In 2014 the Living Culture Foundation (LCFN) has a big anniversary to celebrate: Ten years of operations of the Living Museum of the Ju/’Hoansi-San in Grashoek.
The project started in 2004, initiated and motivated by the Namibian tour guide and survival-operator Werner Pfeifer, who was actually looking for the Devil’s Claw plant in the area. The San of Grashoek impressed Werner and he told them about his work as Stone-Age expert in European Living Museums. The people from Grashoek showed great interest and started a first attempt to build such a Living Museum according to the European example with their own traditional knowledge.
At the beginning only very few Namibians believed that the concept of the Living Museums, which stipulates a maximum of individual responsibility and a local management, had any chance of success. During the first years however, it became obvious that the San were well able to manage and to develop their Living Museum themselves, with only a little help from Werner and later from the LCFN, the umbrella organization of all Living Museums in Namibia. The living Culture Foundation was founded by Werner Pfeifer for the development of the concept of “Living Museums” and for the support of Living Museums regarding professional marketing.
Numerous tour operators supported the project right from the beginning and believed in the stamina of the San. Due to this support the Living Museum of the Ju/‘Hoansi and all other Living Museums in Namibia are able to sustain and to work successfully.
Now, 10 years after the opening of the Living Museum of the Ju/'Hoansi, it has become a cultural highlight of the region, visited by many social workers and international guests. Not only the highly positive reception of the museum, but also the factual numbers paint a very clear picture: In 2013 the museum had a visitor record of nearly 3500 guests with a turnover of over 700.000 N$ generated through entrance fees and an additional 366,000 N$ through the craft shop. About 75 actors profit directly from the museum.
Who would have thought that 10 years ago?
In a region with hardly any income the museum has contributed to a substantial improvement of livelihood of the villagers. It has given them and their children the possibility to learn more about their own culture and even to revive some important, almost forgotten parts of it. Last but not least the Living Museum has given the confidence and has opened the possibility to the San to organize their future positively and independently.
Invitation to the anniversary celebration on the 06.12.2014
Of course the ten year anniversary calls for celebration. The Living Culture Foundation invites everyone interested to come and celebrate with the Ju/‘Hoansi from Grashoek on Saturday, 06 December 2014. Apart from a traditional presentation of the actors of the museum, a small bow shooting competition will take place and Werner will give a short speech, before we will celebrate with the San – at full moon! Rest assured that it will be an unforgettable experience.
Grashoek offers a camp site (50.00 N$ per person per night). The closest accommodation facility is Roy’s Camp, about 80 km away.