The South African San Institute-SASI has its roots in the formation of the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA)1.
In the 1980s and the early 1990s, development programmes were initiated for the San2 in Botswana and Namibia. Through a series of meetings, the San realised the need for regional organisation and established WIMSA. As part of a South African initiative to secure basic human rights for San people, a support organisation-SASI- was established, becoming a Trust in April 1996.
A study undertaken shortly thereafter revealed the extent and nature of the struggles that the San were facing and highlighted the need for organisational support. SASI was formed to implement programmes in three areas: legal support and advocacy, culture and heritage and language, and tourism through the development of income generation projects.
As part of the Kuru Family of Organisations-KFO The KFO3, SASI works at national and regional level through the creation of multi-disciplinary development projects in the areas of education, leadership training, cultural resource management, land rights, intellectual property rights, oral history collection and new approaches to community mobilization.
More recently SASI has adopted a broader organisational focus which now includes empowerment and community development as key components of their programme activities. SASI provides capacity building and leadership development, embarks on programmes to address economic empowerment and sustainable livelihoods, promotes cultural preservation and development and protects human rights and civil liberties.
1. WIMSA is the representative body of the San leadership of southern Africa, i.e. from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Angola. Its members and executive body are all San. WIMSA reviews its mandates with all service organizations, including SASI, at its Annual General Meeting.
2. San is an anthropological term for the various bands of “Bushmen”ull ” that live in Southern Africa. It is the term of choice of the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities of Southern Africa. Different groups prefer to identify themselves with their own name, e.g. Khwe, !Xun & ‡Khomani.
3. The KFO is a networking structure consisting of a group of 7 independent NGO's that work with San communities in South Africa and Botswana.
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