By Anna Shilongo
The Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture John Mutorwa has advised the Directorate of National Heritage and Culture Programmes (NHACP) to go back to their drawing board and have a proper professional evaluation of the Annual National Cultural Festival (ANCF) over the past 13 years.
By so doing, Mutorwa is confident, the NHACP would be able to identify its strengths and weaknesses, shortcomings and strategies to improve.
The National Heritage Council (NHC) was commended for its efforts and hard work when it got Twyfelfontein inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, as well as the construction of the Eenhana Memorial Shrine, during 2007.
It is further encouraged to intensify its efforts in terms of practical implementation of the National Heritage Act, No. 27 of 2004.
“The idea of establishing cultural villages must progressively start to crystallise into concrete action,” said Mutorwa.
Thus the minister singled out the Maria Mwengere Cultural and Environmental Centre, established in the early 1970’s in Rundu, as an institution with huge potential for youth activities.
If well planned, developed, maintained and properly managed, the centre has the ability to promote environmental awareness, culture, and economic and tourism activities.
“Currently, the beautiful centre and its valuable fauna and flora is seriously neglected, therefore senior officials must assist the staff at the regional level to effect positive changes and improvements, speedily,” said Mutorwa.
During his visit to the centre, the minister observed that some trees and shrubs were not trimmed, while general cleaning of the premises was not regularly done.
“Especially since the departure of Mr Bradley, the house in which he lived is abused and totally neglected. In fact it is falling apart!”
It is against this background that the minister called on the NHACP to take immediate steps to correct the situation at the centre. The amphitheatre and the museum are also in need of urgent upgrading.
“What are the plans? Is it possible that the NHACP and the museum Association of Namibia could urgently look into this matter and make specific written recommendations and/or take remedial actions?” questioned the minister.
They were also urged to continue to intensify their efforts and work of advising, assisting and upgrading artists through various institutions in the country.
“The Arts Directorate must continuously develop and guide programmes that are geared towards creativity, as a powerful means of economic, intellectual and social development. We must continuously work harder in assisting our artists to find markets for their valuable products. It is still a cherished idea and ideal to see the National Youth Choir active and visible. People are missing the National Youth Choir,” he stressed.
Mutorwa requested the arts, sports and cultural institutions to continue with their noble work of providing opportunities for cross-cultural communication, contact, coordination and cooperation.
He however also saw the need for programmes to be further developed and implemented in order to enhance and promote multi-culturalism within the Government’s policy of Unity in Diversity, as articulated and explained in Article 19 of the Namibian Constitution.