Namibia: San Language put into print for the first time when textbooks were published 




“San children can now immerse themselves in their own culture through a media written in their own mother tongue, thanks to San writers and language committees who participated in the project with the intention to give insight into San culture and environment. The learning material will without a doubt help in creating the foundation for their future education, cultural awareness and pride,” says Dr Davíð Bjarnason, Project Manager for ICEIDA´s social projects in Namibia, on the first textbooks which are for the first time written for San children with the support of ICEIDA. The textbooks are also important in another sense since this is the first time two of five San languages are put into writing!

“The San in Namibia are approximately 38 thousand; they speak at least five different languages and spread around the country, which creates diverse complications when teaching language and grammar. In the year 2009, ICEIDA has supported the printing, layout and photography for four textbooks for children in Kwedam and! Kung (also known as ! Xun) languages. Kwedam is the language of 5,000 people in West Caprivi and the !Kung language has similar number of speakers, around 5,000, whom most of live in the Mangetti area in Otjozondjupa. Most San languages only exist in spoken form which gives yet another complication when writing the learning material because the written form has to be developed at the same time for each language. The shortage of written language also involves concern for the future existence of the languages. The Kweda language is among those which are believed to be endangered, according to UNESCO,” says Davíð.

The Namibian – First Books in !kung San Language