QwaQwa community perceptions on the proposed dinosaur museum in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, South Africa
Various stakeholders, especially local communities, play a pivotal role and contribute immensely to the establishment, management and sustainability of heritage institutions within their geographic jurisdiction. Drawing on focus group discussions, key informant interviews and a semi structured questionnaire administered to a random sample of 500 people, this article discusses community perceptions on the proposed dinosaur museum in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park (GGHNP) and issues surrounding community engagement. The results show that 70 percent of the interviewees believed the GGHNP had no beneficial connection to the local community and were doubtful whether the proposed dinosaur museum in the park would be part of the local community. Findings further indicate that the location of the proposed museum is a contentious issue. Focus group participants emphatically stated that they were not keen to visit the proposed museum if it is set up in the park which they see as a place reserved for the few. Forty eight percent of the respondents prefer the museum to be located within the University premises or on the space directly opposite the University entrance, while 40 percent prefer the museum to be located in QwaQwa’s popular shopping center, Setsing. Interestingly, only eight percent want the proposed dinosaur museum to be located inside the park according to the proposed plan.
Keywords: Community perception, Golden Gate, heritage conservation, dinosaur museum, tourism development.