International Day of the Indigenous Peoples
Today the 09th August 2013 marks the day of the indigenous peoples. This day was proclaimed by the general assembly of indigenous peoples in 1994 and intends to strengthen and to protect the rights of indigenous peoples.
On this note we hope that the rights of all indigenous peoples worldwide, who in most cases represent minorities and are often endangered fringe groups, will finally be respected from the governments.
Through our work with the Living Museums we attempt to support the self-determination ot the indigenous peoples in Namibia, to help them find the way into modern society.
Annual General Meeting
In June 2013 the LCFN and the associated foundation LCN e.V. held their AGM in Lehmke, in the beautiful Luneburg Heath. Here the hitherto successes, challenges and future plans of our charitable organisation were discussed by numerous members from Germany and Namibia.
Successes of the Living Museums
The five Living Museums which are supported by the Living Culture Foundation Namibia work successfully also in times of a stagnating tourism industry due to the European economic crisis.
Altogether 180 actors within the Living Museums received more than 10.000 visitors in 2012, a huge success for the community based, self-managed museums. This did not only considerably improve the livelihood of the actors, but also of their extended families. We estimate that at least 1500 people in Namibia are profiting indirectly from the work of the Living Culture Foundation.
The Living Museum of the Ju/‘Hoansi: This Museum is the first Living Museum in Namibia. It represents the hunter-gatherer culture of the San. Main focuses here are the bush walk (nutrition and medicine) traditional hunting methods, singing and dancing, jewellery production.
- Opening: June 2004
- Actors: 75
- Visitors and Income 2012
- Visitors: 2611
- Income: N$ 750.265
Living Museum of the Mafwe: The Mafwe Museum is the second Living Museum in Namibia. Here the actors illustrate the Central-African Bantu culture. Main focuses are fishing, agriculture, traditional ceremonies and dances.
- Opening: February 2008
- Actors: 21
- Visitors and Income 2012
- Vistors: 848
- Income: N$ 127.773
Living Museum of the Damara: Our third Museum in Namibia. Here parts of the almost vanished Damara culture have been reconstructed. Main focuses are traditional healing methods, the Damara iron-smith masters, games and dances from old times.
- Opening: Februar 2010
- Actors: 30
- Visitors and Income 2012
- Visitors: 6485
- Income: N$ 421.715
Living Hunter’s Museum of the Ju/‘Hoansi: Number 4: The Hunter’s Museum north of Tsumkwe depicts the culture of the Ju/‘Hoansi-San. Especially the bush walks, the experience of a traditional hunt, singing and dancing and tracking are of great interest.
- Opening: February 2010
- Actors: 25
- Visitors and Income 2012
- Visitors: 477
- Income: N$ 107.295
Living Museum of the Mbunza: And last but not least the Living Museum of the Mbunza, our fifth and our youngest Museum in Namibia. Here the Okavango culture is revived. Main focuses are fishing, agriculture, traditional black-smith, traditional cuisine and pottery.
- Opening: October 2011
- Actors: 25
- Visitors and Income 2012
- Visitors: 462
- Income: N$ 60.590
After mainly concentrating on quality control in the existing museums in 2012, we again focus on initiating new Living Museums during 2013 and 2014.
At the beginning of September we will embark on an intensive project tour into the isolated Kaokoveld to discuss the possibilities of developing Living Museums with 4 or 5 Ovahimba groups, after our last Ovahimba project close to Opuwo unfortunately die not realise.
Furthermore we have interested groups of Nama and Topnaar, who we would like support with the idea of the Living Museums.
Additionally we would like to improve our guide training. The guides and translators will receive training in order to pass on their knowledge to the visitors. The idea is to organise role plays in which guides of one museum take over the role of a visitor at another museum, putting himself in the position of the guests and learning which information is important and/or is lacking.
Well trained guides are essential to achieve a high quality of the Museums. Main focus will of course remain on the interactive experience, but with the help of presentation boards and well trained guides a basic historical / ethnological knowledge can be passed on.
In 2013 and 2014 we will also invest further into marketing of the Living Museums. New information boards will be put up and we will invest in broshures and internet marketing.
We will keep you updated!
Living Culture Foundation Namibia
LINKS: Indigenous people
Tag der indigenen Völker
5 YEARS LCFN - 5 Living Museums in Namibia
At the end of July 2012 we celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Living Culture Foundation Namibia. Our young organisation of voluntary members has done a lot during these five eventful years. The most obvious result: 5 very differing museums throughout Namibia, which all follow the same goal: To preserve the tradition and culture of the people of Namibia and to pass it on to younger generations.
