12 December 2016 – The San (Bushmen) living in the Omaheke Region last week officially opened their new Craft Centre in Gobabis which serves as an operational base for artisans and craftmakers, and as a venue from where to research the rich, ages-long traditions of the San people, and the many ethnic sub-groups belonging to this larger group.
The members of the Xukuruamase San Cooperative Society are now responsible for running the craft centre. The society incorporates all ethnic San living in the Omaheke Region. The construction of the centre was funded by the German Government under the Namibian German Special Initiative Programme (NGSIP).
The centre was initiated by the community through their advocacy organization, the Xugurumasen San Cooperative Society. In one of the local dialects, Xugurumase means “Do it yourselves.”
At last week’s official opening ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Economic Planning, Hon Lucia Iipumbu said that craft centres are a relatively rare concept in the Namibian business environment.
But she added “I know for a fact that this space will become a principal hub for meeting the educational, cultural and recreational needs of this community as well as business activities.”
The new facility is equipped with containers designed for storage or operating rooms, toilets, renovation of existing prefabricated buildings, a water tank and tower and an assortment of equipment to be acquired once operational under the capacity building component.
The Deputy Minister thanked the Omaheke Regional Council for supporting the project and the Gobabis Municipality for donating the land. She further appealed to the Governor’s Office and other stakeholders to continue with their monitoring role and support the Xukuruamase San Cooperative Society.
Omaheke Region Governor, Festus Uetele urged the community to fully utilize the centre without delay so that it does not turn into a white elephant.
“You will be responsible to generate funds from your own programmes because you will be in charge of its day to day operations,” he said.
Gaby Lafin of the Development Cooperation Desk in the German Embassy said she hopes that through this craft centre the German and Namibian governments would find complete understanding and a common language of remembrance to shape the two countries future and cooperation.