Persona Co-Creation in IK Herero Communities

Based on the first trip towards Persona Co-Design undertaken on 20th, 21st and 22nd of October 2014, and with the learning experiences obtained from this, lecturer and facilitator Gereon Koch Kapuire (Polytechnic of Namibia), PhD candidate Daniel G. Cabrero (University of West London and current exchange-researcher at Polytechnic of Namibia), Professor Heike Winschiers-Theophilus (Polytechnic of Namibia and Cabrero’s external supervisor) and Doctor Jose Abdelnour-Nocera (University of West London and Cabrero’s main supervisor) held a video-conference where previously deployed methods were discussed and reflected on, and where a further trip was arranged for Kapuire and Cabrero to carry out a new series of persona co-design sessions in Otjinene, Erindiroukambe and Epukiro.


The first session of this trip occurred in Otjinene in the morning of the 20th November 2014. It was held with a Herero lady and her husband at their Homestead. A previous persona co-design attempt based on Rapid-Ethnography methods was undertaken with this couple in October. Yet, this was not fully successful. In the new attempt, however, methods had been modified and the session worked out, allowing further and richer data and results to emerge. The persona co-design session, hence, enabled the Herero lady to start building on a specific set of personas which also provided with further synergies towards future sessions whereby persona co-design can reach full strength and alignment.


Herero lady in Otjinene building-up on a set of co-designed personas.

Building on the success of the above session, the researchers went on attempting the same method to another Homestead in Otjinene, and where they found a female Calabash-maker and a further female assisting her. Here the same methods were deployed and positive outcomes arose as well. Besides, the Calabash-maker kindly invited our researchers to come back over again and try persona co-design methods with other colleagues in the art world of Calabash-making.


Calabash-Maker co-designed personas.


The day in Otjinene came to an end, and our researchers departed towards Erindiroukambe and spent the night over. The morning of the 21st November 2014, they met with a group of 8 community members: Gerard, Job and Zenaro (all of them elders), two other elders from neighbouring communities (i.e. Otjiuaneho and Otuaerera), Nanai (a youth) and a further couple of youths.

The same methods were deployed here again, and results enabled the eight participants to co-design a further set of personas.

The start of the persona co-design session in Erindiroukambe: local participants and researchers.


Last but nonetheless, on Saturday 22nd we travelled to Epukiro early in the morning. This trip was not intended to persona co-design only, but to attend, and record, the crowning of the new leader of the Ovambanderus – Hon. Chief Kilus Karaerua Munjuku III Nguvauva.

This was a historical moment in the community, as the crowning of a leader does not happen often. Besides, it served to further collect data in order to document the event towards enhancing Indigenous Knowledge (IK) data gathering in Namibia.

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