Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Mogonye community to use their gorge to improve livelihoods

The community of Mogonye is determined to use their gorge to generate income and eradicate poverty from their community. Government recently declared the gorge a heritage site and already there is minor construction going on to build the gate and upcoming camp site.

Because of its abundant underground water supply, the gorge is located where the community used to be based back in the day.

Some of the streams and falls were even used as water slides for recreation. The women also created a laundrette uphill. As one journeys uphill it is very hard to miss the Obetea Tenex tree which the villagers historically used for construction. The gorge also has a few caves which are said to be home to some indigenous animals. There are also trees whose roots were used to treat some mating defects in livestock.

Sophia Walter of Kalahari Conservation Society said her organisation is working tirelessly with the community of Mogonye to turn the site into a successful business.

“The site has great potential and if managed well, especially by the recently formed Kgopu Trust, it can benefit the Mogonye community,” she said.

She believes community members should not be given hand outs but rather be encouraged to come up with innovative and sustainable ways to attract tourists into the project. She believes that putting up visible signage along the busy Boatle road, indicating where the gorge is located, will help attract more visitors. The five kilometre journey up the gorge is doable with a strong 4×4 unless one decides to braves the long walk up the hill. But the village elders insist that visitors should be accompanied by a tour guide who will also spice up the uphill walk with a few tales about the place. Apparently back in 2007 Mrs Gladys Kokorwe got stuck in the mud trying to make her way up the gorge and ever since that bit of the hill has been nicknamed Gammakokorwe. The stories are endless. The elders believe a woman in her early days of pregnancy, on her menstrual periods or one who engaged in sexual intercourse the previous night is not welcome at the gorge.

“In 2012 I took one lady up and she didn’t tell me she was on her first trimester. As we were going up the hill trees just grew in front us and rapidly closed the path ahead of us,” said one of the tour guides. “The ancestors were showing us that she was not welcome.”

Kgosi Isaiah Bose of Mogonye village is optimistic that with KCS on board the project will be a huge success.

He wants the project to attract tourists from near and far, which will bring developments to his community.

“This is a blessing and heritage from our forefathers. We only have to ensure that the gorge is preserved and used wisely as a tourist attraction so that we can all say goodbyes to poverty,” said Bose.

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Sunday Standard August 2 – 8

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of August 2 - 8, 2020.