Much of African culture resides in oral tradition; stories are passed on from parents to children, who in turn pass on those stories to their own children. The stories often develop along the way, the meaning and messages adapted slightly to fit the circumstances of the time.
These stories contain not only lessons and messages from the elders of the group, but also hold the history of the people within them.
Colonial powers did all they could to belittle and eradicate the rich culture of the indigenous people of Africa, fortunately they were not entirely successful and today there is a strong movement towards preserving the traditions and stories of the various people of Africa.
With this goal in mind Namibia has created the living culture museums, where visitors to the country can experience the stories, cultures and beliefs of pre-colonial Southern Africa.
The Living Museum of Damara: This museum is based in Twyfelfontein and provides an income for the local Damara community who manage the museum. The Damara are one of the oldest nations in Namibia, but sadly their culture was almost wiped out during the colonial period.
Today the living museum reconstructs the rich and beautiful culture of the Damara.
The Living Museum of the Ju/’Hoansi San: This is an open air museum where visitors can learn about the way of life of the San. It is a very interactive experience, guests can try their hand at a range of activities including rope skipping and shooting a traditional bow and arrow.
Other options include the Mbunza Living Museum and the Mafwe Living Museum. These museums are not only fascinating to visit but also critical to the preservation of cultures that have survived against all odds for hundreds of years.
Namibia has much more to offer than just adventure activities and safaris, a trip into the culture of the people may well prove to be the richest experience Namibia can offer.
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