History, identity, representation : public-private-community partnerships and the Batlokoa community.
This dissertation explores how a public-private-community partnership impacts on the operation of a community-owned Lodge. The case study focuses on the Batlokoa community at the Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge establishment, who collaborate with the tourism operating company, Transfrontier Parks Destinations (TFPD), and the National Department of Tourism (NDT). Collaborative partnerships are necessary in developing countries as the community sector often lacks the economic resources necessary for the operation of a successful tourism operation (DEAT 2011). This study is pertinent to the post-apartheid South African context which fosters community initiatives in tourism contexts (DEAT 1996) as it illustrates the possible challenges that are encountered when tourism operating companies, communities and government departments collaborate. The research is informed by Critical Indigenous Qualitative Research (Denzin, Lincoln and Tuhiwai-Smith 2008: 2), an interpretative approach that places emphasis on the indigenous community’s perceptions and interpretations. It aimed to ascertain how the Mountain Lodge establishment featured in the Batlokoa community’s sense of history, group identity and representation. It is necessary to focus on the ‘grassroots’ community perceptions as this study is situated within the field of cultural studies which places precedence of the marginalized aspects of society, in this case, the indigenous Batlokoa community. Moreover, there is a scarcity of texts that focus on the plight of indigenous communities (Hall 1997, Denzin et al. 2008). The findings of this study suggest that the Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge enterprise is viewed by the Batlokoa community as being primarily a place of employment and secondarily a place of heritage.