Have you ever been so impressed by something that you don’t actually know how to start talking about it? I’ve wanted to share my experience with the Untold Stories Tour that I took through Calabash Tours a couple of weeks ago ever since I said goodbye to our tour guide, Xholani. I’ve gushily spilled my enthusiasm over my family members, had lengthy discussions about it with my husband, and spent many hours contemplating the brilliant simplicity of it all.
And yet here I sit feeling like I am at a loss for the right words.
So, I’m going to put it to you simply, and hope that my message comes across regardless.
The Untold Stories Tour is one of the most important tours I have ever been on, and it excites me that this is something that is being offered to tourists in our city. Basically, we went on a township tour, which in itself is exceptionally enlightening and filled with important history that all South Africans should be aware of. But, most importantly, the tour included having dinner in the home of Mamma Gwen. Mamma Gwen prepared a very South African (and delicious) meal for us, and while we ate, she told us about her life.
I have to admit this was one of the most enlightening experiences of my life. I’ve always sort of thought that “tourism” is not a particularly authentic way of getting to know different parts of the world. Oftentimes it isn’t. Often tours kind of show you the fancy sugar-coated parts of whichever part of the world you find yourself in. That’s ok, of course. Because it’s fun regardless. But unless you actually move somewhere for a couple of months, it’s kind of hard to get a real glimpse into the lives of the people who live there. This Untold Stories Tour, however, gives you such a real experience.
Forgive my over-enthusiasm, but I do highly recommend doing this. Even if you already live here. Possibly I recommend it especially if you already live here.
I know some people might find the idea of a township tour to be distasteful. I have felt this way myself. In fact the only reason I even went on a township tour in the first place (I’ve now been on two – both were great) is because I wanted to formulate a more informed opinion on the practice. The thing is, though, that a better understanding of the experiences of our fellow citizens is so exceptionally important. Mama Gwen’s stories are so important! And so I have come to believe that these township tours can be quite significant.
So I’d like to say thank you to Calabash Tours for this experience. Thank you for bringing tourism opportunities to people who might not otherwise think to find their place here. Thank you for showing how important they are to this industry! I truly hope that this endeavour is supported and that it grows to include even more beautiful people like Mama Gwen.
Do yourself a favour and check out this tour. You won’t regret it.