On Sunday November 15, 2015 Hōkūleʻa crewmembers were invited to attend the 2015 World Wisdom Gathering held in Hout Bay, the first Wisdom Gathering for South Africa. The purpose of the Wisdom Gathering is to create a space to celebrate the link between indigenous and modern wisdoms throughout the diverse nations of the World. Local and international Elders in attendance represented a variety of cultural backgrounds including Kalahari Bushmen, Zulu, Koi, AmaMpondo and Xhosa who came together to discuss community building towards a more sustainable earth.
Captain Billy Richards shared Hōkūleʻa’s story with the Gathering as a testament of how indigenous knowledge makes it possible for seemingly impossible things – like a traditional voyaging canoe successfully sailing halfway around the world – to come to life.
For me, being at this gathering in South Africa and hearing Uncle Billy share our message of Mālama Honua with these Elders made me realize the power of sharing a story. All of the representatives at this gathering are working hard to preserve their indigeneity, and hearing Uncle Billy talk about celestial navigation going from near extinction to being revitalized and practiced throughout the Pacific today gave confidence to everyone in attendance.
As we embark on the second half of this Worldwide Voyage, I am inspired by what we have encountered thus far with each leg of the voyage, and hopeful for what we will learn in the legs to come.