Written in the Sand South African San Institute
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This Site is sponsored by
UNESCO'S Division for Cultural Policies in the
Sector for Culture

Needs | Action Plan | Products & Processes | Principles | Mobilising Identity | Using CRA

CRAM

Using CRA

to build a Cultural Resources Management Plan

The CRA is only one step in a process to support the southern Kalahari San in regaining control over their cultural resources and indigenous knowledge. The aim is to use the CRA to help identify areas where the community, the youth, the Communal Property Association (CPA), SASI, the National Park, the local museum, schools, the government and others can all play a role in helping support the management of these valuable resources. One of these resources is the very vulnerable N|u language.

Steps have already been taken to start converting the CRA results into management and training tools. The GIS maps are being used to train San negotiators who are setting out co-operation and joint management arrangements with the National Park. The plant knowledge is being collated to create a book and educational exhibition on ethnobotany that can be used in schools. A full CRM training programme is to be developed in co-operation with youth, elders and political leaders in the community.

The CRM programme links to parallel development and income generating initiatives undertaken by SASI and other NGOs. For example, a crafts development project also produces historically significant body adornments and clothing that is shown in archival photographs. Language learning and teaching can be integrated into each of these activities. Some of these may include:

Museum/Cultural Centre. The CRA has turned up substantial amounts of archival material that has been held in public institutions far from the San themselves. SASI is working to repatriate reprints of photographs and other material either into the hands of the community or at least into accessible institutions such as the local museum. The San elders have said that they would like to build interactive cultural centres to house some of their history and cultural artefacts. Some of the themes would include the genocide against the indigenous peoples by the settlers, the loss of the language, the ‘scientific’ racial research of 1936, the Empire Exhibition, the diaspora and the return to their land.

Education and culture. The community has further identified that the wild lands should be a place for community based education and culture. Women would like to take children into this area to identify and harvest plants. Older men would like to teach young men to track and hunt. A nursery school project has started in one settlement where children are exposed to the N|u and Khoekhoe languages, as well as to bush lore. These skills can be spread throughout the community and could be linked to literacy and numeracy training.

Managing the membership database for the CPA. The genealogy training for the CRA is being used to help CPA staff and volunteers manage the registration list that records all San officially registered on the land claim. This project relies on both archival material and the encyclopaedic memories of elders. Youth must work with a committee of elders to confirm the names and identities of the people on the list, and then work with trainers to scan images and enter all of the data on standard genealogical software.

Scientific training and job creation. Community members would like to use the CRA and accompanying literacy to play a more active role in wildlife research being conducted in KTP. Hunters and plant specialists would like to have their expertise and skills recognised and used in scientific research. This would provide new job opportunities within the community and bridge the gap between western and San paradigms of knowledge and learning.

Schooling. A number of people in the community have started working on plans to incorporate CRA material into a nursery school system that would be active in several villages. Initial discussions with local government have been positive. SASI will be looking at helping apply CRA results to the school system.

Advocacy. The community is likely to want to use information gathered for their own advocacy purposes. These would include pressing for implementation of language rights, increased autonomy over school administration and content, officially renaming places, insisting on accurate ethnographic and historical representation in school materials, tourism and historical displays, etc.

Eco-tourism venture. The community intends using some of the wild land identified in the land claim as a limited access eco-tourism site. The CRM training would involve assisting community members in evaluating the CRA output, identifying relevant information, packaging this for trainees and tourists, and establishing natural resource management techniques based on the traditional indigenous knowledge.
Inside Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, community members would like to develop educational material for tourists and to act as wildlife guides. The CRA outputs are an important resource for this training and implementation.

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