We would like to take the opportunity of the fifth anniversary to share some information on the idea (philosophy) and on the success of the Living Museums.
1. Some thoughts regarding the concept of the Living Museums
If an old man dies in Africa, a whole library burns to the ground.
An old African proverb states: „If an old man dies in Africa, a whole library burns to the ground”. This proverb refers to the oral nature of the cultures on the African continent. The ancient traditional knowledge has not been written down in books, but is passed on orally from one generation to the next. This knowledge is saved in the cultural memory of the people. Without a circulation within the respective language group this knowledge is forgotten and might be lost for ever.
The loss of the old knowledge
This process is not of theoretic nature, but is practically traceable in many language groups of Namibia. Especially through the process of colonisation and apartheid the disappearance of the own traditions took place to an extent where the cultural identity of some language groups declined. The high unemployment rate and the consequently poor perspectives can result in accumulating social problems.
The Living Museum
The concept of the Living Museum sees itself as an attempt to reverse this process. A Living Museum creates a new perspective. On the one hand an income is generated; on the other hand the ancient knowledge is passed on to younger generations. One can say: the Living Museum acts as data carrier for the old knowledge. The traditional culture that is being forgotten elsewhere is circulated within the Living Museum.
Cultural and ecological sustainability – the Living Museum as cultural and nature conservation project
The people in Namibia that establish a Living Museum with the help of the Living Culture Foundation, create with their own strength and without financial help from outside a sustainable project within the tourism sector of Namibia - so to say from scratch. By making use of traditional and natural resources the conscience for the ecological sustainability is supported. The Living Museums point out to international visitors and to members of their own community that their culture and their natural surrounds are important and worth protecting.
The San for example: The „oldest peoples of man kind“ (titled by Spiegel Online - Jäger und Sammler: San-Kultur soll 44.000 Jahre alt sein - SPIEGEL ONLINE) are hunter-gatherers of the Kalahari. Through the Living Museums they have found a way to protect and preserve their own culture, which centrally focuses on the interaction between men and nature. It is the Living Museum that gives this aspect the necessary respect, at least for the San themselves, who through the enormous interest of visitors for their traditions, were able to develop a healthy self-respect again. Within the Living Museum nature as such is not protected but the appreciation of nature, the feeling for a just handling of natural resources and especially the understanding of the dependency of mankind on nature.
The success of our philosophy is hard to measure; the financial success of the Living Museums on the other hand is easy to detect.
- In 2011 170 people found permanent employment in the 5 existing Living Museums.
- About 1500 people are profiting from the museums.
- A total of 10370 guests visited the Living Museums in Namibia in 2011.
- An income of about 1.5 Mio N$ (150.000 €) was generated in 2011.
We hope to grant a small insight into the success of our concept of the Living Museums with the following:
1. The Living Museum of the Ju/’Hoansi
Not the LCFN opened this museum but vice versa: The opening og this museum was the initiation of the founding of the Living Culture Foundation Namibia. The Living Museum of the Ju/’Hoansi was inaugurated in 2004 based on an initiative of our member Werner Pfeifer and has developed into a cultural highlight of Namibia. The main focus lies with getting to know the hunter-gatherer culture of the Kalahari San. On the same level guest have the opportunity to learn how the Ju/‘Hoansi-San traditionally light fire, make tools and weapons, and much, much more.
„... Through the work in the Living Museum my life and the life in the village has changed: today about 75 actors work in our museum. All together about 500 people profit from it and are able to buy food, clothes and soap....” Gau Morres N#amce, Living Museum of the Ju/’Hoansi at Grashoek
An unbelievable 2653 visitors found their way into the Living Museum of the Ju/’Hoansi in 2011. The museum made a direct turnover of 586.659 N$ (nearly 60.000 €), the souvenir shop generated an additional income – also for people not directly involved with the museum – of over 300.000 N$ (about 30.000 Euro) in the same year.
2. The Living Museum of the Mafwe
Early in 2008, half a year after the formation of the LCFN in Tangermünde (Germany) and Windhoek, we were able to celebrate the opening of the Living Museum of the Mafwe in the Caprivi Strip. In stark contrast to the Ju/‘Hoansi here a Bantu culture is the focus of the museum. The Mafwe concentrate mainly on fishing and agricultural activities but also present traditional dancing ceremonies in their museum situated under huge Baobab trees.
