'Living museums' for Damara and Owambo
Issue 3 (November 2008) Two new ‘living museums’ are currently being built in northern Namibia, one within the Owambo community, the other within a Damara community.


There is already a Ju/’Hoansi-San and a Mafwe museum being supported by Living Culture Foundation Namibia. All the projects aim to increase understanding of the country’s different tribes while also giving them a stable source of income. Guests at the museums learn about traditional cultures and the original way the people lived. The two new ‘living museums’ are being set up by entrepreneurs from the communities themselves.  Sebastian Dürrschmidt of Living Culture Foundation Namibia met one of the entrepreneurs, Erasmus Aiyambo, while he was working at a petrol station in Windhoek. He got to know him and, after telling him about the living museum concept, Erasmus quit his job to build a museum in his home Owambo community. Sebastian said: “Erasmus is the son of a deputy chief, and so is well placed to do this. His position in the community has helped him to get land and the permission to build the museum.

“As with the Damara Museum, this will be a new venture for the LCFN. It won’t be community run, but rather owned by a local entrepreneur.  Having worked with other communities, we know that as outsiders it can take years to gain a community’s trust so when we met Erasmus we were very happy to have such an enterprising young man take the initiative for himself”.

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