Nama culture celebrated in Keetmans
The town of Keetmanshoop, a place that is called home by a vast number of indigenous Nama speaking people, last week celebrated the launch of the Nama Khoen #Nisasib exhibition at the Keetmanshoop Museum. The official launch was done by the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Hon. Katrina Hanse-Himarwa.
The exhibition which is compoosed by the Museums Association of Namibia in collaboration with the Embassy of Finland, the Keetmanshoop Museum and the Keetmanshoop Municipality, presents the rich history and culture of the Nama people. In direct translation the meaning of the exhibition titled ‘Nama Khoen #Nisasib’ means ‘pride of the Nama people.’
Speaking at the occasion Hon Hanse-Himarwa urged young people to visit the museum to learn about their history and culture, saying “There is more to Nama identity than the traditional dress”. She argued that it is important not only for Namibians to show equal respect for each other’s’ cultures but also to see their identity as Namibians as the most important.
The exhibition covers topics such as the use of plants for traditional medicine, the origins of the traditional dress and the experience of Nama communities during the 1903-1908 war of resistance against German colonial rule. The Regional Governor of the Karas region, Lucia Basson, used the opportunity to speak of the importance of preserving language as the heart of culture. She warned that the numbers of Khoekhoegowab speakers in the region was falling as families are using Afrikaans or English in their homes. The exhibition further culminated in the unveiling of a statue of `Tseib’ the late chief of the Kara−Oan Nama tribe. Tseib was the first person to settle with his tribesmen and women at Keetmanshoop, also known as Swartmodder (black mud) after he found an artesian spring there in 1850. The statue was made by well-known Namibian artist Papa Shikongeni.
Mr Aaron Nambadi, the Chairperson of the Museums Association said they believe strongly in the importance of advisory committees for regional museums. The association has worked closely with the Keetmanshoop Museum advisory committee to ensure that the community has ownership of their local museum.