All Can Preserve Culture

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By William J. Mbangula Oshakati Leaders at all levels, parents and learners should assist the government in the restoration, consolidation and development of culture. So says the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture (MYNSSC) John Mutorwa, adding that the Namibian culture was at the edge of getting lost during the colonial era because it was only used for the strategy of “divide and rule” against Namibians. “Parents and community leaders can do a great deal by advising, warning and cautioning our youth, not to ignore and throw away our constructive culture but rather to try to understand them and keep the fire burning.” The minister said this in a speech delivered on his behalf by Dr Peingeondjabi Shipoh, the Permanent Secretary of MYNSSC, at the Oshana Annual Cultural Festival at Ongwediva recently. Hailing the event as a celebration of cultural heritage which is a human right, the minister stressed that it is something “which we fought for in this country” and that is guaranteed in Article 19 of the Constitution of Namibia. He pointed out that his ministry cannot promote and preserve culture without the involvement of parents, teachers, church leaders and community leaders. For the said reason, the minister noted, their interests and efforts are much needed to support the government’s goals. Such goals are, among many others: – to raise awareness concerning culture among the youth so that they can preserve, promote and develop constructive culture; – to create a platform for cultural groups and school culture clubs so that they can perform their culture, to make them pure and popular for the nation’s benefit; – to celebrate cultural festivals with those who are sharing the future with Namibians so that, together, they can make a free and united Namibia the hub of cultural diversity. According to the minister, Namibians need to develop culture to a level that it can contribute to social economic development by creating employment. They should turn culture into an income-generating project, he stated. Utilization of social structures such as amphitheatres, museums, oxungi kolupale (evening discussions), galleries and other heritage, the minister believes, can contribute to the betterment of youth development by keeping them – the youth – busy and making them better people. “We first need to record the customs, style and norms we inherited for preservation and research purposes. Let us collect all the important and valuable legendary and factual oral stories from our elders before they die. Our youth ought to be encouraged to write books on culture and environment because they are the leaders of tomorrow.” The winners at this cultural event, said the Senior Culture Officer in Oshana, Ben Shikesho, will represent Oshana Region at the national cultural event due to take place at Tsandi in Omusati Region in December. The participating groups from all constituencies in Oshana Region are divided into four groups, of which the winning category from each group will represent the region in the national event. The categories are: lower primary, upper primary (or junior secondary), out-of-school youth (or senior secondary) and adults. The adults category was won by Maxuilili Cultural Group (Oshakati East Constituency) Out-of-school/Senior institutions category by Ongwediva College of Education, Upper Primary (Junior Secondary) by Ompandakani Combined School (Uukwiyushona Constituency) and Ondjondjo Primary School took the first place in the category of lower primary. Each group went away with a prize of N$1ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 500 as well as trophies.