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:
- Fight against poverty in Namibia
- Preservation of traditional culture
- 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.
Find recent news of the Living Culture Foundation Namibia and the Living Museums.
Since 2009 the LCFN has been trying to set up a project in the form of a living museum with the Khwe San in northern Namibia, unfortunately so far without success. Constantly changing project groups, little motivation and unrealistic demands by the Khwe group members, as well as some failed approaches by external development aid organizations made us think of the project as a failure.
We made a final attempt in January 2020. This was encouraged and financed by the Futouris association from Germany and the Namibian travel agency ATC, which have been supporting the traditional village of the Khwe since 2013. As a project sponsor in Germany, the German travel agency Gebeco is supporting the project.
This year a project trip to visit two of the LCFN museums was done by Sebastian Dürrschmidt, Vojtěch Šeba, Ralf Kühn (LCFN members), Ingo Kühn and photography student Gustav Lorenz.
The aim was to assess the state and the past development of the Damara museum at Twyfelfountain and the Ovahimba museum located close to Opuwo which had been opened three years ago. This was done in order to find opportunities for possible improvement.
As marketing and consulting organisation the Living Culture Foundation Namibia is also responsable for the proper signposting of the six museums it is supporting in Namibia. The relentless heat of the sun especially up north fades and burns away the colours of the signboard to the extend that we have to replace them every 2 – 3 years.
Here is the travelogue of Ulrike Laupichler, who won the Namibia holiday from the LCFN lottery:
We were greeted at the airport by the driver who took us to Africa on Wheels, where we were able to take over our Toyota Hilux 4x4. The car was equipped with brand new tires and carried us almost 3,000 km through Namibia without any problems
Werner will be at the Living Hunter's Museum and the Ju/'Hoansi-San Museum this week to help with the installation of new signboards and campsite add ons. Of course there will be some community meetings as well. End of the week Werner will also meet with a young group of Damara from the Spitzkoppe who might be interested in establishing a Living Museum. We will keep you updated.
The Living Culture Foundation gives thanks: Last year we had a brilliant fund-raiser by organising a raffle with a 14-day Namibia journey as main prize. The lucky winner of the tour, Ulrike Laupichler enjoyed the 14-day tour through Namibia from 22.01. – 03.02.2018 with her friend Sascha Müller.
A detailed tour review will follow shortly: We want to express our gratitude to the following sponsors, who made this fund-raiser a success:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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.