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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.

Intercultural contact in the Living MuseumsIntercultural contact in the Living Museums

2. Facts

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.

The Living Museum of the Ju/'Hoansi-SanThe Living Museum of the Ju/'Hoansi-San

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 €).

The Living Museum of the  MafweThe Living Museum of the Mafwe

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.

The Living Museum of the  DamaraThe Living Museum of the Damara

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€).

The Little Hunters Museum of the Ju/’HoansiThe Little Hunters Museum of the Ju/’Hoansi

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.

The Living Museum of the MbunzaThe Living Museum of the Mbunza

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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

×

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

×

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

×

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

×

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

×

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

Visit 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

Visit 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

Visit 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

Visit Living 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

Visit 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

Visit 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

Museum besuchen

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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