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Namibia


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Namibia


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The San are a click-speaking people who reside largely in Namibia and Botswana


As well as parts of South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Angola.  Genome research studies have found that they harbour some of the most ancient genetic lineages in humans, shedding new light on the history of homo sapiens. They are known to have maintained their livelihood predominantly, if not solely, through foraging for wild fruits and tubers and hunting for game meat for thousands of years. They are also famous for their egalitarian culture, which celebrates sharing and gender equality.

The San are a click-speaking people who reside largely in Namibia and Botswana


As well as parts of South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Angola.  Genome research studies have found that they harbour some of the most ancient genetic lineages in humans, shedding new light on the history of homo sapiens. They are known to have maintained their livelihood predominantly, if not solely, through foraging for wild fruits and tubers and hunting for game meat for thousands of years. They are also famous for their egalitarian culture, which celebrates sharing and gender equality.

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The Nyae Nyae Conservancy


The Nyae Nyae Conservancy in the Otjozondjupa region of Namibia is home to the Ju|’hoansi, meaning “real people”, a click-speaking language group of the San. The conservancy is a large protected area, managed by the Ju|’hoansi, which is up to 200 miles from the nearest urban center in every direction. This isolates Ju|’hoansi from effective markets to buy materials and sell their crafts, and for many, their only means left is to sell to tourists who pass through the region only occasionally.

The Nyae Nyae Conservancy


The Nyae Nyae Conservancy in the Otjozondjupa region of Namibia is home to the Ju|’hoansi, meaning “real people”, a click-speaking language group of the San. The conservancy is a large protected area, managed by the Ju|’hoansi, which is up to 200 miles from the nearest urban center in every direction. This isolates Ju|’hoansi from effective markets to buy materials and sell their crafts, and for many, their only means left is to sell to tourists who pass through the region only occasionally.

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Crafts


The crafts that the Ju|’hoansi women have produced are modelled off of their tradition of piercing and filing ostrich-eggshell beads, and weaving these into a variety of designs using rope made from grass and animal skin. With the introduction of materials from abroad, such as glass beads, the Ju|’hoansi have produced new crafts that combine patterns, techniques, and materials in innovative ways. Our collaboration brings these pieces, and the story of these talented Ju|’hoansi women, to an international audience.

Crafts


The crafts that the Ju|’hoansi women have produced are modelled off of their tradition of piercing and filing ostrich-eggshell beads, and weaving these into a variety of designs using rope made from grass and animal skin. With the introduction of materials from abroad, such as glass beads, the Ju|’hoansi have produced new crafts that combine patterns, techniques, and materials in innovative ways. Our collaboration brings these pieces, and the story of these talented Ju|’hoansi women, to an international audience.

Elizabeth and ||Uce join Tci!xo to explain the three processes that go into producing ostrich eggshell beads before they are filed smooth by Xoan||an.

ZEZE Collective collaborated with design Studio, Cistanthe, anthropologist Megan Laws and the Ju|’hoansi San women from Nyae Nyae Conservancy, Namibia to create a collection of unique, limited edition beaded bags and ostrich egg-shell home-ware pieces.  Each piece was meticulously hand-crafted by twenty-four Ju|’hoansi women, taking between 60 and 230 hours to create.

Photography and films by Megan Laws