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.