VR brought into the Bush: Donkerbos enhancing VR

The community in Donkerbos is currently contributing to the development of natural hand gestures, which are to be used in a Virtual Reality (VR) system. Bringing VR into the bush with local communities provided community members an opportunity to re-explore interactions in VR as they enhanced and extended their VR experience with the said system.

On a recent MTC-funded trip to Donkerbos , led by Prof Heike Winschiers-Theophilus from NUST and Dr Kasper Rodil together with Emilie Arendttorp, both from Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark, a new prototype developed by students at AAU, was evaluated. The prototype consisted of hand gestures which have been co-designed by the community on a previous visit. Four movement gestures were implemented, which are used to guide a person back, forwards, left, and right.

After having tried the prototype the community provided feedback upon the implemented gestures for further development. The next step is to implement an old traditional San story into VR while continuing the work on exploring the use of natural gestures.

MTC EduTech PPS handover

Namibia’s ICT solution provider, MTC and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST),

signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which focusses collaboration in areas such as

Emerging and Disruptive technologies, Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing, Electronic Engineering

and other Engineering Disciplines, Marketing and Communication, Telecommunication Products and

Services, Cyber Security and Forensics, User Experience, amongst others.

As part of this partnership, MTC availed digital equipment to facilitate a cutting-edge

EdTech innovation research and community development project that NUST runs in collaboration with

the People’s Primary School (PPS) in Windhoek. The project aims to establish novel learning ecologies

including remote presence learning and interactive technologies, which enable children across the

country and continents to jointly learn, share and create new knowledge.

Advancing technology explorations in Donkerbos

In May 2021, the ICTECHHUB team, led by Professor Heike Winschiers-Theophilus and comprising of NUST researchers, students and photographers, took an escapade 4-day trip to familiar territory, Donkerboss. Here familiar faces, who have become accustomed to our presence, and us to theirs, welcomed and embraced us gracefully with smiles that portray the fundamental genuineness of the San people who are prominent and predominant in Donkerboss.


The trip served three purposes, technical explorations, website configuration and social amalgamation. The technical explorations, led by Emilie Arendttorp, a Danish Masters student from Aalborg University under the Namibian supervision of Professor Winschiers-Theophilus, were centred around testing and assessing a virtual reality space which is based on a rural community campsite. The virtual reality (VR) space allows for users to configure and outline the campsite with camping apparatus and other luxuries that may be desired. Donkerboss community members explored the virtual space and outlined the campsite to their preference, thereafter they expounded their experience and then carried out design modifications for the acclimatization of the space through a sequence of activities involving community-inherent hand gestures that they prefer for movement and control within the space. As the community members were exploring the space they were teetering as they were adjusting to the VR gear, however, after a while they became familiar and comfortable with the VR gear.


The second purpose was the website configuration and content creation. Under the partnership with MTC a selected number of websites are to be developed, one of which is for the Donkerboss community. As part of the development, the community members were extensively consulted thus to decipher and expound the layout and the content that is appropriate for the website. In addition, new content for the website was created. This included cultural dances, traditional dances and communal interactions in the living museum as per the traditional customs and rituals.


In 2020, the Donkerboss community participated in a local COVID-19 competition, for ehich they created a dance and play as part COVID-19 prevention and care awareness. Their submission in the competition was selected as one of the winning contributions, as such they won a laptop. The laptop was handed to the community in April 2021. During this trip, the ICTECHHUB team assisted them in setting up their laptop, together with a printer which was sponsored by the ICTECHHUB and MTC. These contributions, plus other community-based initiatives have reinforced the connection between Donkerboss and ICTECHHUB. In a closing meeting, the community members made mention of their gratitude towards the ICTECHHUB, as the explorations and contributions have elevated and empowered the communities. In the same vain, the ICTECHHUB thanked the community for allowing them in their environment, as it is a privilege, which the ICTECHHUB team appreciates and seeks to keep intact.



Havana Community Website Development Workshop

On the 6th of May 2021 a workshop was hosted by the Tech Mediators at Havana Youth Café. The aim of the workshop was to gather requirements for a Community Website for Havana Youth Cafe. The workshop had 13 participants who have been part of this project since 2014. The Tech mediators will be responsible for the maintenance of the website after completion. Basic information that will be included on the website was identified through brainstorming activities and later mapped to generate themes.

The workshop was facilitated by Mrs Shilumbe Chivuno-Kuria, Mr Nabot Nathaniel and Ms Hilma Amapindi who are the developers of the e-commerce and Havana websites as sponsored by MTC.

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