Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Community Cultural Identity in Nature - Tourism Gateway Areas: Maun Village, Okavango Delta World Heritage Site, Botswana

Susan Osireditse Keitumetse and Michelle Genevieve Pampiri

This paper focuses on our research in Maun village, near Okavango Delta, a World Heritage Site (OD-WHS), Botswana. We hoped to illuminate the presence and strength of ‘dormant’ community cultural identities, and to learn how they are constituted in cultural values and tied to landscapes that have become re-branded as nature-tourism areas. To unveil these ‘dormant’ cultural values, we conducted ethnographic interviews among the Maun village traditional leaders, Dikgosi (Chiefs), who are cultural custodians of communal heritage, to identify and re-acknowledge cultural and heritage values from communal memory. The aim was to create a balance between the nature tourism identity and the more fluid socio-cultural identities of people. Our results show that Maun village has communal cultural values that can complement the gateway tourism image. This work provides a model for other nature-tourism gateway communities who wish to salvage and safeguard the cultural heritage identities connected to their particular landscapes.
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