Turning the tide on TB: Supporting the San Bushman

The San people of southern Africa, believed to be the longest surviving culture on earth by tens of thousands of years and the last tribe on earth to pursue the persistence hunt, have faced centuries of oppression and marginalisation. The Ju’/hoansi, the San people living in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, now face a critical struggle against tuberculosis, a treatable and preventable disease.

This crowdfunder aims to raise money to support local efforts to beat this disease. The money raised will pay for projects which provide vital food, information and testing which is necessary to eliminate TB and support good recovery. The projects had a private funder, but she recently died, and government and NGOs have not picked up the funding shortfall. In addition, the collapse of tourism in the Nyae Nyae due to COVID19 has caused a major fall in local income, meaning this crowdfunder is more important than ever. 

The San culture is under threat from many directions, but TB is particularly dangerous. It is the leading cause of death from any infectious disease worldwide and there are four strains of TB in the region. We’re working with organisations and doctors on the ground the Nyae Nyae to make sure this money gets to the right people at the right time. 

The priority is to provide food for recovering TB patients as eating regular good food is essential for the treatment to work. Government funding pays for medicines distributed by the clinic in Tsumkwe, which serves the whole of the Nyae Nyae. However, this funding does not provide accommodation or food. There is a separate soup kitchen project which provides nutritious meals twice a day in Tsumkwe to TB patients, but it is facing massive funding cuts. The soup kitchen urgently requires £500 a month to continue to provide this vital service.

Funding is also desperately required for an outreach team that carries out testing and education in the remote villages. As we've learned from COVID19, testing is an important part of controlling infectious disease. The outreach team can identify the disease in the early stages, which limits the spread of infection within the villages. This outreach team requires £300 a month to operate.

Since TB flares up when people are malnourished or otherwise immuno-compromised, the longer term aim is to tackle food security.  One vision to do this is to support the San to create gardens and food forests within each of the 39 villages in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy.  Seeds, fencing materials and tree saplings are needed to establish a garden in each of them. If we exceed our fundraising target, the additional money will be put towards these gardens and forests.

If you are able to help fund this work in the longer term, please get in touch by contacting Caspar through the link below.

More on the San

The San people of the Kalahari are the last trace of our deep ancestry, our oldest cousins who never left Africa. Their territories span Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. In the last few centuries the nomadic lives these people led have been dramatically transformed through waves of colonialism and marginalisation that has put pressures on their land, and many are now settled in villages or only semi-nomadic.

Amongst the San are some of the best trackers and hunters in the world. Men and women can still walk into the bush with their digging sticks and come out with forage hides laden with food. However, their shrinking territory and the fact that they are settled in villages, means living off foraging and hunting alone is not enough. Money, necessary to supplement limited hunting and foraging, is hard to come by. The main sources of income are searching in the desert for the Devil’s Claw plant and tourism. With COVID19, it will be a long time before tourism returns to the Kalahari. 

About us

We are a group of people passionate about supporting the Ju'/hoansi as many of us have spent time with them through the Old Way and / or Wildwise over the last few years. There is so much we can learn from a culture as old as humanity itself and we would love to support the people who shared so much with us. Your kindness means the world to us, thank you.

The Kalahari Action Group

  • Anna Christie
    • £20 
    • 28 mos
  • Herne Hill School
    • £300 
    • 28 mos
  • Helen Jones
    • £110 
    • 28 mos
  • Rebecca Skillman
    • £100 
    • 29 mos
  • Jenny Nelson
    • £40 
    • 29 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Kalahari Action Group (23)

Casparo Brown
Ringmer, South East England, United Kingdom
Jon Cree
Abi Jones
Team member
Alice Brand
Team member
Elena Harris
Team member
Emma Beard
Team member
See all

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