The South African National Parks (SANParks) Honorary Rangers officially handed-over the Phabeni Interpretive Centre to Kruger National Park Management on 16 May 2017 at the Albasini Ruins cultural heritage site.
The centre, which is found at Phabeni Gate, boasts the newly designed display structure as well as the re-fenced Albasini Ruins and the two grave sites; which reveal interesting history of people who stayed and worked in the Phabeni area in the past. The centre is made up of the Albasini Ruins, the grave sites, the thatched hut (rondavel) displaying Albasini data and artefacts, and the new display structure that has been built. It forms part of the historical and cultural sites in the Park open to the public.
“KNP is best known for its rich biodiversity such as animals, plants and vast wilderness, however what many people do not know is that the Park also boasts more than 627 cultural heritage and historical sites and only a few of them, including the Albasini Ruins where we are unveiling the centre today are open to the public”, said the Managing Executive, Glenn Phillips at the event.
Phillips recognized the families of the Nkuna and Mavundla who stayed in the area in the past and have family members who were buried in the Phabeni area. 94 year old Willie Nkuna, one of the living and original family members of the Nkuna clan who stayed at the site and is a KNP retired Ranger – Lance Corporal, was present at the handover. He heard how his family and that of the Mavundla were praised for their contribution to the rich history in the Centre.
“Cultural heritage interpretation has taken the front seat in the 2022 Responsible Tourism Strategy and Phabeni Interpretive Centre is an example of what needs to be done as interpretation has been identified as one of the areas which need improvement in the organization. There is oral history which has been recorded by our People and Conservation Department, and we will continue to engage with people like Willie Nkuna as they hold the Park’s cultural and historical information (good or bad) which needs to be narrated and interpreted, for the benefit of everybody including the future generation.
Phillips also praised the SANParks Honorary Rangers for the role they played in creating the centre as it provides a platform for the celebration of the lives of those unsung heroes whilst revealing interesting history of the area. “Your work as the SANParks Honorary Rangers has not ended and we are still going to approach you for assistance; as there is still a lot of work which needs to be done in terms of building similar structures throughout the Park”, concluded Phillips.