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Traditional Turkish archery hits the mark in South Africa

⁠There is growing interest among South Africans about Turkish culture, including language, arts and sports, says Abdulaziz Yigit, director of the Yunus Emre Institute in South Africa

15:18 - 25/06/2024 Salı
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File photo
File photo

Traditional Turkish archery is becoming popular in cities in South Africa, a country with a diverse society and blend of cultures.

A few minutes' drive from Johannesburg's city center is Winchester Hills, a suburb with an archery school that teaches and promotes traditional archery.

“In South Africa, archery is starting to attain popularity among all the sports, and Turkish archery is starting to become popular,” Huthaifa Hassan, an instructor and director of the Home of Archery School, told Anadolu at his office in Winchester Hills.

Several bows, arrows and other equipment are neatly lined on the walls in his office, while an archery board is set up outside, where he often practices before going to the range.

Traditional Turkish archery was listed by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as part of humanity's Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2019.

Hassan said he was fortunate to have been selected by the Yunus Emre Institute in South Africa in 2022 to travel to Türkiye and attend a traditional Turkish archery workshop and education program, which has now shaped him into a master bowman.

Besides having his own school, he also teaches archery courses at the International Maarif School in Johannesburg.

Some of Hassan's students recently dazzled spectators at a children's event held at the Turkish ambassador's residence in the capital Pretoria.

Young students and adults attending the Youth Day event were given archery lessons, and some had the chance to shoot at targets on makeshift boards.

While traditional Turkish archery is now popular in South Africa, Hassan said they also teach the modern form of archery at his school.

“I love archery. It keeps me fit and focused,” a young student at the Home of Archery told Anadolu.


- Growing interest in Turkish culture

Abdulaziz Yigit, director of the Yunus Emre Institute in South Africa, told Anadolu that their institute also teaches courses in archery, which are drawing more and more people.

“There is growing interest in Turkish culture in South Africa. Turkish series are broadcast on local television, and many Turkish institutions have been established in the country,” he said.

Traditional Turkish archery is practiced both on foot and horseback, and has been shaped into a sport over the centuries with its various principles, rules, rituals and social practices.

On foot, it includes flight shooting, long-distance shooting, darp (pounding) shooting, puta shooting and performance shooting.

Yigit said since the institute was established in South Africa in 2017, they have taught hundreds of students the Turkish language and art.

He said many people have shown an interest in taking the Turkish language courses for various reasons. Some want it for business communication and others want to join higher education institutions in Türkiye.

The institute, which promotes cultural relations by coordinating with local South African cultural institutions, teaches several courses, including calligraphy.

#Huthaifa Hassan
#South Africa
#Traditional Turkish Archery
#Turkish Culture
#Yunus Emre Institute
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