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Traditional cultures in Namibia

Welcome to the website of the Living Culture Foundation Namibia (LCFN). The LCFN is a non-profit, German-Namibian organization, which focuses on cultural cooperation in rural areas in Namibia.

We help Namibian communities to establish Living Museums.

Living Museums in Namibia

A Living Museum is an authentic way of presenting traditional culture and has three main aims:

  1. Fight against poverty in Namibia
  2. Preservation of traditional culture
  3. Creation of a cultural and intercultural exchange

Visitors of the Living Museums can learn a lot about the interesting cultures of Namibian language groups and have a great opportunity to get to know the people of Namibia. Every visit to a Living Museum actively contributes to the preservation of traditional culture and the creation of a source of income in rural areas.

All Living Museums at a glance

News

Find recent news of the Living Culture Foundation Namibia and the Living Museums.

The history of the LCFN

The history of the LCFN

On the 28.07.2017 we were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Living Culture Namibia e.V. For the tenth time we have reason to celebrate and to look back on (more than) 10 years of project work in Namibia. Here we have put together a review of the events of the Living Museums and the Living Culture Foundation Namibia of the past 13 years.

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Voices from the Living Museums

Voices from the Living Museums

On the occasion of our 10th anniversary we asked the managers of the Living Museums to give a short statement on how they see the work in their Living Museum. Here are the answers:

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Winter donation for the Hunter’s Living Museum

Winter donation for the Hunter’s Living Museum

Brian Heyden, a tour operator from New Zealand who visits the Living Hunter’s Museum at /Xa//Oba annually, brought a special surprise for the villagers this year. He donated several bags of warm clothes, shoes and blankets to the Living Museum, ideal for the harsh winters of the northern Kalahari.

The New Zealand guests that went on a 3-week Namibia safari with Brian at the end of June bought all their camping equipment in Windhoek due to logistical reasons. After their visit at the Hunter’s Living Museum which the New Zealanders more than enjoyed, they decided to donate the complete equipment to the Bushmen after their tour.

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A very special bush walk

A very special bush walk

Around midday we left the Living Museum towards the west to participate on a bushwalk together with the bushmen of the Living Hunter’s Museum. Although having been already several times on such a bushwalk with the San, every single time it is a wonderful, relaxing and exciting activity during which one is taken back to old times and one can imagine how the old bush life must have felt like. Thoughts start to wander. The stress and the everyday life seem far away and one starts to concentrate only on the essential things: But be aware of your steps, snakes, scorpions and other small animals are dangerous to step on. Now and then one of the San women discovered something special, e.g. Dchun (Walleria Nutans), which taste like old potatoes (that’s why they are called bush potatoes), the succulent root named “!ai!ai” (Raphionacme Velutina), which is essential for the old San’s survival or a sisal plant, known as “Oryx horn” or “Mother-in-law tongue”, which is used to make strings and ropes.

The almost meditative bushwalk had been constantly accompanied by lively conversations amongst the San. Often we stopped to analyze tracks of wild animals; we dug, picked and plucked. Suddenly a loud yelling and cheering, at first we thought a wild animal has jumped out of a bush. But no – one of the elder ladies jumped under a bush and started digging and revealed a small brown tuber.

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Dr. Ralf Kühn visits the Mbunza Museum

Dr. Ralf Kühn visits the Mbunza Museum

At the end of February 2017 I had again the possibility, together with friends from Germany, to visit the Living museum of the Mbunza very close to Rundu. Since the opening in 2012 it is my third time already. Immediately I recognized how structured and organized the visits of tourists are handled, how much effort Sebron and the colleagues of the museum put into imparting knowledge and to really show the very specifics of the ethnicity of the Mbunza on the Okavango river.

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Ovahimba Living Museum Opening

Ovahimba Living Museum Opening

On the 5th of November the Living Culture Foundation Namibia (LCFN) opened the 6th Living Museum in Namibia: The Ovahimba Living Museum. Together with the San, the Mafwe, the Mbunza and the Damara, the Ovahimba are now the 5th language group to own a Living Museum and to invite visitors to get to know their culture.

What started with an idea and an initiative of John Tjipurua - now the manager of the Living Museum - and the Living Culture Foundation, could turn into a productive success story which developed within 1.5 years.  The opening of the Museum was a huge success for us!

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Living Museum of the Ovahimba to open soon

Living Museum of the Ovahimba to open soon

It is with great pleasure that we announce the official opening of yet another Living Museum. Over the last year we have travelled to Omungunda – 40 km north of Opuwo – on a regular basis to hold meetings, motivate and guide. The efforts have not been fruitless and we are proud to invite you to the opening of the sixth Living Museum in Namibia: The Ovahimba Living Museum.

