Co-designing Cultural technologies to support the well-being of urban San Youth.

Posted in Ongoing Student Projects

By Maria Kauhondamwa ( Masters )

The Khoisan speaking community is the smallest community in Namibia with 1.3 % of the total population.  Khoisan speaking people are considered to be marginalised. A major problem that Khoisan speakers have to contend with is the popular stereotypes associated with them. The majority of the numerous labels used to refer to them (including “San” and “Bushmen”) are etymologically pejorative and evoke a whole series of negative connotations. A number of Khoisan speaking youth have been leaving their rural homes in search for better education and living standards in the city. As a result, migrants who have been growing up amongst their tribes are now in a metropole, far away from home and the family. A high rate of school dropout was recorded among Khoisan speakers and being left out, bullied, discriminated and hungry.  In 2014 Khoisan students in Windhoek came together and formed a non–profit organisation called //Ana-Jeh San Youth Project (Trust). The name //Ana-Jeh is a word derived from! Kung, one of the Khoisan dialects meaning  “new light". The main aim is to promote the right to education and to preserve the cultural heritage of the San community through outreach to schools in the San communities and to conduct empowerment workshops with the youth in Windhoek. In support of this initiative we are exploring different cultural technologies bridging the gap between the Khoisan tradition and the modern world in order to promote the well-being of urban Khoisan speakers. According to the Oxford dictionary ‘well-being’ refers to “the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy”.  In this thesis we are particularly concerned with the psychological well-being of the Khoisan speakers in an attempt to re-establish a feeling of agency and self-confidence among the youth.