Work package 1 (WP1) will focus on collecting cultural expressions in the three selected language groups mainly via engagement with NUST students and communities in the Omaheke, Khomas, Ohangwena and Omusati regions. The project will make use of the extensive experience of the Faculty of Human Sciences in the field of linguistics and culture. The data collection will focus on intangible cultural expressions such as wedding ceremonies, folklore and proverbs. NUST will firstly liaise with the abovementioned stakeholders to discuss the approach and involve them as much as possible. The data collection will follow three phases.
The first phase will be desk study and data collection training. Secondary sources such as repositories, books, etc. need to be researched. The desk study will make use of national and international materials. The project with actively engage with the stakeholders to collect data.
The leader of WP1 will select and train 30 NUST students from the language groups to be part of the work package. Disabled students will be given preference and a participation of at least 50% female students will be targeted. An essential element of this training is to collect data in a way that it can be used for the repository (WP2), cultural products (WP3) and awareness raising purposes (WP4). The students will be trained in using recorders (video and audio) for data collection. The training will focus on the importance of cultural heritage, qualitative data collection methods and analysis. It will further deal with how to engage with the communities in a respective and sustainable way. For reasons of sustainability, the training will be an integral part of the existing courses at the Faculty of Human Sciences. Lessons learnt from the project will feed into these courses and ensure cultural sensitive ways of data collection in the future. Based on the materials collected during the desk study, a gap analysis will be conducted to ascertain what data is missing.
Data will be collected through Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) in the Khomas region where representatives of all three indigenous groups are living. Students will gather data through key cultural carriers/elders in the region. The Khomas region is chosen for logistical and cost-efficient purposes due to its close proximity to NUST. All selected indigenous groups have representatives in the region. The main focus will be the existing gaps but also verification of the collected data.
Teams of 3-4 students will collect data in identified communities in the other three regions: Omaheke, Ohangwena and Omusati. The work package will result in a collection of documents, videos, recordings and drawings describing and explaining folktales and wedding ceremonies in the selected languages. The data collection will also offer insight into the core
Each of the three language groups consists of various dialects. There might therefore be some differences in terms of cultural expressions and language. The WP1 team will pay attention to this and will try to go for the most common interpretation.
WP2 will focus on digitalization, archiving, protection and preservation of cultural expressions to make them accessible for wider target population and all other interested parties. The project will make use of the NUST Library. The work package will be led by the Digital Collections Librarian and will be supported by staff members who represent the cultural groups. They will work in close collaboration with UNESCO and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and the National Heritage Council. The Digital Collections Librarian Leader will to some extent be involved in WP1 to ensure that the collected data can be used for the repository. The NUST library is already hosting the Digital Namibian Archive (DNA) established jointly with the support of UTAH Valley University (United States of America) in conjunction with the National Archives. The DNA offers a rich open online resource that reflects the diversity of voices and cultural stories of Namibian people. The urgency driving the establishment of the archive was the aging of individuals who hold the region's stories of strength, survival and struggle for political self-determination. These stories may disappear with the passing of elders who hold the oral traditions of the indigenous peoples and the personal stories of individuals who participated in the former South West Africa's struggle for freedom. The DNA preserves images of independence, photo negatives of the colonial period, documents of transition, and other artefacts. The archive gathers additional resources on indigenous peoples, former colonisers, the political resistance, and the transition to independence. The original project effectively came to an end in 2012 and the NUST library decided to maintain it. This action would build on and expand the DNA; ensuring more of Namibia’s cultural heritage is preserved for future generations.
The gathered data will first be checked on copyrights. The WP2-team will liaise with UNESCO, the Ministry of Education Arts and Culture and the National Heritage Council to discuss what needs to be digitalised and archived in the DNA but also to ensure that this exercise is done in line with National ICH formats and standrards. Further it will be assessed wat can be used for the National Annual Cultural Heritage week which is organized by the Ministry. The selected data will be digitalised and preserved in a repository (DNA) at the NUST Library, which has an open access platform. Finally, it will be uploaded on the DNA site.
The team will add metadata to the recordings, videos, images, etc. to make it searchable online; and will add copyright data to the uploaded records.
