Our world is growing rapidly. What lies before us is a startlingly modern age, a future of technological revolution ushered in click by click. But the quicker we move forward, the quicker we lose touch with what once was. In this bright future it is our responsibility to keep our connection to history, to culture and to diversity – lest they fall into darkness forever.
The Ju/‘hoansi bushmen of northern Namibia make up the last remaining indigenous culture on Namibian ancestral ground – an example of a rich past being swallowed up by an all-too-hasty future. Globalization is knocking at Namibia’s door, and the Ju/’hoansi – who make up 1.8% of the population – are losing their voice in discussions on how the country moves forward. Soon they may lose a whole lot more.
In every culture, it is education which defines the future. The Nyae Nyae Village Schools project knows that only through education can the next generation of the Ju/’hoansi hold on to their culture. By offering children the chance to learn in their own indigenous language; traditional knowledge about survival, the environment, and their rich culture will be preserved. The children can understand where they came from, as well as where they are going, if they can find their voice.
Cultures like the Ju/’hoansi can teach us so much about the world we live in, but it is our responsibility to help them survive. Photographer David Bruce, founder of the Ju/’hoansi Development Fund, spent 25 years with these indigenous bushmen of Namibia – learning from them, and becoming deeply inspired by their traditions.
“The Bushmen lived not outside the realm of nature, but as part of nature.” explains David. “Each plant and each animal has its own being, its own life and purpose, which the Ju/‘hoansi Bushmen are a part of.” As the technological revolution approaches click by click, we must find also strengthen own connection to the natural world.
Click! Click! Welcome to the future! A world defined by one sound: “Click.” We click to buy things, click to watch things, click to communicate. Clicking has become a language, a way of being active in this new, exciting world. It is our voice online. We live in a time of incredible technological advances, Western evolution and rapid globalisation, but every click is a decision, and we must be careful we do not take our new found powers too far. With advancement comes billowing homogeneity which swallows up the rare and the different, history and tradition being stripped away, along with our connection to the natural world we all came from.