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We have several ongoing initiatives aimed at repatriating and revitalising Nami-Daman musics 


The outcome of a musical collaboration between composer and recording artist Banco de Gaia and Future Pasts, we are excited to share
A BEE SONG, available at:




Other platforms

This recomposition draws on a 1954 recording we found at Basler Afrika Bibliographien of a Damara/ǂNūkhoe |gais or 'praise song' that celebrates bees.

Sung by a Viktoria ǁHoeses, the song reminded Sian and Suro of being taken honey-harvesting by the late Nathan ǂÛina Taurob of Sesfontein,

north-west Namibia.


As ǂÛinab lit a fire to calm the bees, they began to hum loudly inside the mountain where his hive was located. We've tried to recreate this sound of the mountain humming with bees in A Bee Song.

Proceeds from this song will go towards supporting Nami-Daman cultural heritage via the Future Pasts Trust in Namibia.

23. Damara 'gais', Olivier 1999, Sesfontein.jpg
Repatriating Nami-Daman musics archived in the British Library back to Sesfontein

From 2021, Future Pasts researcher Sian Sullivan has acted as a research advisor for the British Library's World and Traditional Music Collection.

The main aims have been:
1) to help identify Rights Holders represented in a set of recordings from 1999 that have been digitised and archived by the British Library; 

and 2) to facilitate the repatriation of these digitised recordings to the Hoanib Cultural Group in Sesfontein.


In order to meet these aims, this process involved a close collaboration with the Nami-Daman Traditional Authority, particularly the secretary Mr Fredrick ǁHawaxab and one of the councillors, Ms Welhemina Suro Ganuses.


For details see:

Emmanuelle Olivier’s ‘Damara-Nama’ recordings and their return to Sesfontein, NamibiaBritish Library Sound and Vision Blog, 22 September 2023.

Repatriating Musics Digitised by the British Library to the Nami-Daman Traditional Authority, North-west Namibia, Future Pasts Blog, 1 February 2024.

Sullivan, S., Nami-Daman Traditional Authority, Hoanib Cultural Group, ǁHawaxab, F. and Ganuses, W.S. 2023 The Olivier ‘Damara-Nama’ Collection from Sesfontein (Namibia) (British Library Sound Archive C1709): repertoire, Rights Holders and repatriation. Future Pasts Working Paper Series 14

Tasting the lost flute music of Sesfontein

Polyphonic music played by ensembles of male flautists and accompanied by song-stories sung primarily by women has been recorded historically over the last 500 years for Khoekhoegowab-speaking peoples in southern Africa.

Fragmented and disrupted through dramatic changes wrought by the expanding frontier of the Cape Colony, and later in Namibia through colonialism and apartheid, it appears likely that the last place this flute music – ǂā –was played was Sesfontein / !Nani|aus in north-west Namibia.

It is also likely that the last time the flute music was recorded in Sesfontein was in 1999 by ethnomusicologists Emmanuelle Olivier from France and the late Minette Mans from the University of Namibia.

Our paper Tasting the lost flute music of Sesfontein: Histories, memories, possibilities incorporates audio and images to share something of what we have learned through returning the music and images to the context in which they were made.

74. Nama-Damara flute dance, see also 13, 71-73 Olivier 1999, Sesfontein.jpg
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