Namibian Indigenous Communities Reflecting on Their Own Digital Representations.

Stichel, Brit and Blake, Edwin and Maasz, Donovan and Stanley, Colin and Winschiers-Theophilus, Heike and Afrikaner, Helena (2019) Namibian Indigenous Communities Reflecting on Their Own Digital Representations., Proceedings of The 9th International Conference on C&T - Transforming Communities, 3-7 June 2019, Vienna, Austria, 51-59, ACM.

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Indigenous communities' narratives have all too often been created, documented, curated and digitalized by aliens. This digital othering has created widely disseminated images and perceptions of indigenous communities which are neither authentic, nor in line with what the communities consider a valid or worthwhile representation of themselves or their cultural heritage. This has led to misconstrued and stereotypical perspectives by outsiders about indigenous communities. Technological interventions with indigenous communities to promote their sovereignty, while sometimes challenging, have opened critical debates around communities' self-determination of digital representations of their own cultural identities and heritage. We have entered into a dialogue with two Namibian indigenous communities, who have been our design partners on technology projects aimed at safeguarding their own cultural heritage on their own terms. We are reporting from our long-term ovaHimba collaborator who has engaged in a reflection about the preservation of his traditions triggered by our joint digitalization efforts. Moreover, in response to the widespread stereotyping of members of San communities in contemporary Namibia, that directly influences their cultural identity; we have co-constructed a video conversation between Namibians and a rural San community. In this way, the remote community could consider outsiders' perceptions, reflect upon and actively re-construct their digital self-representation. We discuss community reflections, self-representation and digital empowerment in the context of digitalization efforts.

Item Type: Conference paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: Co-Design, Conversation, Intermedia, Participatory Design, Perception, San, Video Elicitation, Video-Dialogue
Subjects: Applied computing
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Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2019
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 15:31

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