When the gods are lazy

Cymot lends a helping hand

25 March 2020 | Environment

The gods must be crazy is a film from the 1980s in which the world was introduced to the Ju'/Hoansi San living happily in the Kalahari, far away from Western civilization.
For those who need a reminder, the story begins when a pilot flying over the desert, drops an empty Coca-Cola bottle from his plane. To the tribe who find it, the bottle is a gift – something beautiful which useful for all kinds of daily chores.
There is a down side though: The bottle also introduces them to feelings of envy and ideas of ownership, threatening their idyllic society that existed without poverty, greed or crime.
The budget for the film was U$5 million of which the main actor N!xau, received U$300. The movie grossed U$200 million and was one of the most successful comedies worldwide.
In movies and documentaries, the San are often been portrayed as a glorified and naïve group who are at one with nature. But since the box office success of the move, much has changed.

Meet /Kunta Xoma
Today /Kunta Xoma is a grown man, who back then believed having a bottle land on his head and landing a role in a movie would change his life. But, after years of struggling with poverty, TB and alcoholism, he realized that you can’t leave your fortune in other people’s hands, and that if you want something in life you, have to reach out and get it.
He found God, stopped drinking and became a pastor. Still, he needed to feed his children. So, he decided to reach out to Nanofasa Namibia to see if there was a potential collaboration to be ignited.
For the past 10 years Nanofasa has worked with the Ju/hoansi in finding new ways to secure their future. The organisation has tried to find new ways to inspire others to see that nature needs people and that people need nature.

Indigenous innovation
The San’s intrinsic understanding of this symbiosis is why Nanofasa is based on a different form of outreach where people are responsible for leading the way to sustainability for nature and using business for good.
Nanofasa created a Barefoot Academy six years ago – an educational training headquarters that provided traditional training, conservation awareness and enhanced livelihoods for people and communities within the Nyae Nyae Conservancy in Namibia.
After having had around 50 people on its payroll for nine years, they ended up being low on funding, which inspired them to change and teach the Ju/hoansi about business start-up to create their own social impact businesses based on indigenous innovation.
Nanofasa started the concept of indigenous innovation in 2017, after 10 years of community experience, trial and error. They realized that the only way forward is to empower people to empower themselves.
There is an expression that “if you give a man a fish he will eat today, but if you teach him how to fish, he will never be hungry”.
But what if you do not have to teach a man anything, because he has already been practicing entrepreneurship in different arenas for thousands of years? Give a man a job he does not like, and he will not last long. But give him a chance and the resources he needs to reawaken old knowledge and make them new and current, and suddenly they have created a platform for sustainable local opportunities.

Entrepreneurship
The San have been practicing entrepreneurship through their hunting and gathering lifestyle for thousands of years. Each individual would choose an area of expertise depending on their individual skill level and then venture out into the bush and hope that they would succeed. Which is exactly what a business start-up is all about.
This was what created the fundament for exploring the possibility of guiding the San and teaching them to develop their own business ideas and turn them into social impact businesses.
Why social impact? Well, the only sustainable way to present aid in Nanofasa’s opinion is to empower people to empower their own people and be good to nature.
In January 2019, they announced the Indigenous Innovation competition giving all San in Nyae Nyae the chance to submit their ideas.
Nanofasa’s San project manager Tertu Fernandu started hosting village workshops on business plan development, business skills and personal growth.
The initiative is an important instrument for innovation and development of indigenous entrepreneurs, whilst giving back to the environment and their communities.
Xoma was one of the people who submitted a project proposal which really stood out. He wanted to start a nature school and campsite. His nature school will make ancient nature knowledge accessible for both the young generation of San and people from elsewhere who want to learn more about living in harmony with nature.
He believes that this school and campsite can help keep their culture alive for future generations and for nature.
Xoma’s project aims to start a social impact campsite, nature school and craft shop, aiming to reduce the dependency of San people on other people, promoting accountability amongst the San community in the Nama Pan settlement. This project also aims to promote traditional learning of the San people in Tsumkwe East, while creating jobs as traditional teachers for the youth of Tsumkwe East.

Help from afar
With guidance and help from Nanofasa, Xoma decided that he wanted to see how much he could put together himself without financial help. He and his people worked for days to create a campsite next to a massive Baobab tree, and painted signboards to tell people to take good care of the trees. He started to revive the traditional knowledge among his people through bushwalks, games and storytelling, to make sure there are good teachers ready to receive guests.
After all this hard work, there was still much missing to make this a real nature school and campsite. That was when Axel Theissen and Cymot came to the rescue. They decided to sponsor and support to help Xoma with his dream of creating social impact that empowers his people and the sustainability of nature.
His campsite is now fully kitted thanks to Cymot’s Green Sport products.
The campsite is located close to the veterinary fence on the C44 from Gam to Tsumkwe.
To make a booking to enjoy the comfort of Cymot products along with learning ancient skills, send an SMS to Xoma at 081 893 4915.
However, it is important to note to ensure you are healthy before visiting, because the San people have a weaker immune system.

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