San Youth Launch Inspirational Booklet on Education
With this booklet we hope to motivate and inspire the next generation of San learners and students to follow in the footsteps of the role models from various San communities in Namibia and Botswana presented here, who have persevered in their personal journeys of academic
On Friday, 18 August, the //Ana-Jeh San Trust, a nascent organisation funded by OSISA’s Indigenous Peoples’ Rights programme since 2016, launched an inspirational booklet for young San people. //Ana-Jeh was formed in 2014 by two young !Kung women, Tertu and Kileni Fernando, with the aim of supporting young San girls, in particular, in educational attainment. With current statistics showing that less than 1% of San children enrolled in schools will complete their tertiary education, and research and reporting from the Namibian human rights watchdog NGO, The Legal Assistance Centre, demonstrating that a cruel nexus of bullying, violence, racial and ethnic discrimination and poverty, play a major role in the high drop-out rates for San learners. Poverty, the denigration of their culture and the lack of role models have had, perhaps, an even more insidious effect on the self-esteem of San learners, many of whom have internalised the negative stereotypes which surround the San.
As Namibian Ombudsman, Advocate John Walters, who launched the report, notes in his foreword:
“…many San learners experience discrimination, bullying and violence at their schools, from other learners as well as from some of their teachers who disrespect the San children and disregard the specific challenges they face in their educational journey.”
Kileni Fernando, one of the founders of //Ana-jeh, who is studying towards an LLB, explains the significance of the booklet:
“With this booklet we hope to motivate and inspire the next generation of San learners and students to follow in the footsteps of the role models from various San communities in Namibia and Botswana presented here, who have persevered in their personal journeys of academic achievement and community leadership.”
//Ana-Jeh is a !Kung word meaning “New Light”. With their dedication and commitment to their communities, they are certainly inspirational torch bearers for the future of San youth in southern Africa. As //Ana-Djeh San Trust Chairperson Tertu Fernandu said at the launch: “Yes, it is true we have all these negative things happening around us, but let me educate you about San people. We are known as hunters and gathers. We are entrepreneurs, good leaders, master trackers and much more!
She added: “Some of us here today are wondering how our lives are going to turn out. It is OK to wonder, but I also think it is important to realise that our future is not just something that happens to us. It is up to us to create.”
About the author(s)
Delme is the Indigenous Peoples Rights Senior Programme Officer. Delme was the APM in OSISA’s HIV programme from 2006-2010. Prior to joining OSISA, he was the Coordinator of the AIDS Law Unit of the Legal Assistance Centre, a public interest law centre based in Namibia. Delme was active in the international HIV Treatment Access movement, was a founding trustee of the AIDS Rights Alliance for Southern Africa, a founding member of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, the Pan African Treatment Access Movement and the Collaborative Fund for HIV. Delme holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cape Town, and obtained a bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of the Western Cape.