Damara dress, a symbol of Dignity, pride and respect

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Windhoek

The ǂNūkhoe /Humis Women’s Cultural group hosted its first ever women networking event at the Katutura Community Art Centre (KCAC) to promote the Damara traditional dress.

Pinehas Nakaziko witnessed the glittery event aimed at sharing various developmental ideas, discuss cultural practices and sensitise women on the importance of the Damara dress, also aimed at engaging and encouraging young women to embrace and continue the legacy that of their ancestors culturally.

Hundreds of women, men and young people attended the event to see how Damara people wear on a regular basis.  Dresses such as Oaxae Rokhoes, !oa- Taras Rokhoes, !game-Taras Rokhoes, and !khae-om #nuis Rokhoes were showcased. President of the #nukhoe /humis Womens Cultural group, Mariane Thanises, demonstrated how different women wear their dresses, when and where, from young girls to older women. The event also saw how unmarried women wore in the olden days, and how they wear nowadays including  widows. Teenage girls wore Oaxae Rokhoes in the past while widows dressed!oa- Taras Rokhoes, full black attires. The wedding gown of the past is !game-Taras Rokhoes, a full white gown with some few green marks, while a girl becoming a woman wore !khae-om #nuis Rokhoes.

The traditional clothing colours are green, white and blue. Green and blue identify different sub-cultural groups. Some women may wear white and blue or white and green, the white representing peace and unity among all Damara-Nama-speaking people.Some Damara women share a similar style of traditional dress to the Ovaherero, with the long, flowing dresses that looks Victorian. However, the traditional headgears that the Ovaherero women wear have longer ‘horns’ resembling the horns of cattle.

“Namibians must see one another as related and no one should see their culture as superior to the other,” said First Lady Monica Geingos when she addressed the event. She also cautioned people not to discriminate other tribes.  “You cannot be a nation within a nation. One Namibia, one country,” she says.

The event was also meant show the symbolism of the Damara dresse which is dignity, pride, and respect for women as daughters, wives, and mothers and community leaders- especially these times of escalating violence on girls and women.

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