Josef Sheehama | Feb 8, 2024 | 0
Heritage that unites
By Adolf Kaure.
The Erongo Governor, Neville André said during the opening of the Namibian Heritage Week in Swakopmund that Namibia’s heritage is not a mere celebration but the essence of what binds the nation together.
“Heritage is testament to the resilience of the Namibian people. Namibia’s heritage is not just a celebration.”
“Our collective heritage represents the shared experiences, struggles and triumphs of generations that have come before us. It is a treasure trove of wisdom and knowledge that deserves to be preserved, respected and passed down to future generations,” said André in his keynote address.
Over 100 residents, with some dressed in their various traditional attire, attended the event held at the coastal town’s Thomas Amunyela Amphitheater. Cultural groups entertain the residents with awesome cultural dances.
The regional governor further said that Namibians should not limit themselves to recognising their cultural heritage alone but also recognise the country’s natural heritage.
“Our breathtaking landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and abundant wildlife are a testament to the beauty and resilience of our land. We must not take these gifts for granted but rather strive to be responsible custodians of this natural heritage, ensuring its preservation for future generations,” said André.
This year, the event was held under the theme – “Heritage and Culture: A Rock Solid Foundation”, with sign language designated as the language of the celebrations.
The Regional Director of Education in Erongo, Emfrieda Stephanus said that sign language should be taught to all government officials. “One thing about sign language is that it does not differentiate, it is universal. All government officials should learn sign language so that they can serve all people inclusively,” said Stephanus.
The Mayor of Swakopmund, Her Worship Dina Namubes said that Swakopmund’ heritage has aided the town’s economy. “Swakopmund has established itself as a multicultural town that preserves and highly regards heritage and the town has different backgrounds and cultures from all over Namibia and abroad.”
“In our town, culture is expressed through sport, leisure, the arts business, and tourism among other things. Our ability to draw foreign direct investment and profit from tourism is made possible by the diversity of our cultures and the beauty of our natural environment,” said Namubes.
The Project Manager of the Museums Association of Namibia (M.A.N.) Ndapewashali Ashipala explained the concept of how Namibia Heritage Week was birthed.
“Initially the idea was for a Namibia Museum Day. After a while the Museums Association of Namibia joined and we took the day to all 14 regions. The National Heritage Council also joined the team and that was the start of the Namibian Heritage Week team that then created what we now have as Namibian Heritage Week because we realised that one day is not enough to celebrate our diverse cultural heritage,” said Ashipala.
Other activities planned for this year’s Namibian Heriage Week include free rock painting classes for kids from 19 to 22 September as well as a wine an paint event for adults on Friday 22 September priced at N$100 per adult.
Namibia Heritage Week started in 2012 and it takes place every third week of September.
The Motswana moErongo Cultural Group dances with Erongo regional governor Neville André. (Photograph by Adolf Kaure)