Tuesday, 8 March 2011

An Appeal for the Bushmen of the Kalahari

Veronique and Jean-François Julien of Chateau La Fleur Morange have created a special cuvée to support the Bushmen of the Kalahari and all the proceeds will go direct to charity. My other half, Nick, has written a blog to appeal for your help and I am posting it here:

From Nick's Blog

"Last autumn I wrote and told you the story of the the Bushmen of the Kalahari (the San people) who represent one of the oldest existing populations known to man. Small statured and golden skinned the San people have suffered a steady progress of dispossession and genocide which has confined them to the Kalahari area - where farming and herding are impracticable. The San have a non violent and healing based culture and are in danger of being lost forever. A growing number of archaeologists and palaeontologists now feel that the Bushmen have been in Southern Africa for at least 100,000 years. Some even feel that the Kalahari fringe may be the real cradle of mankind - this is backed up by a recent belief among some geneticists that all human beings share a common DNA that can be traced back to a woman who lived somewhere in the Kalahari region around 50,000 years ago.

The Kalahari Bushmen Support Charity (www.thekalaharibushmensupport.com) was created in 2009 as a result of Beata Aleksandrowicz’s visits to the !Gubi Family in Namibia. The !Gubi family is a united and extended family of about 40 people of every generation. They are gentle, friendly and dignified, qualities, which push them to the bottom of the heap. Family members were murdered,they were wrongly charged for water, they paid heavily for transport. They were unable to graze their cattle because of overgrazing by their more powerful neighbours. Animals they hunted in the past were no longer there. They were within earshot of their neighbours so were unable to practice their healing, their traditional singing and dancing, for fear of being intimidated.

Beata Aleksandrowicz has been acclaimed in the Sunday Times as one of the best experts in her field, an author and columnist in the Telegraph, company director of Pure Massage and founder of Touch of Trust project (www.touchoftrust.com) exploring the power of Touch with different indigenous tribes. Beata first met the !Gubi Family in 2006 whilst conducting research into their healing traditions.

Unable to speak their ancient click language Beata sought to communicate through touch. Gradually over the days of the visit barriers began to disappear when Beata was first given permission to touch them and the silence was broken. Beata met the healer of the family, Anna, who suffered from polio as a child and is now paralysed from her waist downwards. They bonded through touch and the family asked for massage to to help them sleep, to help remove worries, to soothe tired muscles. But most of all so that they could unburden themselves about their lives, their worries and their hopes. Anna's dream was to find a place where the family could live in dignity and peace and Beata made it her mission to help to make her dream come true.

The aim of the Kalahari Bushmen Support Charity is to rescue and perpetuate the !Gubi family in their unique way of life. The success of this project will enable this family to a place where they can become self sufficient. It is hoped that the project will become a blueprint for others in a similar situation.

Phase 1 of the project has been completed – which was to offer the !Gubi Family land, protection, security, job opportunities, training in farming and financial planning. With the help of Awie Steenkamp and his wife Sonja the family have moved on to his land and they have started to learn the skills of farming under Awie’s supervision whilst being free to hunt and practice their Bushmen traditions. Awie has created job opportunities for them involving the building of their own village and employing them to help in the construction of a visitors camp to be called My Place Camp.

Phase 2 is a work in progress and £10,000 needs to be raised to provide funds for further education for the !Gubi Family children, which will be taken over by the !Gubi family once they become self- sufficient. Phase 3 involves creating and developing the Research Centre available for those who would like to study the language, traditions, healing and spiritual beliefs of the Bushmen.

To help raise funds for the children's education Veronique and Jean-Francois Julien of Chateau La Fleur Morange have very kindly donated 50 cases of a very special cuvée: Bushmen 2010 which they have specially created to help raise money for the Bushman Charity as a one off!. The wine is going to be produced from the 2 best La Fleur Morange 2010 barrels (the vines are more than 100 years old) and there are only 600 bottles available. Jean-Francois has supplied tasting notes for those of who are interested:

The nose: firstly suave tastes of vanilla, crème de cassis and wild raspberry followed by the creamy sensation reminiscent of yoghurt with red berries. The toasting of the barrel gives the aroma of toast, vanilla, gingerbread and the complexity of preserved fruits.

In the mouth: ample and round with suppleness, melting tannins coupled with an acidity which lifts the fruits. Well balanced and a strong and generous wine.

If you would like to help this charity and the !Gubi Family by buying a case or two of this very special cuvée please contact me at nick.stephens@bordeaux-undiscovered.co.uk it is envisaged the price will be €20 a bottle.

With Red Nose day approaching quickly the timing of this blog couldn't be more appropriate. Every Euro raised through the sale of this very special cuvée will go directly to the charity. Please help if you can. "