San people poverty study commences

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

Tsoro-o-tso San Development Trust (TSDT) in conjunction with a United Kingdom based university, Strathclyde has embarked on a marginalisation research on the San Community in Zimbabwe.

TSDT Director, Davy Ndlovu said the study will be conducted for a period of three weeks, focusing on the San communities in Tsholotsho and Bulilima.

“The San clan has been marginalised, despised and referred to in many derogatory terms such as Bushmen.

“Due to such misconceptions and discriminations, the San people have been lagging behind in terms of development. They are also not respected, and their culture is now dominated by cultures of other ethnic groups,” said Ndlovu.

The TSDT Coordinator said the study will probe the extent of poverty among the San people and proffer some recommendations.

“Most of the San people I know in Zimbabwe and other neighbouring countries are poor, yet some projects have been initiated for them. We want to interrogate all these issues,” he said.

University of Strathclyde is funding the project.

After the research, Ndlovu said the researchers and his organisation will come up with a document which will be presented to the government and other interested stakeholders who will lobby for inclusive development projects.

“The research will look at the cultural assets of the San in the form of rock art and other cultural heritage sites and try to find ways to convince the government to assist the San to start cultural tourism activities within their respective communities,” said Ndlovu.

He said the research will involve a range of well-defined variable methods of collecting data such as the study of textual documents in private and public institutions, interviews and direct observations.

TSDT has also been spearheading the teaching of Tjwao language in school following the approval of the curriculum by the Ministry and Primary Education.

An estimated population of about 1 700 San people are found in Tsholotsho while another significant number of the tribe is also found in Plumtree.

The san people are also found in Kalahari and Namib Deserts in Botswana and Namibia where they are famed for their historical rock paintings.