The Botswana Society is fine-tuning a three-month diploma in Cultural Heritage Tourism, which it hopes will help young Batswana take ownership of culturally significant sites and issues within their proximity.
The course will enable young people to create, design and market tours, where they will be able to lead local and foreign tourists on heritage sites of their choice.
The Society has also pledged to provide its website (www.botswanabeckons.com) for graduates to market the tour products they have developed.
“We have designed the course, we have the objectives and the learning methodology; this is going to be a hands-on course. The last step is to get the course approved by the Botswana Qualifications Authority,” the Society’s honorary secretary, Fred Morton told The Monitor.
Morton said the course was in line with the Society’s long-held vision of “making Botswana better known to itself and the world,” and was also part of efforts to develop young Batswana into repositories of cultural knowledge in their own right.
“Our thrust is to engage young people to create them as repositories of knowledge for them to be able to interpret their own society and culture to others. “People generally don’t read like they used to and the test is how get information to the society. Before, you could do that by selling a journal, but it is much more effective through cultural heritage tourism which can reach the young, old, educated, uneducated, local and outsiders,” he said.
Morton noted that cultural heritage was generally among the least developed types of tourism in Botswana, as the industry was heavily dependent on wildlife and physical features such as Tsodilo Hills and others. He also said cultural heritage tourism presented an opportunity for Batswana to showcase their own uniqueness and history, a story better told by citizens themselves. “What is under everyone’s nose is the unique experience that is Botswana. Through partnerships, we are trying to develop products that showcase the creative side of Batswana. It’s not only about things of the past; we think of things that are being created now that are unique to Botswana,” he said.
The honorary secretary gave the example of Gaborone which he said boasted many unique features among the capitals of the world, which were not widely known even to its own “old timers.”
These unique features include lack of ethnic neighbourhoods and absence of slums.
He also said Old Naledi was not a slum but a poor settlement, which had been incorporated into the city and was provided with power, water and roads. He added that this is also one of the few capitals built from independence.