By | March 15, 2018

European Union funds the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) Indigenous Languages Research Project – 2018

Ambassador of the European Union to Namibia, Her Excellency Jana Hybaskova (centre) pictured with staff from the EU Delegation, NUST and other Civil Society Organisations implementing EU-funded projects on Human Rights.

The Department of Communication in the Faculty of Human Sciences at NUST received about N$3.5 million (€ 250 000) from the European Union (EU). The funding is for a major research project under the topic “Democracy and Human Rights.” The main objective of the 3-year project is the revitalisition of indigenous languages to preserve culture.

The research will focus on Oshiwambo, Otjiherero and KhoeKhoe languages with the aim to protect, preserve and promote the culture of Namibian indigenous groups. Some of the specific objectives include: to increase cultural awareness of Owambo, Ovaherero and San cultural expressions and languages in Namibia; to increase institutional capacity on indigenous cultures and languages; and to ensure indigenous cultures and languages become an integral part of the developmental agenda of the government.

During the kick-off meeting, on 23 February 2018, the Ambassador of the European Union to Namibia, Her Excellency Jana Hybaskova, explained that the project is funded under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and it is addressing one of the priorities of the EU Human Rights and Democracy Strategy for Namibia, the promotion of social, economic and cultural rights. Dr Sarala Krishnamurthy, of the Department of Communication, is leading the research. She highlighted that the three language groups were chosen because they cover a large part of the Namibian population. However, after successful completion of this action, NUST intends to upscale it to eventually cover all language groups.

The team, which includes other researchers from the Department, namely Dr Haileleul Woldemariam, Dr Nkosinothando Mpofu and Jeanne Hunter, intends to travel to four regions in the country to collect cultural expressions.

Through these activities, the project hopes to be able to bring about greater responsiveness in society by advocating for the inclusion of the preservation of local culture in national policy documents.

The research team will involve key stakeholders, through an Advisory Committee, consisting of UNESCO, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and other stakeholders.