Written in the Sand South African San Institute
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UNESCO'S Division for Cultural Policies in the
Sector for Culture

Needs | Action Plan | Products & Processes | Principles | Mobilising Identity | Using CRA


Action Plan for Sustainable CRM

Drawing on the problem analysis given in Table 1 above, we were able to develop a plan of action for assisting the community with its efforts to revitalise its indigenous identity and identify its threatened cultural resources. The long-term aim is that the San can successfully manage their cultural resources without external intervention. In the meantime SASI has secured the resources to create opportunities for people to come together and focus on different aspects of their cultural resource base.

It is important to emphasise that this project could not have started without substantial expert input at the early stages. The partnership between external and internal experts is one of the most complex elements of the project. It requires good judgement, patience and intercultural skills. Familiarity with other indigenous peoples’ experiences of disempowerment and re-empowerment were important tools for the outsiders working on this project.

For the project to succeed, it was imperative that people inside the community own the process. Several elders took up the challenge with great commitment from the beginning. All the N|u speaking elders and many of the other elders greatly appreciated the opportunity to share their knowledge and make a useful contribution to the land claim process. In the third year of work, we are seeing a successful shift of momentum from the external specialists into the hands of young people who are learning how to work with the elders and their knowledge. Young people have been integrated into different facets of the work throughout the development of the project, based on their personal interest and enthusiasm. Youth involvement is being expanded through language teaching, reporting back, and youth workshops.

Table 2. CRA / CRM Project Phases

1. Project Development
  • Conduct initial pilot Auditing with speakers of original languages (N|u)
  • Discuss practice of land use mapping with core traditional group and other interested community members
  • Complete planning exercises and write project proposal· Seek community leadership mandate for 4 year programme
  • Seek approval / engagement by elders (i.e. work with them to identify priority areas of research)
2. Cultural Resource Auditing
  • Implement research and training for Cultural Resource Auditing
  • See description of products and processes below
3. Converting CRA into educational resources
  • Production of materials and community training projects
  • Ethnobotany research and publication· Orthographic training
  • Publication of mythological stories and histories
  • Genealogy software training for registration
4. Cultural Resource Management Training and Support
  • Design and implement Cultural Resource Management training workshops for community members and other stakeholders
  • Sustainable management plan within community structures, e.g. council of elders, committee of the Communal Property Association on culture, youth forum
  • Establish and support management of 4 cultural centres