An African Night to Remember


By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK A fashion show showcasing the national dress of different African countries and some music featuring artists from the continent plus a variety of traditional African dishes accompanied the Africa Night celebration held at a local resort last Thursday. The stately event drew a capacity of over 300 dignitaries, among them senior government officials and members of the diplomatic corps who hosted the event. The atmosphere was festive as guests were dressed up in their different African attire, ready to celebrate the day with other compatriots from the African continent. Although Africa is still perceived as a “dark continent” by some in the outside world, there is a lot that the inhabitants of the continent can celebrate today. After overcoming and breaking away from the shackles of colonialism and apartheid, Africa is now ready to take on the challenge of economic emancipation by addressing the challenges of HIV/Aids, poverty, unemployment and under-development. Addressing the audience on behalf of the Namibian Foreign Affairs Minister, Minister of Works Transport and Communication Joel Kaapanda said the challenge was now for the continent to integrate its economy under this year’s 43rd anniversary theme , namely: “Working Together for Integration and Development.” The theme seeks to unify Africans to strive towards social and economic development – a similar message echoed by President Hifikepunye Pohamba during the celebration of Africa Day on May 25th held at the Sam Nujoma Stadium last week Thursday. In order to accelerate economic growth, Kaapanda called upon the private sector to participate in the development of the country and the continent as a whole. Currently, Africa only contributes 1 percent to the global world economy and much more needs to be done to increase this growth by fast-tracking manufacturing and value-addition within Africa before its raw materials are exported overseas. In celebrating Africa’s Freedom Day, many felt Africans should move beyond songs and dance, from entertainment to socio-economic empowerment. Yet in celebrating Africa Night, some ministers, politicians, high commissioners and members of the diplomatic corps took to the floor to dance the night away. They were entertained by cultural performances and a diversity of Africa cuisine, right from South Africa and as far north as Algeria and Egypt. Cultural dances were performed by the lively rhythmic Ditawana Cultural Group from Botswana. Similarly, the presence of an African fashion show caused the audience to erupt into ululation and ovation. The designs ranged from that of the traditional Zambian chitenge, a cloth wrapped around women’s waists, the red and white Kenyan Masaai attire for the male warriors, the elegant white flowing Ethiopian dress, to an outfit made from the African Union Flag. “Viva Africa” was the toast provided by all the African ambassadors and high commissioners present at the celebration as they wished good health and a prosperous long life to President Hifikepunye Pohamba. Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps Tuneya Hussein Dado said that Africa can today boast of strong democratic governments with very few trouble spots, unlike in the past. The African Union is striving to uplift the living standards of its inhabitants, while more still needs to be done to address the growing HIV/Aids crisis, abject poverty and rising unemployment. “Africa has come of age,” concluded Hussein Dado adding that with unity, peace and stability it has achieved a lot ever since freeing itself from years of colonialism. A fund-raising activity was also held where some of the audience won various prizes from raffle tickets bought at N$50,00 each. Such prizes ranged from two return air tickets and accommodation at lodges in Southern Africa, household appliances and African souvenirs. The event ended off with lively performances from ‘4×4 Too Much Power.’

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