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Covid-19 impact stories from San communities, by Kileni Fernando

Kileni Fernando is a !Xung speaking !Khwa ttu San Museum Consultant.

In July Kileni spoke to !Khwa ttu’s Museum Director, Chris Low, about the impact of Covid-19 on San in Namibia. Hear Kileni’s conversation with Chris below. 

Kileni has some great information and observations to share about the real impact of Covid-19 on San communities in the Tsumkwe-West region. Like Gakemotho Satau, our San Consultant who has reported on the situation in Botswana, Kileni emphasises that Covid-19 is a frightening threat to the San, but it must take second place to the hunger and poverty that relentlessly dominates their immediate everyday reality. For those San in a position to try and tackle Covid-19 as best they can, poverty of money and infrastructure limits their possible responses. Access to water and soap is a real problem.

And just as a number of our !Khwa ttu staff have observed (see Joram in our previous Covid coverage), Kileni links what has happened to the abuse of nature, remarking that now there is nowhere the San can go to remove themselves from such problems as contagious sickness. The veld or bush has run out of remote spaces and food and bush medicines are ever harder to find.

Kileni talking to Chris about coronavirus

Below are three interviews Kileni undertook in the Tsumkwe region from July 23 to July 26. The interviewees are two !Xung women and one Ju|’hoansi man. Each interview is in !Xung and is followed by Kileni’s translation into English.

Olga Sauses from Swartak, Tsumkwe West, 25/7/20

|xao Albert !Aici from Grasshoek, Tsumkwe Wests, 23/7/20

|Ece Johanna Jacob from Omatako Rest Camp, 26/7/20