The Museum will officially open its “doors” to guests on the 05th November 2016 and we would like to give you the opportunity to come and celebrate this day with us. A demonstration of the program will be held in the morning whilst the opening ceremony will take place in the afternoon.

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2. project meeting in the Ovahimba Living Museum

05_Museum_Setting

The aim of a second project meeting in March 2016 at the newly emerging Living Museums was to get an impression of progress of this project so far and to further motivate the Ovahimba project group to tackle challenges and to continue establishing their Living Museum.

Project report from Sebastian Dürrschmidt

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New Ovahimba project

Omungunda-Meeting

On our project tour at the beginning of September, the LCFN was able to present the concept of the Living Museums to a group of Ovahimba in the north of the country. This marks the first step towards the establishment of a Living Museum.

Project report by Sebastian Dürrschmidt

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Call for donations

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The museums supported by us owe their existence to the income they make from tourism in Namibia. A lot of visitors to Namibia enjoy visiting the museums for an extended time and decide to camp directly at the Living Museums.

This of course increases the income for museums that have a campsite. Not only does the campsite itself generate income, but guests are taking part in numerous programs offered as they have more time at hand. Those who have camped at one of the Living Museums of the San know what an up-close and personal experience it is and how much this contributes to an eventful visit at the museums. 

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Do you have a question about the Mafwe Living Museum?

 

Have you read our FAQ already? Most of your questions will be answered there. If your question couldn't be answered you are welcome to write us an email to contact@lcfn.info

 

Kind regards, Elizabeth,
Manager of the Mafwe Living Museum

Mafwe Elizabeth

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Do you have a question about the Mbunza Living Museum?

 

Have you read our FAQ already? Most of your questions will be answered there. If your question couldn't be answered you are welcome to write us an email to contact@lcfn.info

 

Kind regards, Sebron
Manager of the Mbunza Living Museum

Sebron

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Do you have a question about the Ovahimba Living Museum?

 

Have you read our FAQ already? Most of your questions will be answered there. If your question couldn't be answered you are welcome to write us an email to contact@lcfn.info

 

Kind regards, John
Manager of the Ovahimba Living Museum

John

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Do you have a question about the Damara Living Museum?

 

Have you read our FAQ already? Most of your questions will be answered there. If your question couldn't be answered you are welcome to write us an email to contact@lcfn.info

 

Kind regards, Hans-Bernhard
Manager of the Damara Living Museum

Hans

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Do you have a question about the Ju/'Hoansi-San Living Museum?

 

Have you read our FAQ already? Most of your questions will be answered there. If your question couldn't be answered you are welcome to write us an email to contact@lcfn.info

 

Kind regards, Apollo
Manager of the Ju/'Hoansi-San Living Museum

Apollo

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Do you have a question about the Living Hunter's Museum?

 

Have you read our FAQ already? Most of your questions will be answered there. If your question couldn't be answered you are welcome to write us an email to contact@lcfn.info

 

Kind regards, Tsamkxao
Manager of the Living Hunter's Museum

Tsamkxao

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Haben Sie eine Frage über das Mafwe Lebende Museum?

 

Sollte die Antwort auf ihre Frage nicht in unserem FAQ (meistgestellte Fragen) zu finden sein, so können Sie uns gerne eine Email schreiben: contact@lcfn.info

 

Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Elizabeth,
Manager des Mafwe Living Museums

Mafwe Elizabeth

×

Haben Sie eine Frage über das Mbunza Lebende Museum?

 

Sollte die Antwort auf ihre Frage nicht in unserem FAQ (meistgestellte Fragen) zu finden sein, so können Sie uns gerne eine Email schreiben: contact@lcfn.info

 

Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Sebron

Manager des Mbunza Living Museums

Sebron

×

Haben Sie eine Frage über das Ovahimba Lebende Museum?

 

Sollte die Antwort auf ihre Frage nicht in unserem FAQ (meistgestellte Fragen) zu finden sein, so können Sie uns gerne eine Email schreiben: contact@lcfn.info

 

Mit freundlichen Grüßen, John

Manager des Ovahimba Living Museum

John

×

Haben Sie eine Frage über das Damara Lebende Museum?

 

Sollte die Antwort auf ihre Frage nicht in unserem FAQ (meistgestellte Fragen) zu finden sein, so können Sie uns gerne eine Email schreiben: contact@lcfn.info

 

Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Hans-Bernhard

Manager des Damara Living Museum

Hans

×

Haben Sie eine Frage über das Ju/'Hoansi Lebende Museum?

