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Background

The Indlela yoBuntu dream is to create a pilgrimage trail from Grahamstown to Cape Town. The route is on little-used jeep tracks and back roads through beautiful natural areas, overnighting with locals on farms and at churches. By the end of 2016 there had been 11 Indlela pilgrimages between Grahamstown and Knysna  – the first recce solo walk in 2011, a recce trail run in 2013, another trail run in 2014 and 8 walks since then. Three walks are planned for 2017.  The challenge at the moment is to hone the logistics and the pilgrimage experience of the Gtn-Knysna section, but also to push on and open up the second half from Knysna to Cape Town.

 

If you are interested in a more detailed exploration of the Indlela pilgrimage concept, you might want to read the two articles below. Otherwise feel free to move on to reading about the route, the stories of Indlela pilgrims, and information on upcoming Indlelas.

 

In the first article 'Creating' a Pilgrimage? I explain that while I was inspired to set up a pilgrimage walk here in South Africa, I first needed to explore the question of whether it is indeed possible to 'create' a pilgrimage. Surely such a thing develops over years, over centuries, an organic response of people to visit some shrine or re-enact some inspiring journey? As you will read, this isn't necessary the case. Many (most/all?) pilgrimages are the direct result of human instigation and championing. It takes someone to conceptualise it, someone to champion it, someone to encourage others to participate, and ultimately many 'someones' to heed the call and join in. In short, it is potentially feasible for a pilgrimage to be created anywhere. This is an early draft of an article that was later published in The Journal of Theology for Southern Africa 144 (26-33) November 2012.

 

The second paper Creating Indlela yoBuntu: Dreams and dilemmas explores the many conceptual and practical challenges involved in this venture. The dream of creating a particular pilgrimage walk in South Africa is described, and critical questions are raised and addressed with reference to the literature and to academic argument. The discussion and tentative conclusions should be of interest to anyone wishing to better understand the dynamics involved in such a project.