Staff Reporter WINDHOEK Culture has both constructive and destructive elements, warned Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Kilus Nguvauva on Saturday. Speaking at the Omaheke Cultural Festival in Otjinene, he called on people to use art and culture positively towards building a stable, peaceful, prosperous and united Namibia. The Omaheke Region is home to more than one language group, and the festival gave the people of the region the opportunity to display their different cultures. “Cultural festivals help us to learn of each other’s cultures so that we can appreciate and respect others’ cultures in the spirit of nation building,” he said. Nguvauva gave examples of different ways in which culture could be expressed, such as the way people lived, talked, raised their children and expressed themselves in different forms of art. He reminded that culture served as people’s roots and displayed their real origins and wealth in values. “Remember that you need to nurture those values with respect and understanding, because those are the values that put Namibians amongst other nations as valuable citizens amongst nations,” the Deputy Minister said. Nguvauva cautioned that he would be failing in his duties if he did not warn the young people gathered in Otjinene for the festival, about HIV/Aids. Namibia together with Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa are among the countries worst affected by HIV/Aids. “Whatever we do will be useless if we do not take action in combating HIV/Aids on an individual basis,” he said. Namibia’s HIV prevalence rate according to the Sentinel Survey is 19.7% and Omaheke stands at 13.3%, indicating an increase every year. Furthermore, youth between the ages 25 – 29 are the worst affected by HIV/Aids. “This trend has serious repercussions on our cultural heritage as human resources are lost to this disease.” “I would like to encourage, no let me say, I am instructing you all to protect yourself from HIV/Aids infection. Get to know your status and live a positive life,” Nguvauva urged.
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