Reclaiming the ‡Khomani San Identity Project
South Africa’s ‡Khomani San/Bushmen have a long and rich history – indeed they are viewed by many anthropologists as South Africa’s last remaining first people and now have a long awaited opportunity to reclaim their power and identity. We are seeking to support them in these efforts.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP), once the home and heartland of the Bushmen, was proclaimed in 1931, and therefore those Bushmen living in the Park were forced into service by the new Park Management or evicted. The community dispersed to all four corners of the subcontinent and found themselves marooned in a modern world which was not only alienating but scary. Wholly dependent upon their environment for their very existence on a physical, emotional and spiritual level, they were truly uprooted. The Park management had no idea what they’d lost, whether due to ignorance or lack of a heartfelt need to preserve cultural heritage along with the environment, seeing one as separate from the other.
Much transpired from 1994 during South Africa’s quest for freedom leading up to 1999 when the Promised Land was legally transferred back to the Bushmen again. Getting their land back gave this scattered group a flicker of hope. Sadly, however, along with the land came a variety of scavengers, including shady bureaucrats and ignorant do-gooders, all showing the community their ways, and never sincerely considering the ways of the ‡Khomani San, or considering that true change can only be sustained by momentum set alight in the hearts of individuals with a common goal.
In August of this year however, after decades of being told what to think, do and decide, a group of wise and knowledgeable community members decided to take their fate back into their own hands. They met in a protected space where they feel connected, rooted and supported by an environment that makes them whole: the !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park, discussing specific ways to reclaim their dignity, their ancient knowledge on self-governance, and how to resist the malevolent forces from both within and outside the community.
Please help keep this momentum going. Below is a list of practical needs:
Transport to and from the park for meeting purposes.
Food to sustain the group during meetings.
Simple administrative infrastructure e.g. phones for communication.
Administrative and legal costs for registering the group as a legal entity.
We envision that this assembly of likeminded individuals will give birth to identifying the real problems within the wider community, and will open the door to find grounded, practical solutions that are inclusive and truly environmental and economically sustainable.
Help us to help the ‡Khomani take back their own power and identity!