“We meet here today, to rededicate ourselves to the cause of Afrika, to establish contact beyond the grave, with the great African heroes and assure them that their struggle was not in vain.” – Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe
In a ceremony held at Karoo park Guesthouse on 7 June 2016, six interns from the Robert Sobukwe Trust Fezile Ntabeni, Mlungisi Magcuntsu, Khanyisle Louw, Khanya Mbaile, Jean Paul Lottering, Kwanele Cona (absent was Cady Abrahams) were awarded tourism certificates by the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA). This after completion of a first aid course and tour guide certification training. In attendance were the various stakeholders who have supported this initiative and have committed further support: Mr Mbulelo Siyo (ECPTA), business skills instructor Mr Lazarus (ECPTA), the Camdeboo municipality represented by Ms Kubashe ,Mr David McNaughton of Karoo Connections and the Robert Sobukwe Trust.
The ECPTA funded the two week tourism course. As part of their training, the ECPTA funded a trip to Cape Town for the trainees to view first- hand the practice of tour guiding at museums and heritage sites. The objective for this training is that these now accredited tour guides form a cooperative to address amongst the youth in Graaff Reinet the creation of job opportunities, skills development and entrepreneurial skills and diversify in the tourism experience of Graaff Reinet cultural and natural environment. The cooperative will be housed at the still under construction Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Museum and Learning Centre in uMasizakhe.
The Camdeboo municipality, office of the Chief Operations Officer Mr Hendricks has provided full support to this initiative and will provide further assistance in registering the cooperative and providing all required support
Mr David McNaughton of Karoo Connections is committed to mentor the tour guides by having them shadow him to learn the practise of tour guiding. Ms Chantell Marais of Go Travel has offered her support.
Five of the interns are also involved in the Sobukwe Trust oral history project, documenting the history of uMasizakhe and Kroonvale. This experience will prove invaluable when interpreting the history of Graaff-Reinet and its surrounds.
The certificated tour guides expressed their eagerness to establish the cooperative and welcome the challenge of starting and maintaining a business.