Friday, September 25, 2009

Living and Leaving St. Lucia #1 1976 - 1983

After looking back after living in St. Lucia for 37 years it was a sad day to dust once feet for the last time as a resident. Since the seventies St. Lucia estuary was the playground for this little trooper and the development of the little town was very strict controlled under the Provincial Government with their Head Offices based in Pietermaritzburg.

This arrangement had some advantages but many disadvantages. Since the Town was controlled from Pietermaritzburg the residents had very little say o the day to day management although may of them have contributed daily in the physical running and maintenance of the services that the small town needed. With the closing of Mozambique borders in the late 1960's and early 1970's it resulted in the diversion of many Domestic Tourist to flock to the beaches of the East Coast of South Africa for Holiday's

Since all development North of the iMfolozi River was closely controlled by Natal Parks Board(KZN Wildlife), since 1820's, much consideration was given to Nature Conservation and Protected areas. This resulted to a serious of Game Reserves proclaimed by the Royal English Crown of which St. Lucia Estuary, Lake and Islands was one of them. (27 April 1895). With the first Game Rangers appointed as custodians they founded The Natal Parks Board incorporating the management of these protected areas under one management authority.

Many treaties between local Zulu clans and the Governments of the day where negotiated to protect these areas. Since many Domestic Zulu Wars broke out the management of these treaties was adapted to suite the safety of the Colonialist and Farmers as well as the Hunters that moved through or conquered the area. Then Apartheid followed and the Political trend in the management of this treaties continued.

With commercial pressure mounting in the early 1970's the business sector wished more control over the local decision making in the daily management of the area. In the wake of the followed the control needed of land usage and the power trickled down from Provincial to Local Government. with very little thought given to the right full land owners. St. Lucia as a town was Proclaimed a township in 1822 with the town boundaries probably negotiated and traded by the British with the Locals.

Since the locals where subsistence farmers migrating with the seasons the deal probably where worked out around possible grazing, mosquitoes and conservation needs. For that reason town boundaries Game Park and Game Reserve boundaries where proclaimed. From with in this boundaries a well established flourishing business community where founded that grew from strength to strength. Adapting as the economy and Political powers shifted as the time went by.

Some of the domestic tourist that started the economy of St. Lucia was the Transvaal Holiday maker. (Leisure Fisherman and Sun Seeker). Other user groups was Group bonding weekends and Motor Bike Raleigh's. Any one that could bring money into the fairly poor and under developed area with in the constrains of Nature Conservation.

Natal Parks Board realized the need for Public education in Nature Conservation and many workshops, Movies and interpretation Centers where erected and small or now entry fees where charged. It is during this period that the love for Nature conservation where embedded by many South Africans. The main role players during this time was Dr. Ian Player, George Hughes, Nollie Zouloumas and many other BIG names that will be mentioned later. Some will be forgotten since the History of the area is very Jealously guarded by a few.

by Petrus Viviers
to be continued....

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