This week was national park week, so every day a different activity took place at all of the National Parks along the garden route. Our nearest national park is Tsitsikamma National Park at Storms River. The word “Tsitsikamma” hails from the Khoekhoe language tse-tsesa, meaning “clear”, and gami, meaning “water”.
This week the park is open to the South African public for free in order to build interest and support for their environment. So Cindy, Jennifer and I decided to attend one of the activities and go on the woodcutters journey.
The park is abundant with indigenous trees and has a history for producing oak trees for building wine barrels and shipping all over the world. The United Kingdom used to import the wood from this area to build carriages.
This was a tour organised by Sanparks through the forests to depict the journey that woodcutter made with his wood. We started out at at the Stombolo below.
As we approached the first stop we started to discuss the history of the Stombolo building. An elderly gentlemen then got up to talk about what his family had told him about about the building, it was used as a Forestry office. This started a flow of stories from the elders on the bus, the building was also used as a police station, toll gate and a rest stop until the hotel was built. The gentleman said it is important for us to pass this information onto the younger generation as “all our libraries are dying”.
How true this is, we do not take the time to listen to the stories of our families and previous generations. We are losing cultural history by not passing on information about the area we live and how it was used.
The ancient art of storytelling is accessible to all ages and abilities. No special equipment beyond the imagination and the power of listening and speaking is needed to create artistic images. As a learning tool, storytelling encourages everyone to explore their unique expressiveness and it can heighten a our ability to communicate thoughts and feelings in an articulate, lucid manner. These benefits transcend the art experience to support daily life skills.
In our fast-paced, media-driven world, storytelling can be a nurturing way to remind children that their spoken words are powerful, that listening is important, and that clear communication between people is an art.
We had a wonderful few hours listening to their stories, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them.
Let’t make sure we take some time to hearing about our own history and culture this week and make sure the library information is passed down to the next generation.