We have spent the past two days in a tent in the Kalahari dessert. Since driving from the city of Gaborone, we have hit long open stretches of the Kalahari with many a cow, donkey, goat and ostrich crossing…and we got a glimpse of a giraffe family!
Our stop here has connected us with a few organizations that work with the San tribal group.
A quick history lesson on the San tribe…they are the original inhabitants of Southern Africa. Their language consists of various clicking and tones. Often they are referred to as “bushmen” since they live deep in the Kalahari and have a hunter/gatherer lifestyle. Unfortunately, they have been forced off their hunting land and their tribes have been marginalized in society.
The organizations we met with have been advocates for the San tribes. They have sought to empower the San people through education, and training the next generation to conserve resources, speaking the English language, and addressing health issues like HIV and tuberculosis.
Gantzi Craft is run by a woman from the San tribe. They provide supplies and training in making various native crafts. Some of the jewelry is made from ostrich eggs. The use of copper and leather is common and used to make jewelry, belts and toys.
Kutu Art supports the San through art. Started more than 30 years ago, artists have had a chance to have access to painting materials. Their cultural identity comes out through their paintings. Their original African paintings have recently gained international attention.
Another organization works with a tribe to weave traditional African baskets. We saw the process, met one of the weavers and saw the finished product.
The Yada Project seeks to make connections in ways that will make a difference. Each time we travel we are grateful to come in contact with such groups and to see the difference they are making. There is much needed restorative work happening here among the San people and others. We look forward to seeing what we will encounter next.