„... The Living Museum is a source of income for our community and preserves the traditional knowledge. The village school sends us kids to learn about the old culture here at the museum and they are fascinated...“ Elisabeth Madima, Living Museum of the Mafwe
21 people, especially older women and their kids and grandchildren work in the Mafwe Museum. The museum received 611 visiors in 2011. The total income generated added up to nearly 100.000 N$ (10.000 €).
3. The Living Museum of the Damara
Together with the Bushmen the Damara belong to the oldest nations in Namibia. Their original culture was a mixture of an archaic hunter-gatherer culture and herders of cattle, goats and sheep. Due to their loose social structures the Damara were not able to defend themselves against aggressors during the colonization of Namibia. This is one of the reasons why their culture has to a great extent fallen into oblivion. Within the framework of the Living Museum of the Damara an attempt was made to reconstruct the ‚lost culture’ of the Damara. Here the visitors have the unique opportunity to get to know the fascinating traditional culture of the Damara, thus contributing to the preservation of the culture as well as to a regular income for the Damara community that built the museum.
„... The Toatatide Damara Museum stand for our proudness of our traditional culture that has nearly been completely forgotten. The Living Museum is my lifes dream...“ Hans Bernhard /Naobeh, Living Museum of the Damara
Strategically situated on one of the main touristic routes the Damara Museum has with 6500 guests received the highest number of visitors. 25 Damara work here and had a turnover of 421.715 N$ (Ca 42.000 €) in 2011.
4. The Living Hunter’s Museum of the Ju/’Hoansi
In 2010 the LCFN together with the Ju/’Hoansi opened an independent subsidiary further east in the Tsumkwe region, where the San are still allowed to hunt. Here the traditional bow hunt with poisoned arrows, the digging out of spring hares and porcupines, the snare catching of guinea fowls, khoraans and other birds for the daily hunt for food has never been terminated. The San living in this area are actually the only ones of their cultural group that are officially allowed to still hunt traditionally. Thus they still master the art of reading tracks and are delighted if visitors show special interest herein. The opportunity for visitors to be able to take part in such a hunt is also unique. An English speaking Ju/'Hoansi accompanies the guests and translates everything the hunters are showing and explaining.
„... When the visitors come to see our culture, they learn but our kids learn as well. That is very important for our culture...“
!Gamace N!aici, Living Hunter’s Museum of the Ju/‘Hoansi
Due to the remoteness of the region the Hunter’s Museum will always remain an insider tip and will never be in the position to “handle” the main visitor’s stream to Namibia. Nevertheless the museum received over 400 international guests, including a professional film team in 2011. The turnover of the museum employing about 25 actors accumulated to over 85.000 N$ (8500€).
5. The Living Museum of the Mbunza
After three years of initial building-up work the newest edition to the Living Museums finally opened at the end of October 2011: Mbunza Living Museum. An essential part of the interactive program of the Living Museum is the demonstration (and preservation) of the fishing and land cultivating culture of the Mbunza. The traditional presentation covers everything from everyday life (traditional cuisine, fire making, basket and mat weaving, etc.) to bushwalks and fishing and finally to highly specialised techniques like blacksmithing, pottery and the making of drums.
„...by presenting our historical culture we are able to generate an income and at the same time we are a school for te guests and for our own community....“ Sebron Ruben, Living Museum of the Mbunza
During the last two months of 2011 150 tourists and scholars from Rundu visited the museum with its 25 actors. 9100 N$ (900 €) were generated.
We are asking you for support!
Now it is the duty of the LCFN to guarantee the economic success of the Living Museum. We have to start with the preparations for the opening ceremony and more importantly we have to market the museum in a way that would allow as many visitors as possible to get to know the Kavango culture. Road signs have to be produced and positioned, brochures are to be printed and banners are to be put up at lodges and guest houses. Furthermore a bush toilet and an informational display case have to be put up. For the opening national TV and radio stations as well as local newspapers are invited. The project will be introduced to tour operators and travel guides.
For these initiatives for the opening of the Mbunza Living Museum the LCFN needs about 5000 €. We are taking this opportunity to ask you to be part of this opening and to support the Kavango with a direct, target-orientated donation.
