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San victims of tourism without seeing any benefits

San victims of tourism without seeing any benefits

13 December 2016 – Lashing out at both the establishment and his own subjects, a San Chief last week lambasted the forces which he sees as undermining the Bushmen’s right to benefit from the considerable gains brought in by tourists.

The San (Bushmen) have been the victims of a rapidly growing tourism industry in the Omaheke Region but they have shared very little of the economic benefits and have no control over how their artwork and culture are used, according to Chief Frederick Langman of the ≠Kao-//’aesi Traditional Authority.

The chief was speaking on behalf of the San community at the inauguration of a craft centre for the San in Gobabis. The centre provides them with an operational base to market their own artefacts and to promote their culture.

Alarmed by the growing disunity and tribal infighting among his subjects Chief Langman called for greater unity and resistance to infighting and leadership squabbles.

He said his authority would not stand for “incidents which threaten the interests of the country and infringe upon the rights of its subjects to do business in a peaceful environment.”

Chief Langman did not mince his words when he urged his people to work together as this would be beneficial for the entire Bushmen community if they are united and stop the infighting among themselves.

Taking a more conciliatory tone, the Chief said “If I happen to fall down I would expect a helping hand to pull me up and this is precisely what the Namibian German Special Initiative Programme is doing by helping us to help ourselves.”

The San communities in Namibia all endure extreme poverty, face marginalisation and official indifference, according to some of the statements made at the craft centre’s inauguration.

The Gobabis Craft Centre is intended to function as a tourist business centre, creating a point of contact between San artisans, other community members, and foreign tourists.

About The Author

Daniel Steinmann

Educated at the University of Pretoria: BA (hons), BD. Postgraduate degrees in Philosophy and Divinity. Publisher and Editor of the Namibia Economist since February 1991. Daniel Steinmann has steered the Economist as editor for the past 32 years. The Economist started as a monthly free-sheet, then moved to a weekly paper edition (1996 to 2016), and on 01 December 2016 to a daily digital newspaper at It is the first Namibian newspaper to go fully digital. He is an authority on macro-economics having established a sound record of budget analysis, strategic planning and assessing the impact of policy formulation. For eight years, he hosted a weekly talk-show on NBC Radio, explaining complex economic concepts to a lay audience in a relaxed, conversational manner. He was a founding member of the Editors' Forum of Namibia. Over the years, he has mentored hundreds of journalism students as interns and as young professional journalists. From time to time he helps economics students, both graduate and post-graduate, to prepare for examinations and moderator reviews. He is the Namibian respondent for the World Economic Survey conducted every quarter for the Ifo Center for Business Cycle Analysis and Surveys at the University of Munich in Germany. Since October 2021, he conducts a weekly talkshow on Radio Energy, again for a lay audience. On 04 September 2022, he was ordained as a Minister of the Dutch Reformed Church of Africa (NHKA). Send comments or enquiries to [email protected]