Empowering augmented reality souvenirs from Namibia

It is a fridge magnet, a souvenir with a beautiful image. An innovative product that uses augmented reality (AR) technology.

But it is also more. A hope of an income in a remote village with no jobs. A step on a journey to find strength amidst the mourning for a loss of a whole way of life. An exploration in how diverse teams may work together to include everyone as a producer in new technologies.

Buy a fridge magnet

Meet the community

Discover the innovation process

The augmented reality (AR) fridge magnets were developed by a team that included researchers, technology and media practitioners and members of Namibian San communities. The San are the indigenous people of Southern Africa.  Formerly nomadic hunter-gatherers, they now face a reality of having to develop new livelihoods. It is a task hampered by the discrimination the San have faced for a long time despite their rich cultural heritage.

The product looks like any fridge magnet you would buy as a souvenir from your visit to Namibia. There are nine different magnets with images depicting San traditions from hunting to perfume-making and dances. When you scan a magnet with your phone, the phone will show a short video about the tradition.

The media content for the magnets was conceptualised and produced together a remote San community in Donkerbos in Eastern Namibai. This work was based on a market survey conducted by San youth who were studying in the Namibian capital, Windhoek. The students will also be selling the magnets, with profits divided between the seller and the Donkerbos community.