I think we often forget that the concept of sustainability is nothing new. It is so much today’s buzz word that we think somehow it shows us modern humans to be a more evolved or enlightened bunch than our ancestors as we decide now what living sustainably looks like.
Go back a thousand years or so and you discover smaller communities more connected to their environment. Not to say that survival was easier then, but I wonder sometimes if the price of our modern conveniences and longer life expectancies is too high. The sheer volume of our species and the enormous impact we have on our environment in this modern world is not sustainable, as we have daily proof.
The Kosi Bay area of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa is a place stuck in time. Stuck in a better time with that close connection of community to land and water. Seeing Nature with Understanding and Heart.
For a thousand years or so the Tsonga people grew to understand the unique workings of the Kosi lake system and its connection to the Indian Ocean. Even today their sustainable fish traps are visible throughout the lakes.
There are strong cultural aspects to this sustainable resource use too. Fathers passing down the knowledge of working and maintaining these fish traps to sons. Community respecting the fishing grounds of others around them.
Perhaps there are challenges to this way of life as a younger generation is distracted by the trappings of the digital world. But meeting wonderful humans like our boat captain, Lucky, gives me hope. He eloquently shared the story of his people’s way of life with us. At same time he expertly explained the fascinating geography of this area. And he found me a couple of Palmnut Vulture to look at – a species for my life list!
How good would it be if we could simplify, down size and consume less. Perhaps where we find ourselves each in our corner of the world we could gather a “tribe” around us and take inspiration from this Kosi Culture.
From a wild spaces conservation perspective, Kosi Bay is part of the expansive iSimangaliso Wetland Park situated on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is South Africa’s third-largest protected area, spanning 280 km of coastline and made up of around 3,280 km2 of natural ecosystems.
The environment here is truly stunning and the ROTM crew thoroughly enjoyed our barefoot time here in the dunes near Kosi mouth. Our hosts Tony, Lize, Dora, Armstrong, Frida and Katy at Amangwane Camp made our stay extra special. Definitely worth another visit.