Tracking Through Time: Documentation of the Material Culture of the Omaheke Ju|’hoansi, Namibia

By Velina Ninkova | 15 October 2021

The Omaheke Ju|’hoansi are a group of landless post-foragers of east central Namibia. Over the course of the 20th century, they have lost access to land and resources and currently subside from a mixed economy on the fringes of the Namibian society. Pressure from development initiatives, other groups and climate degradation threaten the survival of their material and symbolic culture.

In collaboration with community members, the project aims to document the Ju|’hoansi’s material culture in four domains: weapons and tools for foraging, clothes and adornment, musical instruments, and religious objects. Each of these domains constitutes a vital part of Ju|’hoan daily life. Practices associated with these artifacts also play a central role in some of the Ju|’hoansi’s most important social institutions, such as food sharing, gifts exchange, and initiation ceremonies. The PI and community members will video and photo document the making, use and meaning of objects. The data will also include fieldnotes and audio-recorded interviews.

 

PI:
Velina Ninkova

Location of Research:
Omaheke region in east-central Namibia

 

Top Banner Image: Women returning from a trip to the bush, Skoonheid resettlement farm, Namibia. Photo: Velina Ninkova