By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK “THE retiring first Director of Copyright and Obscenity Material leaves behind a rich legacy and contribution in the field of communication, particularly video productions, the basis for protecting intellectual property for all of us to see.” With these words, the Minister of Broadcasting and Information, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, paid homage and tribute to Tarah Shinavene at a special function to celebrate his retirement from the public service. The 60-year-old Shinavene had been in charge of the Directorate Audiovisual Media and Copyright Services since its inception within the Ministry of Broadcasting and Information. “I have known Tarah since 1976 during the days of the liberation struggle. Before he went into exile with other Namibians, Shinavene worked as a teacher and then a broadcaster at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), before it became SWABC and later NBC,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said. According to her, Shinavene spearheaded efforts to pass the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act legislation through the National Assembly. “This law enabled the establishment of Namibia’s only musical works collective management organization (NASCAM) of which Shinavene is the current chairperson. I have come to realize that copyright matters are very much a backbone of every progressing and successful economy, because its basic notion is the recognition and protection of the creations of the mind,” the minister said. In her view copyright or intellectual property rights are crucial for the encouragement of creativity, the attraction of investments and the preservation and protection of cultural heritage such as the expression of folklore. “Many of Africa’s useful traditional knowledge in all areas have been exploited by developed nations for many years, with little or no equitable compensation, due to a lack of relevant legislation to safeguard what belongs to Africa. In this Shinavene had been a pioneer on behalf of the Namibian government. His experience in the field of intellectual property will be dearly missed by all,” she said. Thanks to Shinavene’s hard work, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting now has mobile video vans and a video studio in Oshakati. “During his tenure, Tarah had also been involved in the recording of folklore and research into traditional inheritance practices. I am happy that as chairperson of the Namibia Film Commission, he will continue to link up with my ministry. His retirement will surely enable him to pay more attention to the NFC, as we would like to see this sector develop to greater heights,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said in conclusion.