By Jeoffrey Mukubi
THE Namibia Heritage Week (NHW), which is an opportunity for Namibians to celebrate their heritage and also encourage them to keep culture alive, was launched on Monday 17 September at the Franco Namibia Cultural Centre (FNCC). This year, the NHW will have a galore of cultural activities across the country with intent to teach and remind Namibians about their heritage and to pass on inherited traditions and knowledge to their descendants. NHW grew out of an initiative started by the National Museum of Namibia which used to hold an `Open Day’ once a year. Local schools were invited for special backstage tours of the museum and its different collections and the idea was expanded when the National Museum was joined by the Museums Association of Namibia to expand the concept to regional museums. This year’s theme is ‘Turuganeni Kumwe’ or ‘Let’s Work Together’ in Rukangwali. At the launch, Education, Arts and Culture’s Permanent Secretary, Sanet Steenkamp gave the keynote address on behalf of Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa. She said that all Namibians should be involved in the celebration and preservation of their heritage and that the Namibian Heritage Week team believes every Namibian can play a role in celebrating Namibia’s rich cultural diversity. “Namibian Heritage Week is not only an opportunity to enjoy our cultural resources together, but also an opportunity for each and every Namibian to participate.As Namibian Heritage week continues to grow I have a vision that can become a focal point for us to embrace our ‘Namibianness’ and the unique features that make our country so special,” Steenkamp said. She also added that her vision is to see Namibians using NHW to debate ways in which indigenous knowledge and cultural practices can be used to combat social evils, such as the violence that threatens Namibian women and children. “I would like to emphasise that culture should however not be used as a stumbling block for national unity and shared prosperity. As a country we still face challenges of unemployment and poverty in the lives of many people and the inequality that is prevalent in our society indicates that we must unite in our efforts to overcome these challenges irrespective of our cultural background,” Steenkamp added. FNCC’s Director, Jerome Kohl said that the FNCC has always been involved in heritage week because they are a bi-national structure whose mission is to make cultures meet and promote Namibian culture in all its forms. “Since FNCC’s opening, in 1991, a lot of Namibian musicians, sculptors, dancers, writers, comedians, have performed here, and I often meet artists telling me that FNCC was like a springboard for them. FNCC allowed them to grow and show their talent in Namibia and in the world. So we are proud of this history and want to continue highlighting Namibian culture,” said Kohl. Dr Jeremy Silvester, the Director of the Museums Association of Namibia said that Namibia has beautiful natural landscapes, beautiful cultural traditions and a unique history, “These are the things that we want our children and our children’s children to be able to enjoy and appreciate. However, this will only happen if we cherish and value our natural and cultural heritage and work together to preserve it,” Silvester said. He added that working together and sharing dreams can all help the NHW to grow annually as a celebration of unity and diversity as Namibians. “I see Namibians with imagination. I see Namibians with creative talents. I see Namibians with passion and determination. We, as artists, musicians, museum curators, dancers, storytellers, fashion designers and workers at heritage sites and art galleries are an important part of Namibia’s wealth,” Silvester said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015