We once again realized the value of having a great team of committed staff. On Friday 21 August the back part of our Cultural Heritage centre and the adjacent Nandoni guest room went up in flames. It was caused by a fire in one of the refuse containers which we did not pick up fast enough. We are very grateful for our competent staff and guests who had rescued all the information panels and art works in time.
Fortunately the front, gallery-part of the building was not damaged which allows our Venda Tsonga CraftArt exhibition to continue undisturbed. Rebuilding will start immediately so the Heritage centre will be operational by November again.
The fire reminded all of us how important the preservation of the cultural assets of peoples really are – Madi a Thavha offers one of a handful of places in the province and the country where visitors can get the colourful history of the peoples and events that formed the Northern frontiers of our country to what it is today.
Red Shoe workshop with staff members
The development and growth of our staff is perhaps the most important aspect of our vision for Madi a Thavha as a sustainable touristic destination in the Soutpansberg Mountains of Limpopo.
Seven of our staff members recently took part in a weeklong Red Shoe workshop at the lodge done with well known teacher and fiber artist Sally Scott.“I taught the Red Shoe workshop to a variety of different groups around South Africa. The intention is to empower and support women. Based on the Hans Christian Anderson story of The Red Shoes, the workshop allows the participants to find and tell their own stories in a unique and innovative way. It helps them to believe in themselves and gives them hope for a brighter future,” explains Sally. Participants make their own, unique pair of shoes during this workshop.
“I have been working as a fibre artist for over twenty years. My work is known for reflecting a strong African influence which gives it a warm and earthy character. In most of my work I use a wide variety of materials and ‘found’ objects,” she says. Madi a Thavha’s participants were really impressed: “The Red Shoes workshop was about the facilitators telling us their life stories and then after that we tell them our life stories by starting to make a pair of shoes of our journey up to here. I have chosen black and white that resemble the journey in my life. The facilitators were very good, such people I never met in my life before. “
“I have a particular affection for the province of Limpopo, an area of South Africa bursting at the seams with its rich cultural heritage. It is one of the few places in the country where one still has the privilege of meeting local artists and crafters in their home villages, surrounded by their amazing hand crafts. In a world where the authentic is fast becoming something of the past, this area still has small pockets of authenticity, where mass consumerism hasn’t completely obliterated traditional craft art”
Other exciting growth options for our staff
- The 17 year old Sindiso Rebulanyana joined us at Madi a Thavha in April this year. Sindiso’s dream is to become a chef. He now works at Madi a Thavha enjoying to work in the kitchen, being a waiter and to socialize with guests. We hope that he can find a suitable chef’s training course where he can start in January next year.We help Sindiso to attend a career day in Johannesburg soon. All tourism and hospitality educational institutions will present themselves on the 3th of September to inform high school learners about career opportunities. His trip to Joburg is sponsored by the local Sumbandila scholarship trust, plus donations from our Dutch guests and Madi a Thavha mountain lodge. We will take Sindiso to Joburg for 2 days, to experience city life and to attend this career day.
- Linah Tshisevhe is our new trainee for one year. She finished her theoretical course for a diploma in Travel and Tourism in Polokwane and now has to experience all aspects of a tourism business at a workplace. We are happy that we could offer her this opportunity at Madi a Thavha. It will take her another year to get her diploma.
- One of our chefs, Lufuno Ramapundu is selected as one of 20 Limpopo students of the National Youth Chefs training programme, a 2 year diploma course in professional cooking. Lufuno continues to work at Madi a Thavha while doing theoretical classes at a college in Sibasa, once a week. She started the training programme this month and already got a full chefs outfit, a set of professional knives and a thick file with all the learning materials.