TUCSIN welcomes, Alexandra Parrs as TUCSIN Tsumkwe’s new Training Manager
She succeeds Mr Bruce Parcher who worked for TUCSIN for more than 5 years. Oma Leon Tsamkgao, previously employed Guide at TUCSIN Tsumkwe Lodge, will act as her assistant.
Alexandra Parrs, is a French/American Sociologist with a Ph.D. from Paris Diderot University. As an academic, she taught in Burma, the Sultanate of Oman, Egypt, Brussels, Washington, and Paris. Much of her work focused on marginalized communities, both as a researcher and an educator with Dom and Nubian communities in Cairo and refugees in Cairo, Rangoon, and Brussels.
Dr Parrs has been in Namibia for one year now, and she has developed an affinity for the San communities. She is particularly interested in how they have been represented in museums and literature. She’s also interested in gender relations, which has been one of her research focuses over the years. She’s an educator with a deep knowledge of educational processes, and as a trained sociologist who can conduct the appropriate research to figure out how to better support a cultural group. Her aim is to continue former Training Manager Bruce Parcher’s monumental work, focusing on education, cultural preservation, and empowerment of Ju/‘hoan communities.
Oma Leon Tsamkgao and Dr Parrs recently started a COVID-19 TASK Force, involving TUCSIN, the Traditional Authority, the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and the Ministry of Health (see San Covid-19 Relief Fund).
Oma Leon Tsamkgao, Project Coordinator
During his youth Leon worked with John Marshall who dedicated his life to making films of the Ju/’hoansi. Later, Leon became a professional guide for tourists and developed an immense knowledge of the environment and the cultures of people living in the area.
Being the son of the traditional leader, Chief Bobo, he is well connected to different stakeholders in the Tsumkwe region. At the same time, he feels obliged in strengthening the Tsumkwe community by working for years with and for the Ju/’hoansi community, participating in many educational and cultural projects.
We need your help to support our COVID-19 TASK Force, involving TUCSIN, the Traditional Authority, the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and the Ministry of Health.
Together, our team goes to the most remote villages and delivers information, masks and thermometers. We also bring educational material to the children who are not returning to school. Our goal is to inform and support the villagers, but also to make sure COVID won’t contribute to further marginalizing them. They are not forgotten and we care about their health and well-being during harsh times.
There is also an outbreak of scabies in the villages, that needs to be addressed urgently. It is a virulent form that cannot be rid of without medicine and affects adults as well as children. read more
Dr Wilfred April, TUCSIN-DAAD Alumnus, initiated a visit together with his group called MALTAS, to Tsumkwe end of July. The aim of this group is to promote academic excellence. In its nature as a business club, continuously improving the lives of young students (at UNAM) and installing a strong sense of discipline and leadership in them.
– Since 2013 Maltas Club
Namibia has been involved in preparing the Tsumkwe Grade 10 and 12’s for their
final examinations. The Club returned to the Tsumkwe Secondary School for their
annual visit in partnership with First National Bank, TUCSIN and Dinapama
Manufacturing & Supplies. The theme of this year’s outreach is rainmakers,
which basically means the Maltas members wish to inspire and bring out the
learners’ soft skills and talent, not only in terms of the academic curricula,
but also support the learners socially and emotionally which is limited in our
Namibian schools. According to the Founder of Maltas, Dr. Wilfred Isak April,
this visit was very special because most of the current Grade12’s was coached
through the Maltas programme two years ago when they were in Grade 10 and they
have shown a big improvement in terms of reading, speaking and listening skills
– This year the Maltas team addressed three key goals namely: Encouraging the learners that they can achieve anything beyond their wildest dreams, to ensure that they are confident with the curriculum to make a success of the examinations and finally to enter the world of work and varsity with self-confidence and plough back to their own community.
The Chief Tsemkxao #Oma and I, along with Dr Sandelowsky, and the Council of Elders have just held a conference. It was an event associated with the celebrations of TUCSIN’s 40th Anniversary under the theme “Celebrating Our Youth”.
The focus of our conference was to identify cultural skills, knowledge, values and beliefs that are critical in these modern times for children and youth to grow up as strong and healthy Ju/’hoansi, proud of who they are. These remarkable people, all of them, but especially now, these 12 elders present, have amazed me as they often do. Such wisdom, problem solving, and critical thinking would be so valuable in any education system in the “developed” world. The whole event was broadcast live for the community, and I know people will be talking about important things by the fire for many days to come.
Bruce Parcher – Programme Manager TUCSIN Tsumkwe Lodge
The new buildings and renovations at TUCSIN Tsumkwe Lodge are completed; – some equipment and appliances still need to be delivered and installed in the new kitchen. The bar, now moved to the main lapa area, creates a welcoming communal area.
A new fire pit was completed in June with funds from the Culture Class Project. This is located in the circle of bungalows. It will serve as a focal point for cultural performances, a meeting place for guests in the evening and will be used for the storytelling program in the Culture Class.
