Časoris
Učenec šole v Grashoeku. Foto: Zvone Šeruga
Učenec šole v Grashoeku. Foto: Zvone Šeruga

I love teaching the Bushmen children — it’s what I now call home

What connects and differentiates the Himba, who are in the north of Namibia near the town of Opuwo, and the Bushmen, the San people in the east near the town of Tsumeb?

Himbe običajno ne hodijo v šolo. Foto: Sonja Merljak/Časoris
The Himba do not usually go to school. Photo: Sonja Merljak/Časoris

The semi-nomadic Himba herders are a proud and fairly wealthy tribe. They each have hundreds of goats and cattle. Most of their children do not go to school.

The Bushmen are hunters and gatherers as well as one of the oldest, yet also poorest, tribes in Africa.

Despite this, some of them speak a little English — for example, students in the village of Grashoek in the Kalahari desert, where there is a living museum showing this culture.

One of their teachers is Perpetwa N. Hausiku.

Učiteljica Perpetwa je sicer pripadnica plemena Kawango. Foto: Zvone Šeruga
Perpetwa, a teacher, is a member of the Kawango tribe. Photo: Zvone Šeruga

Why did you become a teacher?

I love working with the children of the San people. I fell in love with their culture and diversity — I like how they live. I speak all their dialects.

My schooling also started here in 1996, when my father got a job in a neighboring village.

After high school, I returned as their teacher.

Do the children here like to go to school?

Their parents did not go to school, and sometimes they have to be almost forced to come to class.

Once they are in the classroom, they become very curious and want to learn.

Učiteljica Perpetwa s svojimi učenci. Foto: Zvone Šeruga
5th grade Bushmen. Photo: Zvone Šeruga

What happens after finishing school?

We send them to a secondary school in Tsumeb, but because they have to leave the village and their parents, many give up. Others leave school for different reasons.

In spite of this, last year four children finished primary school, and two are doing so well in high school that they may go on to study further.

Also, one of our teachers graduated from college.

Za obiskovalce si Bušmanni včasih nadenejo tradicionalna oblačila in jim predstavijo značilne pesmi in plese. Foto: Zvone Šeruga
Bushmen sometimes don traditional clothes for visitors. Photo: Zvone Šeruga

Points to Consider

  1. Why do few children go to school in Africa?
  2. Is going to school a privilege?
  3. What awaits you after primary and secondary school?

***

The original version of this article was published on October 5th.

Podprite Časoris - poljubno

Sonja

Merljak Zdovc je urednica Časorisa. Je zelo radovedna in rada spoznava ljudi in njihove zgodbe. Veliko piše in včasih posname tudi kakšen video. Vesela bo, če ji pišeš.

Rebecca

Svetina is an English translator, EFL educator, and graphic designer. She is an American who has lived in Slovenia since 2008. She loves hiking and traveling with her family.

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