Nyae Nyae and N≠a Jaqna Conservancies, both run by the indigenous San communities resident there, have formally requested the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) Minister, the Hon Pohamba Shifeta to visit and support them in addressing issues that threaten the conservancies.
In August 2016, the Minister said he would not tolerate abuse of communities in conservancies by invaders who want to cheat them out of their land and vital and scarce natural resources.
OrigiNations is an organisation focused on indigenous communities around the world and how these communities, especially the youth, deal with the challenge of reconciling their cultural heritage with the demands and radical transformation brought about by modernity. During a recent visit to Namibia, they went to the Nyae Nyae Conservancy in and around Tsumkwe, which is managed by the indigenous Ju/’hoansi San community, met with elders, the conservancy, community and the Nyae Nyae Foundation, one of the supporting NGOs in the area.
The Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) as well as the new National Development Plan 5 (NDP 5) that was launched at the end of May this year speaks of working together, but also becoming self-sustainable as a nation. The San have been working towards this goal for years. Within the last month alone the community is seeing the fruits of years of support and investment in the San communities in Nyae Nyae and Na Jaqna Conservancies paying off. This is a testament to their hard work and a clear outcome of the consistent dedicated work of the San to improve their livelihoods and situation.
Water Development in Nyae Nyae Conservancy has taken many years. The Conservancy is responsible for approximately half the village and game water points in the area, which means over 20 water points spread throughout the nearly 9,000km² of the area.
The first priority was to ensure that boreholes functioned and solar submersible pumps were slowing introduced. However, with over 1000 elephants in the area water points were often destroyed by elephants looking for water, so water point had to be protected from the elephants as well as the maintenance of game water points to ensure they have access to water and keep elephants away from villages.
What started out as a micro-project 30 years ago, has evovled into a viable way of generating income for the community at Nyae Nyae. The truly artisanal craft makers of the Nyae Nyae Conservancy produce traditional jewellery using ostrich egg shells. This jewellery is of such an exceptional quality that it is now being exported and sold in Europe.
In April 2009, cattle farmers from outside Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest unlawfully and without authority, entered our area. The Chief has never given any of them permission to settle or graze here, but many refuse to leave and are still grazing their livestock illegally every day on our lands.
The Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest II Project have taken an pro-active approach to dealing with fires in their communal areas with tangible visible positive results.
In 2012, 50% of the whole Nyae Nyae area burnt, resulting in the loss of life as well as damage to rangeland, wildlife and the environment through CO² emissions. The late hot fires of September and October are particularly damaging and uncontrollable, causing widespread devastation. The new approach taken in Nyae Nyae fits with the San cultural tradition of selective burning in the cooler months of May-July. This allows the fires to be better controlled and the fuel load reduced to prevent the later and more damaging hot fires.
Recently seven San agricultural and livestock champions from Nyae Nyae and N≠a Jaqna Conservancy visited the “collective style” commercial farm, Krumhuk, just outside Windhoek. Krumhuk operates on bio-dynamic, organic and holistic management principles that the champions are introducing in their villages in the Otjozondjupa Region.