 

Sollte die Antwort auf ihre Frage nicht in unserem FAQ (meistgestellte Fragen) zu finden sein, so können Sie uns gerne eine Email schreiben: contact@lcfn.info

 

Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Apollo

Manager des Ju/'Hoansi-San Living Museum

Apollo

×

Haben Sie eine Frage über das Hunter's Lebende Museum?

 

Sollte die Antwort auf ihre Frage nicht in unserem FAQ (meistgestellte Fragen) zu finden sein, so können Sie uns gerne eine Email schreiben: contact@lcfn.info

 

Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Tsamkxao

Manager des Living Hunter's Museum

Tsamkxao

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Juhoansi

The Living Museum of the Ju/'Hoansi is Namibias first Living Museum

  • Opening: 2004
  • Culture: Hunter-Gatherer Culture of the San
  • Highlights: "Action Day" - 4 hours interesting introduction into the culture of the San
  • Setup: Many gras huts in great nature, campsite and craftshop
Grashoek Apollo

"... Our Living Museums has 76 actors at the moment. All actors are very happy with the work they are doing. The aim of our Living Museum is to develop the Grashoek community. Its is also a school where the elders teach the young people about culture..."

Apollo, Manager of the Ju/'Hoansi-San Living Museum

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Mafwe

The Living Museum of the Mafwe in the Caprivi, situated under huge Baobab trees

  • Opening: 2008
  • Culture: Bantu culture of the Mafwe, influenced especially by fishing and farming
  • Highlights: "A day together with the Mafwe" - 4 hours of interactive program
  • Setup: Kraal, several clay huts, traditional kitchen, bush campsite & craftshop
Mafwe Elizabeth

"... The Mafwe Living Museum has 38 permanent workers and 12 students at the moment. We realized that we must share our culture and the Living Museum is the right tool to do that because the Mafwe people are happy and proud about their culture! ..."

Elizabeth Madima, Manager of the Mafwe Living Museum

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Damara

The Living Museum of the Damara close to Twyfelfontein, reconstruction of the "lost" culture of the Damara

  • Opening: 2010
  • Culture: Traditional culture of the Damara
  • Highlights: "Traditional Life" - 1 hour entertaining program
  • Setup: Kraal, several wooden huts, pharmacy, blacksmith, craftshop
Damara Hans

"... The Damara Living Museum has 30 actors and is called "Taotatide" in our language which means "we are proud of our culture". The actors are happy and very proud of their job. In the future we want to start a campsite and further improve our Living Museum..."

Hans-Bernhard, Manager of the Damara Living Museum

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LittleHunters

The Hunter's Living Museum - the only museum offering a real traditional hunt in the wilderness together with the San

  • Opening: 2010
  • Culture: Hunter-gatherer culture of the Ju/'Hoansi
  • Highlights: "3 Days in the wild" - several days intensive educational program
  • Setup: Several gras huts, campsite, craftshop
Hunters Ksamkxao

"... We have 25 actors in our museum. When the visitors come to see and understand our culture, the guests but also our children learn about the old traditions which is very important for our community. ..."

Tsamkxao, Manager of the Living Hunter's Museum

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Mbunza

The Living Museum of the Mbunza at Lake Samsitu, reconstructing the "old Africa"

  • Opening: 2012
  • Culture: Bantu culture with main focus on fishing
  • Highlights: "A Day together with the Mbunza" - 4 hours cultural program
  • Setup: Several traditional huts inside a large traditional village, kitchen, blacksmith, craft shop
Mbunza Sebron

"... Our Living Museum which has 25 people is a good tool to let people understand the value of our culture, where we come from and where we can go. We are proud of our culture and are happy to learn about people from all over the world who are visiting us. ..."

Sebron Ruben, Manager of the Mbunza Living Museum

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Ovahimba

The Living Museum of the Ovahimba north of Opuwo in the Kaokoveld

  • Opening: 2016
  • Culture: Unique semi-nomadic Bantu culture
  • Highlights: 5 hours "Spend a day with us" program
  • Setup: Large homestead including main hut, holy fire, life stock kraal
Ovahimba John

"... We have 32 actors in our museum. We were able to discover the old and lost traditional Ovahimba culture. The Living Museum is very succesful and the actors are benefitting from it directly and indirectly thorugh the selling of crafts very much ..."

John, Manager of the Ovahimba Living Museum

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Juhoansi

Das Lebende Museum der Ju/'Hoansi - Namibias erstes Lebendes Museum

  • Eröffnung: 2004
  • Kultur: Jäger- und Sammler-Kultur der San
  • Höhepunkte: "Action Day" - 4 Stunden intensives Kennenlernen der faszinierenden Kultur
  • Setup: Mehrere Grashütten, Campingplatz, Craftshop
Grashoek Apollo

"... Unser Lebendes Museum hat 76 Akteure im Moment. Alle Leute sind zufrieden mit der Arbeit im Museum. Das Ziel unseres Museums ist es, die Gemeinschaft in Grashoek zu entwickeln. Daneben ist es eine Schule, wo die Ältesten die Jungen unterrichten..."

