'Lodge-ical' thinking and development communication : !Xaus Lodge as a public-private community partnership in tourism.
This thesis explores the interface between community development via tourism and the field of development communication vis-à-vis a case study of the community-owned and privatelyoperated !Xaus Lodge in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The research is informed by Critical Indigenous Qualitative Research that employs interpretive research practices that aim to be ethical, transformative, participatory and committed to dialogue. The study valorises the voices of all lodge stakeholders analysing their expectations and how they negotiate the processes involved in the establishment and operations of the lodge. As a longitudinal study from 2006 until 2011 it focuses on the processes involved in transforming a failed poverty alleviation-built tourism asset into a commercial product with a range of benefits for the community partners. The processes involved are studied and shaped via participatory action research. This thesis generates a generalised public-private-community lodge partnership development communication model based on the findings of the !Xaus Lodge case study. The analysis of !Xaus Lodge is guided by development communication principles and practice such as the Communication for Participatory Development (CFPD) model, as well as the notion of pro-poor tourism (PPT). The applicability of these policies, approaches and models is problematised highlighting the complexity of development on the ground, particularly with indigenous and local communities. This study sets out the importance of cultural relativity in development projects whereby possible differences in the stakeholders‟ history, epistemology and ontology should be taken into consideration if a project is to negotiate both the demands of commercial viability as well as the symbolic and spiritual needs of the community partners.
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