Our Retirementor, Jeunesse Park, has shown herself, through her writings, to have diverse interests – all directed to conservation and preservation. In her article, Jeunesse explains why saving an ancient culture is saving ourselves.
I recently joined an exceptional initiative that supports the continued survival of some of the earliest humans; they have the oldest DNA and are the last integrated hunter-gatherer community with a deep knowledge of the earth, plants and environment.
Through my work in this field, and as a human who hopes for a better future for our species, I feel strongly that helping these indigenous people, whose connection to Earth is ancient and valuable, can teach us so much.
Save the San
Save the San recognises Khoisan people as the original inhabitants of Southern Africa. The Ju/’hoansi San, or Bushmen, of the Nyae Nyae Conservancy in Namibia, are the final integrated San community allowed to hunt and gather for their survival. Sadly, they are extremely vulnerable, largely owing to an exceptionally low level of education: only 1% complete high school and none attend university!
This remote Nyae Nyae region has extremely inadequate school facilities that are hostile and alien to the community. Taken away from their families to attend school in another language, the Ju/’hoansi children are often confronted by wild animals as they walk long distances to school, and once there are bullied and intimidated. They have no transport and there is little access to building materials, school supplies, blankets, basic foods and support.
Over the last 11 years, Save the San has consulted and researched with this community, which realises the only way to preserve their identity and sustain their culture is through mother tongue education and skills, taught in early years, to survive in the modern world.
We are already training eight San teachers and the project will provide transport and water tank trailers, as well as support food gardens to enhance school attendance and the ability to learn. Save the San will cover salaries for matrons, janitors and other staff and the Ministry of Education will pay the teachers.
(You may enjoy reading Patricia Glyn’s book entitled: What Dawid knew – click here)