The Barefoot Academy in the Kalahari

Deep the Kalahari Desert in Namibia live the Ju'/hoan San, some of the last persistence hunters left. Persistence hunting is a rare skill where hunters use a combination of tracking and endurance running to pursue an animal until it collapses from heat exhaustion. This is possible because humans can loose heat by sweating on the move; animals don’t sweat, so they need to stop and rest to reduce their body temperature. 

To protect their feet 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. 

The Ju'/hoan San were forced to stop making the sandals because of hunting restrictions. Today, only the tribal elders retain the knowledge and skills of how to make the hunting sandals.

Nanofasa Conservation Trust is now making it possible for the Ju'/hoan San to once again make these incredible SAN-dals through the Barefoot Academy. 

The Barefoot Academy is a project that was created with the communities. Together we established a new approach to outreach and created a unique platform that is based on the Ju/´hoansi's interests and knowledge. The Barefoot Academy aims to create a local offer where the Ju'/hoan San can all excel in their individual areas of interest and, at the same time, ensure the sustainability of their environment for future generations. The academy creates job opportunities and provides tradition-based training.

The SAN-DAL project is one of many opportunities for the local artisans. It is in line with the charitable core mission of The Barefoot Academy, creating sustainable livelihood opportunities for the San people.  

You can help revive this ancient skill and assist the Ju/´hoansi in making and wearing their traditional sandals again. By purchasing a pair you have the chance to walk in the footsteps of your greatest, great grandparents.

- Nanofasa team 




Receive exclusive updates on promotions, news and product launches



Receive exclusive updates on promotions, news and product launches