The People of South Africa – My Name is !Xopan

Written by Jacques Marais
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The People of #SouthAfrica
NAME: !Xopan (Elvis)
HOME TOWN: Bokspits
REGION: KGALAGADI
PROVINCE: Northern Cape
LANGUAGE: !Khomani San
WORK: Dune Tracker
“Ek ken hierdie duine soos my hand. Dis mos my strate dié … dis waar ek loop, want dis my plek. Ek is ‘n Kalahari Kind. Ek is ‘n trotse Boesman. Ek is !Xopan”!

It was an icy day when we met !Xopan in the dunes of

Erin Game Ranch

, near #Bokspits on the #RedDuneRoute. Together with the inimitable

Vinkie Van der Westhuizen

, he took us on one of the most authentic #Kgalagadi experiences I’ve had in my life. It was freezing though, and at one stage !Xopan had to borrow my down jacket to keep the biting cold at bay, as he was only in a loincloth to show us how his forefathers would have hunted a hundred or more years ago. His spirit and smile never wavered, though, and that night he regaled us with impossibly tall Kalahari tales as we tucked into traditional #NoordKaap fare around flickering

Khomani San

fires.

And this is exactly what made our

Isuzu South Africa

#Beyondlockdown Expedition so special. !Xopan was just one of the dozens of good-to-the-bone characters we met on our 9000km ‘Long Drive to support SA Tourism’ through all nine provinces of South Africa. ‘Khomani’ means the ‘forgotten people’, but – like the Red Dune Route sand – you will find it impossible to erase them from your memory once you’ve experienced their encyclopedic knowledge of the veldt, or witnessed their rich, yet humble and unfettered, lives.

Please make a point to #playlocal & #staylocal to ensure you support local tourism at grass-roots level, and help change the lives of those thousands of people dependent upon your contribution to the local economy. So, visit Vinkie and !Xopan if ever you get the chance, because this is as close as you will ever get to experience how the Bushman people once roamed the #Kalahari dunes – www.khomanisan.co.za
“The spirit of man is nomad,
his blood bedouin,
and love is the aboriginal tracker
on the faded desert spoor
of his lost self” …
– Laurens van der Post
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