dging the importance of indigenous languages in Namibia, we focus this study on creating solutions to the challenges presented.
A lot of effort has been dedicated to the design and development of distinct technologies to support IK preservation in Namibia. However, at this point none of the tools has been deployed, scaled or integrated within a countrywide system. Moreover, with new opportunities of collaborations worldwide through crowdsourcing technologies local systems need to be designed and developed to facilitate such interactions thereby enhancing the overall cultural heritage process. The government is currently funding the development of a national database system to collect, store and process IK across all the regions. However, existing tools will have to be adjusted to enable integration into the national system or interfacing with the crowd before a final release is possible. These processes will have to be driven by leveraging existing research and technologies to conceptualize and implement an efficient and sustainable system of digital IK preservation.
The extinction of indigenous knowledge faces a great threat in Namibia as the elderly's of the country find it challenging to pass on the knowledge and cultural practices to the youth, mostly due to urban migration. Moreover youth has often not shown interest in learning IK. Recent developments of cultural heritage technologies with Namibian indigenous communities have opened new opportunities for knowledge transfer to the youth. This research is therefore aimed at exploring gaming as the tool that could be deemed effective for use by the youth in order to engage with t IK and cultural practices. Different game strategies and popular games will be investigated as a suitable basis to integrate local cultural heritage.
Namibia, a multilingual nation, like other African countries, comprises of numerous indigenous languages besides the declared national language, English. Only recently has the language policy changed to accommodate indigenous languages in primary formal education. Nevertheless only a few Namibian local languages have written material and no on-line dictionary for local languages exists yet. Thus this research project is going to initiate the development of a digitalized Namibian collaborative online dictionary-like resource for creating, defining and storing indigenous languages. We have chosen to use the design research methodology, which will allow us to employ different design techniques during our project implementation. We will start off by evaluating similar existing web-based open-content platforms to inform our decisions on the most suitable design for a local language open content platform for Namibia. We investigate which data structure is most appropriate for local languages storage and how we will model them and also identify a user interface (UI) suitable for accommodating different users of different age groups and knowledge backgrounds.
Indigenous knowledge and practices of Namibian tribes has lost value and attention among many local youth, especially in urban settings. Besides its cultural heritage value we postulate that indigenous youths could benefit from past wisdom. In this research we explore seductive design as a theoretical approach to entice indigenous urban youth to engage and record cultural insights. We have run two workshops with San youth to gain design inspirations for digital cultural technologies to be used and promoted among the youth. First non-functional prototypes are presented and evaluated.
Projects aimed at the preservation of indigenous knowledge worldwide have attracted various interests from different parties. Based on these interests research has been initiated which lead to the understanding of cultural variations in perception, recognition and meaning making of digital representations. We acknowledge that the recognition of familiar objects depends on the various conceptualizations and significant factors that are being represented. Very few studies have ventured into the field to discover these “significant factors” for indigenous people. Therefore the purpose of this study is to determine the factors related to the 3D representation of trees and time, model it and test the recognition rate amongst indigenous people. Data for the design of the 3D models will be collected via a number of modified visually imaginative games that will be played with the indigenous people in Erindiroukambe and Ohandungwa.
Indigenous knowledge is facing a perceivable threat that could ultimately result in the loss of valuable knowledge paramount for the retention of cultural heritage. Indigenous knowledge is transferred from older generations to younger generations but due to increasing urbanisation, the chain of indigenous knowledge transfer has been faced with a risk of total loss, thus, there is a need to sustain engagement among elders for the transfer of indigenous knowledge. Many elders indicated versatile use of mobile phones to perform their personalities and communication on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and other social networking sites.
There had always been IK holders in the Namibian rural communities. In the Ovambo community and many other communities, IK is always possessed by the village elders as the source of this knowledge that they can later be passed to the next generation during storytelling sessions. IK is vanishing and this IK erosion is a threat in the Namibian rural communities as it becomes not only difficult to conserve what we do not know. Conserving the community without conserving associated IK is just a waste of our community values, as future generations will not benefit from centuries of experimentation and knowledge accumulation by indigenous peoples. Indigenous knowledge is at its edges therefore the main focus for this research is to stimulate the interest of everyone in storytelling by designing an interactive application.
Modernisation has brought with it many benefits to the world in the fields of science, technology and medicine. However, advances in these fields have resulted in the discarding of knowledge that already existed about these fields especially in third world countries. Youth in these countries have embraced the results of modernisation at the expense of their own cultures which possess unique and useful Indigenous Knowledge (IK), as a result, IK is getting lost. Strides have been made in academia and other fields to ensure that IK is preserved for consumption by future generations so that they remain in touch with their cultures. Since many youth are digitally literate, computer technology in the form of 3D virtual environments, has found its use in the preservation of IK. 3D virtual environments are used mainly because they allow the modelling and representation of objects and scenarios with astounding accuracy, thereby making it easy for users to relate to real world items.