Here are several achievements towards attaining our strategic goals to establish the TUCSIN Tsumkwe Training & Hospitality Centre right in the heart of Tsumkwe and its inhabitants and visiting tourists:
7 employees of TUCSIN Tsumkwe Lodge were assessed by the Namibian Training Authority in several areas of hospitality. All seven staff members passed successfully and achieved certification at level 2 and 3.
One of our guides, Tsamgao (Smallboy) Cigae, was accepted for training and is scheduled to sit for the National Professional Hunters examination.
A Community Based Tourism training program is also being developed. One of our aims this year will be to increase access to income through tourism by expanding the number of activities and villages that we work with. Three trainings have been done in the village of //Xa/oba where we are currently conducting the Bush Walk Tour. Two of the trainings were done to arrange new cultural experiences including the Immersion Activity and the Traditional Hunting Activity.
TUCSIN Tsumkwe also assisted the Office of the President and UNAM to identify 3 members of the local San community to be enrolled in the Lower Primary Teacher Degree Program. TUCSIN advertised the opportunity, collected applications, coordinated and constructed the Recommendation Committee, submitted recommendations to UNAM and liaised between UNAM and the applicants. The 3 successful candidates are currently engaged in their first year of study.
In late March, the Culture Class Project, funded by Ubuntu-Germany, continued with a Training and Planning Workshop for 8 Elder Teachers from the San Community. Classes were held at Tsumkwe Primary School during the after-school study period and at the Community Library during the school holiday. The daily program included traditional storytelling, crafts, hunting and tracking, bush foods and medicines as well as sports and games for any children. The program reached an average of 18 children per day. In early June the hostel program for those children who do not return home on the weekend, began and will continue each weekend with lessons in San language, hunting, gathering, dancing, games and crafts.
The Hostel Support Project, funded by NAMAS Norway, is designed to reduce drop outs by improving the hostel environment in Tsumkwe. Entertainment, sports and play activities are organized for the children. In addition, toiletry packs are provided for up to 200 children each month.
The handover ceremony was held on 01 June 2017 at which TUCSIN Tsumkwe was represented by the Training Manager, Bruce Parcher, the Lodge Manager, Elaine Roussow, and the Guides, Tsamgao (Smallboy) Cigae and Tsamkgao #Oma (Leon). Also present were the chief of the Ju/’hoan Traditional Authorities, the Tsumkwe Primary School Principal, Teachers and Hostel Staff, the community and, of course the children.
The TUCSIN Tsumkwe Lodge will help each month to distribute toiletries to the students. The Culture Class Elder teachers will spend time each weekend to supervise and coordinate activities for the children after the cultural program.
Academic Success Project, i.e. Grade 10 Support Project, funded by The Office of the President targets school dropouts from Tsumkwe Secondary School that still want to complete their Junior and/or Senior Secondary Certificates. This year a group of 11 San students were enrolled with the Namibian College of Open Learning in the subjects of Mathematics and English. The students have completed all their assignments with assistance provided by TUCSIN Tsumkwe, and a 10 day study meeting is still planned for the August school holiday to prepare for the exams in October.
The Nyae Nyae Village Schools Feeding Project, with funds raised by Candi Miller from Great Britain, aims to improve nutrition and increase access to education by providing supplementary food to schools in Nyae Nyae. TUCSIN Tsumkwe orders, receives and stores the food stock as well as provide updates and reports to the donors. The Principal of the school will coordinate the distribution.
The Nyae Nyae Village Pre-School project, sponsored by the Kalahari Peoples Fund, has plans to extend their partnership with TUCSIN Tsumkwe this year by expanding the pre-school pilot project implemented in 2016. Melissa Heckler, an educator from the U.S. and TUCSIN’s Bruce Parcher, based this project on the initial goals of the Village Schools of community based learning in local villages. 3 villages participated and received materials and training to help prepare their pre-school aged children for formal education. The plans for this year include further training, new materials and more villages. TUCSIN Tsumkwe has provided logistical support and made follow-up visits to the villages.
There are many possibilities to support our capacity building projects. For further information please contact TUCSIN Tsumkwe
Our staff member Tsamkxao Ciqae will join the up-coming International Conference in the Neanderthal Museum and the Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology – African Archaeology on PREHISTORIC HUMAN TRACKS – May 11-13, 2017, Mettmann & Cologne, Germany
“This project, labelled Tracking in Caves, started in 2013 with the purpose to better understand the late Pleistocene* human footprints that can be found in some of the caves with rock art in southern France. For this research assistance and expertise was sought among the Ju/’hoansi San of the Namibian Kalahari. Three professional, indigenous trackers were invited to Europe and contributed substantially to the research in the caves.”
“The prestigious Maltas Club Namibia joined forces with Lark Journeys Namibia last week and held a three-day extensive workshop on leadership and personal development. The purpose of this workshop was to educate pupils on basic life skills, which are vital for them to succeed at school. Approximately 50 pupils from Grades 8 to 12 took part in this workshop.” read more
One of the participating educationists was Dr Wilfred April, TUCSIN Alumnus: “It was the most rewarding learning experience. We loved the students. So much hope, possibilities, dreams and talent. (…) We also loved your lodge.”