to them. More than 20 years ear­lier, their peo­ple had been evicted from this land in huge num­bers. Kruiper told Glyn there were parts of the park he and his chil­dren hadn’t seen in 50 years. His grand­chil­dren had never seen them. He asked Glyn to take them back home.

“I used that dan­ger­ous English word ‘yes’. It turned out to be very ex­pen­sive be­cause I could not find a spon­sor so I re­mort­gaged my house.

“Some­thing inside told me it was ur­gent and, in­deed, Dawid died a year after we fin­ished the trip.”

Glyn took Kruiper and 13 other el­ders to the Kgala­gadi Trans­fron­tier Park. They brought back many pre­cious cul­tural arte­facts that now re­side in the Univer­sity of Cape Town ar­chives. She then wrote her third book, this time about her ex­pe­di­tion with Kruiper, What Dawid Knew, half the prof­its of it will go to a trust for Khomani her­itage preser­va­tion.

She has re­turned many times to in­ter­view the com­mu­nity el­ders in the dry and, at times, treach­er­ous Kala­hari Desert. She wants to doc­u­ment as much her­itage as pos­si­ble.

“It doesn’t take long to re­alise this is, by a long way, the most marginalised com­mu­nity in the coun­try. In 2014 there are still shock­ing lev­els of star­va­tion here. There are ter­ri­ble so­cial ills that have crept in be­cause of the deep pain. They re­ally are the for­got­ten peo­ple: as evil as the ban­tus­tans were, there was some­where to go; for the Bush­men there was nowhere to go.

“When they were evicted, they just melted away into ghet­tos and town­ships and passed them­selves off as coloured be­cause they had been ham­mered from all sides.”

Zam­bian-born Glyn, who was in­volved in broad­cast­ing for 13 years, de­cided to make ad­ven­ture her liv­ing after she spent three months on Mount Ever­est in 2003.

But her in­ter­ac­tion with the Khomani peo­ple has brought her the great­est joy. She says she will do another walk, but isn’t sure when: “I want to fin­ish the her­itage work be­cause this year alone we have lost five el­ders.”

With­out fund­ing, it is dif­fi­cult trav­el­ling and help­ing the com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially when there is more work to be done than there is money to pay for it.

“A few months back I got R200 000 from Se­sego Cares to help with the her­itage work, which will be of great help with some of my ex­penses – just get­ting there is an 11-hour drive.”

Glyn spends time with the com­mu­nity at least once a month be­tween March and Novem­ber, in­ter­view­ing the el­ders, usu­ally with all of them sit­ting un­der a tree.

“They and their sto­ries are so funny. But most of the time I go down to find out how ev­ery­one is, find out who’s sick, who’s lost their ID and can’t get their pen­sion.”

Last time she piled two adults, six chil­dren and a sick dog into her ve­hi­cle and took them all to Uping­ton to sort out what­ever they needed.

She’s been ac­cused nu­mer­ous times of be­ing a “knight on a white charger” try­ing to save the Bush­men, but Glyn says this is not the case be­cause they have taught her so much.

“I am mo­ti­vated partly be­cause I lost my fa­ther when I was young and never got knowl­edge of my an­ces­try from him. What I’ve come to learn is that phi­lan­thropy is ac­tu­ally self­ish be­cause you get back more than you could pos­si­bly give. You get a sense of pur­pose in your life, a huge ful­fil­ment, and you re­alise your life will count for some­thing and that you will leave some­thing be­hind,” says Glyn. in­vig­i­la­tors will en­sure the

in­tegrity of the exams

pa­pers across all sub­jects

KwaZulu-Natal has the most ma­tric pupils North­ern Cape has the fewest ma­tric pupils

A re­port by the Global Cam­paign for Ed­u­ca­tion (2004) as­serts that ed­u­cated peo­ple are health­ier peo­ple.

HIV/Aids in­fec­tion rates are halved among young peo­ple who fin­ish pri­mary school. So if ev­ery child re­ceived a com­plete pri­mary school ed­u­ca­tion, at least 7 mil­lion new cases of HIV could be pre­vented in the course of a decade.

Fight­ing poverty and spurring eco­nomic growth

Ed­u­ca­tion is a pre­req­ui­site for tack­ling poverty and pro­mot­ing short- and long-term eco­nomic growth. No coun­try has achieved con­tin­u­ous and rapid eco­nomic growth with­out at least 40% of adults be­ing able to read and write (GCE, 2010).

At an in­di­vid­ual level, a per­son’s earn­ings in­crease with each ad­di­tional year of school­ing they re­ceive. This is es­pe­cially true for ad­di­tional years of higher ed­u­ca­tion.

So, peo­ple who are ed­u­cated are able to earn more money and support their fam­i­lies, which helps economies to grow faster and poverty rates to de­cline.

A foun­da­tion for build­ing peace

Ed­u­ca­tion is an es­sen­tial build­ing block in the de­vel­op­ment of an in­clu­sive and peace­ful demo­cratic so­ci­ety. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Save the Chil­dren (2009), ev­ery year of school­ing de­creases a male’s chance of en­gag­ing in vi­o­lent con­flict by 20%.

Most im­por­tantly, we want to demon­strate that the legacy of apartheid can no longer con­tinue to be an al­ba­tross around the necks of the poor.

Our man­date as gov­ern­ment is to once and for all im­ple­ment the ral­ly­ing call of the Free­dom Char­ter which pro­claimed boldly that “The doors of learn­ing and cul­ture shall be opened to all”. Some peo­ple may ar­gue that we have had 20 years to do what we are do­ing to­day. The re­al­ity is that 20 years in the life of an in­di­vid­ual is a long time but in a life of a na­tion, it is a very short time. Since the ad­vent of democ­racy in 1994, only one gen­er­a­tion has been pro­duced by our new ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem that was in­tro­duced in 1996.

This year marks a turn­ing point as we fi­nally im­ple­ment the Cur­ricu­lum As­sess­ment Pol­icy State­ments through­out our school­ing sys­tem. Good luck to the ma­tric class of 2014. And, to their moth­ers, fa­thers and guardians, I send a smile of sol­i­dar­ity.

GET­TING TO KNOW YOU Dawid Kruiper, who has since died, helped to trans­form Pa­tri­cia Glyn’s life’s fo­cus

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