Living Culture Namibia e.V.
Account number: 3060011566
Branch code: 81050555
Reason for transfer: Opening of the Living Museum of the Mbunza
IBAN: DE26 8105 0555 3060 0115 66
Supporters from Germany can deduct their donation from taxes. The Living Culture Namibia e. V. is charitable and specially, listed in the register of associations of the district court of Stendal - VR 976, tax number: 108/142/01673, Revenue Office Stendal.
LCFN member Angela Romig will represent our foundation this week end (05.07 – 07.07) at the African and Caribbean Cultural Festival at the Rebstockpark in Frankfurt.
Aim of the event is: “... to enable personal encounters and to contribute to integration.” This motto thus suits our Living Museums and the projects that LCFN stand for in Namibia.
At our stand the philosophy and the current projects of LCFN are explained. For the small festival visitors a bow shooting competition is organised and the winner can claim his own original Bushman bow! Thus the culture of the traditional hunter- gatherers is playfully introduced to the children and maybe an interest to visit the Living Museums in Namibia is sparked with one or the other.
Should you be in the vicinity please visit our stand!
More information can be found on the festival’s website:
In June a German film crew and the well-known host and scientist Ranga Yogeshwar filmed at both Living Museums of the Ju/’Hoansi. Material for mainly two broadcastings was shot:
Die große Show der Naturwunder ARD (The big Show of Natural Wonders ARD)
- Broadcast date: Thursday, 11.08.2011 from 20h15 – 21h45
- Featuring about 10 minutes of the expedition followed by a discussion.
The show combines certain aspects of science (physical science, ethnology, futurology) with entertainment factor of an ARD show at peek time. For this purpose, Ranga Yogeshwar, who is hosting the show together with Frank Elstner, went on an expedition in Namibia and put himself into the lives of the traditional Ju/’Hoansi in our Living Museum. You can find more information directly at ARD Naturwundershow.
Quarks & Co WDR
- Broadcast date: Tuesday, 30.08.2011 from 21h00 – 21h45
- 45-minute feature on the Living Museums of the Ju/’Hoansi in Namibia
The well-known and established Quarks & Co certainly is one of the most popular science shows in German television. Host Ranga Yogeshwar is an expert in demonstrating the most complex contexts clearly and comprehensively to his viewers. This broadcast on the Bushmen addresses the history and the origin of the traditional hunter-gatherer people and draws the connection to their present situation in the modern Namibia. At the same time the concept of the Living Museums is introduced and questioned. Is it possible to give them a future in the modern world with this concept? Can the Living Museum save part of their culture? More information can soon be found at Quarks & Co.
Filmproduction with Ranga Yogeshwar
The German production company First Entertainment, which amongst others works for ARD and WDR in Germany, visited both Living Museums of the Ju/‘Hoansi at the beginning of June. After the pre-inspection tour in February during which the film team was quickly won over by the professionalism and friendliness of the Bushmen at Grashoek and at the “Hunter’s Museum” north of Tsumkwe, it became evident that filming would take place at both museums.
News from the Ovahimba
LCFN-members Sonja Iwanek-Kirchner and Nicolaas Kirchner, who are presently supporting a group of Ovahimba west of Opuwo to establish a Living Museum, visited the developing museum village with six „test“ guests and report on the developments and the challenges still facing the project.
In April 2011 Melanie Stenger conducted a project on her own, which was financed with 2000 € by the ING-DiBa AG. She decided on a topic, which seems to be a routine for us, but not for a majority of people living in the rural areas of Namibia: hygiene. The plan was to teach kids some basic hygienic measures like washing hands and brushing teeth thus strengthening their awareness for the importance hygiene and a healthy nutrition.
New Pictures from the Damara Museum
We have new pictures from the Damara Living Museum in Namibia close to Twyfelfontein. Photographer Jeanette Smusch gave her very best and created some really nice Star pictures.
Check it out here
29.04.2011A traditional Damara hut from our Living Museum close to Twyfelfontein – ordered by the famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner - is traveling around half the globe – from the Namibian Desert to the South Tyrol Alps. Read here how it all came about.
Reinhold Messner and the Damara
Workshop with the Kavango
As announced during the previous year the first LCFN-project tour of 2011 took us to the beautiful Okavango River close to Rundu where we had organised a small workshop to support the project group of the Mbunza Living Museum with the development of their Living Museum at Samsitu.