Modern and ancient knowledge unite

The Ju’/hoansi have been making sandals and craft items for thousands of years for personal use, exchange and social reasons. This focus on decentralised production is more connected to their hunting and gathering lifestyle and will support their economic well being. Nanofasa Conservation Trust is now making this possible once again through The Barefoot Academy. The Academy does not only provide traditional based training, but we also create job opportunities. The SAN-DAL project is one of many opportunities for the local artisans. Other opportunities include becoming a guide, traditional activity mentor, veldfood cooking, Cyber-Tracker, survival coach, researcher, vegetation assessor, indigenous gardener, game ranger, anti poacher, persistence runner mentor, and traditional teachings at the village schools.

Persistence hunting is a rare and difficult skill, where hunters use a combination of tracking and endurance running to relentlessly pursue an animal until it collapses from heat exhaustion. (NB, this is possible because humans can lose heat by sweating on the move; animals don’t sweat, so they need to stop and rest in the shade in order to lose heat).

To protect them from the burning hot sand and sharp thorns the Ju/’Hoansi made sandals from eland skin, one of the thickest and most durable leathers in Africa. They stopped making the sandals because hunting restrictions stopped the supply of skins, and today, only the tribal elders retain the knowledge and skills of how to make the hunting sandals.

This SAN-DAL project with the Ju/’Hoan San community, to help revive this ancient skill and assist them to make and wear their traditional sandals. As a result of this unique project the San bushmen will be able to produce their running SAN-DAL’s for the world. However, they will only be able to produce up to 1,500 pairs a year! You can be one of the only people on earth to own this ancient footwear today…

For thousands of years we have moved over the same hunting grounds — and the best shoe for this harsh environment is the one we designed ourselves, a long time ago. We have worked hard to re-make the sandals that our ancestors would have worn. We want to continue making them for many years to come,” – Steve, head bushman cobbler.

Treat your feet to a pair of SAN-DAL’s and help revive an ancient bushman craft by reserving your pair today.


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