The Ministry of Education will host the 10th session of the intergovernmental committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). It will host the event in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The ICH session is expected to attract about 1 000 delegates from different parts of the world.
Speaking during the official launch of the session, the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said it would be the second time such a meeting is held on the African continent after Kenya hosted the 5th session in 2010.
Namibia is one of 163 state parties that are signatory to the convention and is also one of the 24 committee members.
“ I am extremely proud that Namibia has the honour to not only represent itself, but the African Continent as a whole, to highlight the very importance of protecting its unique ways of practising essential activities found in its myriad of diverse cultures, which have been passed on from generation to generation,” she stated.
She said this is particularly true in the global village where diverse world cultural practices and traditional performing arts are under threat due to the hegemonic influence of western culture.
“Intangible cultural heritage and expression articulate our individual stories, where we come from and how we got here and carve out our way forward,” said the education minister.
She explained that according to UNESCO, intangible cultural heritage is transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.
Hanse-Himarwa further said the Oshituthi sho Magongo, which is the annual Marula festival of the Oshiwambo speaking people, is the only Namibian element that has been nominated for possible inscription onto the UNESCO representative list of ICH during the 10th session.
“This element was chosen due to its thorough brief and research, and is just the first of many more to come in terms of nominations aimed at safeguarding and preserving the Namibian intangible cultural heritage,” she said.
Hanse-Himarwa said the occasion would require Namibians to join hands to make the event successful by warmly welcoming guests.
“We humbly appeal to you, particularly the corporate sector, to come on board to make the event memorable by pledging support through financial or in kind sponsorships or donations,” she said.
She said interested parties who want to support the event could contact Ms M’kariko Amagulu or Freda Tawana at 061- 2933052 or visit the secretariat office of the 10th session of the intergovernmental committee on intangible cultural heritage in room 175, 1st floor, Education Building at the Government Office park.
Head of Office Representative of UNESCO to Namibia Dr Jean Pierre Ilboudo said the importance of preserving and promoting the intangible cultural heritage that comprises the roots of each people’s cultural identity has especially been gaining attention around the world.
Ilboudo stated that intangible cultural heritage cannot be recovered once it has been lost.