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Little Seaside Jewel – The Gerald Stoffberg Saldanha Bay Cultural Village

The Gerald Stoffberg Saldanha Bay Cultural Village is more than a mere collection of fisherman’s houses, their graves and display of ancient artefacts. It is a living Museum; a link that unites the past with the present. Situated approximately 140 km outside of Cape Town, along the R27, in picturesque little seaside town of Saldanha Bay, this Museum speaks to the history of a wholehearted people who once lived in perfect harmony with the sea.

 

For many years the history, culture and voices of the earliest inhabitants of the town and surrounding district were sadly muted and pushed to the periphery. But the seeds of cultural light contained within those oral and written histories were never buried and forgotten and continued to live on in the hearts of those still fortunate enough to remember a time when community meant belonging and belonging meant “us”. Many of these stories have been recorded and are currently showcased in the Museum at the Cultural Village.

There’s a very old adage which reads “one honours the departed by living what they have taught”, nowhere is this truer than at the Gerald Stoffberg Saldanha Bay Cultural Village, where a committee of representatives are seeking to return community traditions such as Heritage Day Celebrations, Christmas Carols by Candle Light, Monday Seafood Evenings and so much more, all in the hopes of returning a restored sense of belonging and community.

 

The Cultural, Heritage, Art and Eco Tourism Village seeks to create a living tourist, community driven organism. One which will encourage visitors to understand, enjoy and embrace the jewels this small little seaside town has always had to offer.

 

The envisioned development of the Cultural Village will further boost tourism in the region, resulting in the knock-on effect of creating wealth and opportunity in the communities for both economic and social development. Beyond and above the aforementioned, it has the potential to promote social cohesion, foster the celebration of cultural and ethnic diversity, and instil a restored sense of oneness.

 

Today it stands as a testimony, of what is possible when one believes in a dream, even and most especially when others are not able to believe nor see it. The brainchild of Gerald Richard Stoffberg, a man whom singlehandedly poured time, energy and monetary resources into the establishment of this Cultural Village, it is more than a mere regurgitation of historic and factually correct stories.

 

It is a beacon of hope, to a humble people, at a much needed time, with a simple and deeply powerful message, so eloquently summarised in the words of poet Rupi Kaur, “Remember the body of your community. Breathe in the people who sewed you whole. It is you who become yourself, but those before you are a part of your fabric. Honour your roots”

digital@escapemagazine.co.za

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