The cultural products that are co-designed by the project team and participants in WP3 will, after finalization also be included in the repository.
Certain cultural expressions will be made available for the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and the Annual Cultural Heritage week.
WP3 will focus on developing a number of cultural products, based on the cultural expressions collected in WP1 and co-designed by representatives of the cultural groups. The main thrust in the development of these products will be to make them attractive to the target group ensuring revitalization of the languages and embedded cultural aspects. The work package will be led by the Faculty of Human Sciences who will assign a NUST staff member with experience in publishing cultural expressions. This staff member will, in co-operation with an external consultant and NUST students, develop the cultural products. The leader of WP3 will be involved also in WP1 as data collection will necessarily inform the products. WP3 leader will submit requests for specific information to WP leader 1. The developed cultural products will be the main tools/resources for the awareness raising activities in WP4. One important aspect of the editing of these cultural products is to make them current and to ensure that they are in line with the current societal values. Some folktales might not be very gender-sensitive or incorporate values that are not contemporary. In those cases, the material will need to be revised.
The following products/publications are planned:
- Three publications on wedding processions on the three indigenous groups
- Three publications on traditional folklore tales/indigenous stories on the three indigenous groups Three cultural plays on the three indigenous groups Twelve academic publications.
- Three conference presentations
3.1 PUBLICATIONS ON WEDDING RITUALS
3.2 PUBLICATIONS OF FOLKTALES OF THE THREE LANGUAGE GROUPS
The team will monitor the collected data on folktales during the data collection phase and will identify topics for publication. Based on the identified topics, further data will be collected. This will lead to a draft script for a publication. The publication will describe the various cultural aspects of folktales in a contemporary way. Each publication will be written in 2 languages (English and Oshiwambo, Otjiherero or Namibian Khoe Khoe).
3.3 PLAY SCRIPTS BASED ON THE WEDDINGS FROM THE WEDDING CEREMONY BOOK
Based on the collected data, three play scripts based on the folk tales and wedding ritual will be developed under supervision of a play director/consultant in cooperation with the NUST Drama Society comprising of NUST students.
3.4 ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS
Based on the collected data 12 academic publications will be written on this project and three conference presentations will be conducted. Possible topics are: impact of this project on language revitalization amongst NUST students, cultural comparison of wedding ceremonies; cultural comparison of folktales and the effect of co-design on language revitalization. This will be led by WP1 coordinator. Students and, to some extent community members, will be part of the writing team thereby increasing their knowledge on the topic.
WP4 will focus on implementing awareness raising activities which will be led by the Office of Student Affairs at NUST in close cooperation with the NUST FM community radio station. Both offices are working frequently with and for students who are an important target group for this project. The following actions are planned:
- NUST Cultural festival
- NUST FM community radio cultural shows
- Travelling exhibitions on indigenous culture and languages
- Social media publications
The awareness raising activities will mainly take place in the Khomas Region, but the project will also have outreach activities to the Omaheke, Ohangwena and Omusati Regions. Some activities, such as NUST FM, and social media publications will have national coverage. Besides this, the project team will actively work on getting national media coverage for its activities.
Work Package 5 will focus on advocacy. Various strategies are used for this. NUST will involve key stakeholders in this action through the Advisory committee. UNESCO and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture will be very much involved at all stages of the project. One of the main tasks for the Advisory committee is to discuss and to provide guidance on how the outcome of this project can assist in doing advocacy on the preservation of indigenous languages and cultures. Some advocacy activities have been planned: NUST will invite key stakeholders for the various events; NUST representatives will advocate for culture on various platforms such as National conferences, seminars, workshops et cetera. At the end of the Project, NUST in collaboration with the members of the Advisory committee will organize a conference. The conference will focus on: (1) disseminating the outcome and lessons learnt from this project, (2) Tying the lessons learnt and outcome to the other activities in the Intangible Cultural Heritage area, (3) developing a roadmap towards integration of indigenous culture and languages into national development plans. The conference will be inviting researchers for the purposes of disseminating new forms of preserving and promoting indigenous knowledge.