For the Kamammas to be the best they could become and to develop into resilient tourist service providers, and to survive as tourist businesses in a world never pioneered before, entailed to learn the art of running a tourism service in a fiercely protective industry before they even started out . Tourism is an industry Dreamcatcher founder calls: “The Cash cow of a Country”, and one sought after globally. The quest to find appropriate training at an entry level conducive to the Kamammas, at a differentiated grade to accommodate all the Kamammas and in at least 3 of the official languages of South Africa proved to be difficult.
Whilst training in tourism is offered at a multitude of training institutions in South Africa, it is expensive and if followed properly, would take the budding Kamamma entrepreneurs away from their homes which none of them could afford as they are either the sole breadwinner or often the carer of the children and head of the home. Besides, many Kamammas, growing up in Apartheid South Africa never had the chance to evolve to high school or past grade 7 or 8. Taking a close look at what was being trained, it was also apparent that training did not provide a chance nor the platform for new tourism accommodation and catering services to develop and grow from their entry level. Much of the training assumed tourism smme’s come ready made, had the amenities and resources for instance in their kitchens which mainstream established kitchens and accommodations had and that the Kamammas would be able to achieve the regulations and standards entrenched in mainstream training outcomes. How would a Kamamma have 5 skillets,a pairing knife, 6 pots, a pantry, a cutting table etc., when she had mastered the art of cooking for a team of liberation fighters who came home on clandestine trips to rest, on one burner with one pot or pan, manage or even afford that?
Our next question was: do the Kamammas need these criteria when her food fed a nation and which very food was what she loved to prepare and would prepare for her guests?
Aptly put by Professor Harold Goodwin (see blog http://haroldgoodwin.info/blog/?p=2474: ” It is also often the efforts of the emerging entrepreneurs, initially not licensed, who spread the benefits of tourism beyond the established honeypots. It was not the established operators who developed township tourism now such an important part of the industry”.
Not finding what we needed, it was clear that it was time for Dreamcatcher to innovate and develop training and skills transfer courses in the form of practical outcomes based and solution focused workshops spread over a period of 3 years and attended at a pace which suited the life and circumstances of the 50 Kamammas and Bhutis spread out around South Africa. In so doing we eliminated a significant barrier to the development of the Kamammas and Bhutis.
The first training course: Tourism its Mine its Yours saw the light in 1996 after almost 10 years of research and has been adapted continuously since then to meet the needs of the Kamamma and the ever evolving tourist market. The ethos of the course, which covers all the usual (and more) learning outcomes, also instills the knowledge and hope in the Kamammas and Bhutis, that they can cast off the shackles of being servants and reach for their dream to become tourist services: changing their lives forever from consumers to manufacturers and enactors in their own communities.