San Getting into Mainstream Economics

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK An exhibition, displaying the inherent creative skills and artistic prowess of the San people, was officially opened on Tuesday by the minister of Environment and Tourism at the Namibia National Art Gallery. Four trained San male artists, through an advanced creative training workshop under the auspices of the ministry of Education, are currently exhibiting their unique works. Income from sales will be ploughed back into their community at Tsumkwe. “This workshop was part of the government’s commitment to the San people to introduce them to the skills that will help integrate them into the economic mainstream of the country and to introduce them to the diverse choices available for income generation,” said Willem Konjore, Minister of Environment and Tourism, who officially opened the exhibition set up under the theme, Together as One. Konjore, who was officiating on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister Dr Libertina Amathila, stressed the fact that the workshop was held to supplement the role of the government in introducing the San people to livelihood projects that will enable them to thrive, without necessarily abandoning their traditions. “Under the auspices of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, various training programmes have been designed for the San people to gain technical know-how in various fields of self-reliance and economic emancipation. For far too long, the San people have been denied the right to or opportunity of education as well as the right to information and advancement due to the nature of their way of living and surviving,” lamented the minister. He also referred to the fact that the San people are keen to seize any opportunity that comes their way, to make a success of it and to contribute to the building of the country’s economy. “This exhibition is of a unique nature because it showcases wire craft designs done by the San people from Tsumkwe. The products that we are viewing are the result of hard work acquired during training. It shows the commitment of the San people and what they are capable of doing towards their self-advancement. Some of the products on display are images of wild animals such as giraffes, vases and clay pots, attractive products to tourists,” said Konjore. In the minister’s opinion, the empowerment of the San people using their knowledge and skills to produce products will help them to start with income-generating projects and to become self-reliant. “The government is thankful to organizations such as EAWA Production for assisting it in developmental initiatives by providing opportunities such as this to marginalized people. They also offer opportunities to the unemployed to become self-employed,” he concluded.