Apollo, Manager des Lebenden Museums

Museum besuchen

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Mafwe

Das Lebende Museum der Mafwe im Caprivi unter Baobabbäumen

  • Eröffnung: 2008
  • Kultur: Fischerei- und Farmerkultur der Mafwe
  • Höhepunkte: "Ein Tag zusammen mit den Mafwe " - 4 Stunden interaktives Programm
  • Setup: Kraal, Mehrere traditionelle Lehmhütten, traditionelle Küche, Busch-Campingplatz, Craftshop
Mafwe Elizabeth

"... Das Mafwe Museum hat 38 permanent angestellte Aktuere und 12 Studenten im Moment. Wir haben verstanden, dass wir unsere traditionalle Kultur teilen müssen und das Lebende Museum ist der richtige Ansatz dafür, weil die Mafwe stolz auf ihre Kultur sind!..."

Elizabeth Madima, Manager des Mafwe Living Museum

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Damara

Das Lebende Museum der Damara bei Twyfelfontein - Rekonstruktion der "verlorenen" Damara Kultur

  • Eröffnung: 2010
  • Kultur: Jäger- und Sammlerkultur der Damara
  • Höhepunkte: "Traditionelles Leben" - 1 Stunde kurzweiliges Programm
  • Setup: Kraal, Mehrere traditionelle Hütten, Apotheke, Schmiede, Craftshop
Damara Hans

"... Das Damara Museum hat 30 Akteure. Wir nennen es "Taotatide" in unserer Sprache, was soviel bedeutet wie "Wir sind stolz auf unsere Kultur". Die Akteure sind glücklich und stolz auf ihre Arbeit. Für die Zukunft planen wir einen Campingplatz und weitere Verbesserungen im Museum..."

Hans-Bernhard, Manager des Damara Living Museum

Museum besuchen

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LittleHunters

Als einziges Museum bietet das Little Hunter's Museum die Möglichkeit zu einer traditionellen Jagd

  • Eröffnung: 2010
  • Kultur: Jäger- und Sammlerkultur der San
  • Höhepunkte: "3 Tage in der Wildnis" - mehrtägiges, intensives Kennenlern-Programm
  • Setup: Mehrere Grashütten, Campingplatz, Craftshop
Hunters Ksamkxao

"... Wir haben 25 Akteure in unserem Museum. Wenn die Besucher kommen, um unsere Kultur zu sehen und zu verstehen, lernen die Gäste über unsere alten Traditionen, aber auch unsere Kinder, was sehr wichtig für unsere Gemeinschaft ist. ..."

Tsamkxao, Manager des Living Hunter's Museum

Museum besuchen

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Mbunza

Das Lebende Museum der Mbunza am Samsitu See, das alte Afrika am Okavango rekonstruiert

  • Eröffnung: 2012
  • Kultur: Bantukultur mit Schwerpunkt Fischerei
  • Höhepunkte: "Ein Tag mit den Mbunza" - 4 Stunden Intensiv-Programm
  • Setup: Mehrere traditionelle Hütten im Kraal, Küche, Werkstätten, Schmiede, Craftshop
Mbunza Sebron

"... Unser Lebendes Museum, bei welchem 25 Leute arbeiten, ist eine gute Möglichkeit, den Besuchern den Wert unserer Kultur zu verdeutlichen, woher die Mbunza kommen und wohin sie gehen. Wir sind stolz auf unsere Kultur und auch glücklich etwas über die Besucher aus aller Welt zu lernen..."

Sebron Ruben, Manager des Mbunza Living Museum

Museum besuchen

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Ovahimba

Das Lebende Museum der Ovahimba nördlich von Opuwo

  • Eröffnung: 2016
  • Kultur: Einzigartige halbnomadische Bantukultur
  • Höhepunkte: 5 Stunden Ganztagsprogramm
  • Setup: Großes Gehöft inklusive Hauptfrauenhütte, Heiliges Feuer, Viehkraal
Ovahimba John

"... Wir haben 32 Akteure in unserem Museum. Wir haben es geschafft, die alte Ovahimbakultur wiederzubeleben. Das Lebende Museum ist sehr erfolgreich und die Akteure profitieren direkt und indirekt, zum Beispiel durch Schmuckverkauf..."

John, Manager des Ovahimba Living Museum

Museum besuchen