The ideas and thoughts expressed within this blog are not the views or opinions of WorldTeach nor the Namibia Ministry of Education, but rather my personal views.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Gods Must Be Crazy

The ethnic group “depicted” in this 1980 cult South African movie, "The Gods Must Be Crazy" actually does still exist. The San, or Bushmen, are a nomadic people whose customs and beliefs (not necessarily those of the movie, however) have stood the test of time and colonialism. They live primarily in the deserts and farmlands of Southern Africa and are not really integrated into mainstream society. There are at least a few projects that are aimed at formally educating San children with textbooks and classes. I have to explore just how these projects work and accordingly, the impact of such interventions on their cultural heritage.

One of the more focused and enthusiastic grade 11 learners from the Centre failed to report to school at the beginning of the year. I asked the principal and a few teachers what happened to him. They explained that his mother is San and they believe that the learner could not afford the school fees (about US$120 for the entire year, including room and board) and uniform. He never approached school staff for help, though. Last year, they noticed his tattered clothing and rallied teacher support to get him a decent uniform. This year, he simply did not appear.

I was very concerned because this learner was always polite and respectful, and he appeared to be content. He was also making above-average progress in mathematics. What’s more is that he was a senior. I wanted him to not miss out on a high school diploma. We checked around over the course of the week and I found him only on the morning of my departure.

After speaking with him, he admitted that the problem was financial. I asked him to write a letter introducing himself and his goals, and articulating what he needed to make it through the year. I left him with four exercise books and a few pens. I also gave his teacher about US$25 to buy him the appropriate school uniform. He was elected to the Learners Resource Council(LRC) and needed a special shirt. The amount would be more than enough and could also buy additional undergarments and school supplies.

The costs that could make or break this child and other similar children’s opportunities are extremely minimal. I may start a tertiary school scholarship fund for at least one learner from Khorixas each year. If you would like to support this initiative, please let me know.


  1. What a great idea,( starting a scholarship fund) I will be your first contributor and will find other sponsors here.