Today we had a full day amongst the Khwe people of Bwabwata, learning about their issues with food security and how they are finding solutions to combat that. Our morning was spent meeting with Pieter, with whom we met with back when we were here in June. He is the chair person of the Kyaramacan Association in Bwabwata National Park (BNP), which is the official body that represents the interests of the people in the park. Other members of our meeting included John Denver, another member of KA, Johanna, a park game guard, Katonkey, an NDC worker, Fidi and others.
Following our meeting we headed back to Omega, the farm that we visited in June that served as a massive point of inspiration for our story. We were fortunate to see some people farming the fields, and even though it was raining, we got some beautiful shots. The Omega farm is about 850 hectares, yet more than half of it is not in use as it is under government control. The land that is in use is also in government control and the people that live in the Omega 1 village are not allowed to farm the land for profit and consumption. This affects the community in many ways. They are food insecure because they aren't able to farm much of the land to sustain themselves. What land they can farm they don't have the resources to do so, as the government charges money for seeds, plows, and tractors. While they do provide these resources sometimes, they are not mindful of the timing of the harvesting season, which affects many of the local people because they can't farm what they want at the time that they want. It was hard to hear of so much struggle in a community but it only further confirmed why we are embarking on this project, to provide a way for people to tell their story. We know that we are not the solution and that this documentary is not the solution, but we are hopeful that by listening and learning and sharing, change will come.
The second half of our day was spent in a new place for us. We were lucky enough to visit the Bwabwata village, a Khwe village within Bwabwata National Park. This village holds great significance for many of the Khwe as it was the main hub many years ago. We spoke with and interviewed Gerria, a village elder who has grown up in the Khwe community. He shared stories about how there used to be hundreds of Khwe in the area, living their traditional life of hunting and gathering. Today only 44 Khwe live in the Bwabwata village, many having been pushed out by the war for independence when SWAPO forces created camps in the park. Gerria shared many stories that few get a chance to hear. It was an incredible exchange of knowledge and one that we wont ever forget.