22 Feb

Matriarch of the House of the People, ǂXuu N//nǂe, celebrates her 83rd birthday

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Fondly referred to as Ouma, ǂXuu Katrina Esau celebrated a landmark birthday on 4 February. Not only was this her 83rd birthday but it was also her first as the Matriarch of the N//nǂe – the bushmen of the Kalahari. Her formal birthday celebrations took place at the TVET College in Upington on 13 February with a sumptuous gala dinner (which was cooked and served by the local community) and included traditional story telling through dance as well as speeches by friends of the Royal House.


Speakers at the gala dinner included the Kaptien of the Nama, Kaptien Witbooi, who mentioned that ǂXuu Katrina is the Matriarch of the First People of South Africa and unity around a common purpose – the economic upliftment of the Khoi and San peoples – is of paramount importance. 


Caban Group CEO, Dave Romero, expressed his gratitude to the ǂXuu N//nǂe for her leadership in the establishment of the Royal House and her tireless work to save what is possibly the oldest spoken language in the world, ǂNuu. He also outlined the importance of the launch of Mgcawu Holdings (of which the Royal House is the biggest shareholder). Beyond unlocking the natural resources of the Khoi-San peoples, Mgcawu Holdings will also be supporting the development of a business incubator called Mgcawu Enterprises that will harness the entrepreneurial spirit of the people and provide business support and mentorship to both fledgling and established companies. 


Mr Romero’s speech ended with the handing over of a community water filter from Aqua4Life to the Royal House. This will provide clean drinking water to a drought ravaged community in the Kalahari for over a year. ǂXuu Katrina will be using this water filter in the community to alleviate water borne diseases that cause diarrhoea and other sicknesses.


Crawford Job, CEO of the ZF Mgcawu Inclusive Community Economic Development Forum (a partner organisation in Mgcawu Holdings) and economic development advisor to the Royal House, highlighted the role that the Royal House is playing by providing a solid and reputable platform through which the economic development of the Khoi and San people can materialise. 


Birthday wishes were offered by Chairman of the Royal House and ǂXuu Katrina’s eldest son Charles Tieties as well as her youngest son, Jacobus Tieties, who is head of the Royal House in the Western Cape. David van Wyk, Head of Protocol for the Royal House and personal assistant to the ǂXuu, addressed her in ǂNuu wishing her a blessed birthday and strength for the future.


Further wishes were offered by elders including Friedrick Springbok, Simon Paul Louw with Secretary of the House, Richard Sauls, offering the vote of thanks to all who attended. 


In her speech, ǂXuu Katrina went into detail to thank all the people involved in her journey to date and reaffirmed her commitment to both her community and to her partners in economic development. It was very moving to note the large number of people committed to the success of her plans for her people. ǂXuu Katrina also addressed the attendees in ǂNuu and was joined on stage by her children as she led the gathering in the singing of a traditional song. 


The evening ended with dancing and singing with an undeniable positive energy that was shared by all. It was a joy to be first hand witnesses to this awe inspiring moment in history and we look forward to the continued growth of our relationship with the Khoi and San as we work hand in hand to eliminate generational poverty and strengthen the culture of the people. 


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