The Nyae Nyae Village Schools represents much more than ordinary primary schools. What is at stake is the Ju/'hoansi language, culture and the conservation of their land.
The Ju/'hoansi are the only integrated Bushmen group still living on ancestral land, of which 40% of their subsistence income is hunting and gathering. They were and in this case still are the custodians of their land and should be brought into the fold of conservation, providing new opportunities and solutions.
The Ju/‘hoansi Bushmen are a distinct people in that the land on which they live and the natural resources on which they depend are inextricably linked to their identity and culture. Conservation of biodiversity is not an isolated, compartmentalised concept but an integrated part of their lives. The Ju/‘hoan people view conservation as an integral, functional part of the landscape in which they live.
The Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Kaudom National Park to the north form part of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. It is potentially the world's largest conservation area, spanning five southern African countries; Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and centred around the Caprivi-Chobe-Victoria Falls area.
Indigenous knowledge and management systems represent critical yet untapped resources in conservation efforts. The participation of the Ju/‘hoansi Bushmen presents both many challenges and great opportunities, education has the ability to bridge the gap.