THE COMMUNITY CONSERVATION AREA
One day we hope that our mountains can also be a world heritage site - A Living Cultural World Heritage Site. We have done a lot of work to help identify a Community Nature Reserve with a wilderness area. We recognise that our mountain wilderness is our cultural and natural heritage, which also belongs to South Africa, and indeed to all the people in the world. It needs to be conserved because it has changed very little from the landscape that our ancestors knew. Our wilderness is very beautiful and we know that our mountains also have a spiritual importance for visitors. We know that we have a responsibility to care for our wilderness and that we are accountable to this care.
Statement by the AmaZizi Wilderness Group & the Mnweni Wilderness Working Team
Boundary issues highlighted at time of inscription included the gap belonging to the amaNgwane and amaZizi Traditional Council between the northern and much larger southern section of the Park. While planning mechanisms restrict development above the 1,650m contour to maintain ecological integrity, it was recommended that a cooperative agreement between the amaNgwane and amaZizi Traditional Council and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife be envisaged.
Extract from the Outstanding Universal Value of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park as identified by Unesco on proclamation of the World Heritage Site
[The late AmaZizi Nkosi EM Miya] wanted his communities to benefit from every community project and continue managing their own areas. He always spoke strongly about the conservation of all living and cultural heritage belonging to the area. That is why he authorised the Amazizi Wilderness Group, to work with other community environmental working teams to promote a community wilderness area and work on wilderness management activities for the existing environment. We also wanted our local wilderness, environmental and cultural groups to make school children aware of the importance of nature and our culture.
Statement by Sigungu Miya, member of the AmaZizi royal family
For close on two decades now numerous government and non-government organisations, as well as tertiary institutions, have been working into the upper uThukela valley and in close collaboration with the AmaNgwane and AmaZizi communities, assisting them with the conservation of their rich natural and cultural heritage. This heritage which matches that within the adjacent uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site has been the motivation for much of this effort and has triggered the community's desire to see the upper portions of their land that is still in relatively pristine condition, declared as a nature reserve under the KZN Biodiversity Stewardship Programme.
Extract from a report compiled by Zunckel Ecological & Environmental Services