The CEO of the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) Rosalia Martins-Hausiku says beyond the taste of cuisine and celebrations, culture has the power to teach, change lives and moreover solve problems especially in the current context where violence and mass killings are rampant and seem to have become the norm.
Rosalia, who is also the deputy chairperson of the University of Namibia (Unam) Council, said it is high time Namibians resort to their culture for solutions and to do this effectively they should understand culture and use it positively.
Martins-Hausiku was speaking as a keynote speaker on Wednesday at the official opening of the annual cultural festival being held at Unam’s Rundu Campus. The festival ends on Saturday.
“I’m always excited when I hear that culture is being celebrated in our modern society. Looking at all of you today, it reminds me of why I love culture so much. The beautiful traditional attires, the rich smell of cultural cuisine, beverages. The celebrations clearly demonstrate how we value our culture and tradition. Culture is who we are – whether you choose to believe it or not it dictates who you will become,” Rosalia said.
She told the students and guests that leading research has proven that crimes of a violent nature are more common in urban areas as opposed to rural areas, adding that people in rural areas normally have a more central belief system which helps them deal with conflict. Whereas in urban areas people tend to be more isolated, suffer alone and as a result resort to violence as a way of life.
However, the challenge faced by Namibia in this modern world is whether to cling to its culture, amplifying the good and rejecting the bad. “Not all cultural practices are good; likewise not all are bad. We must take wise decisions for the betterment and advancement of our greater society’s culture,” she noted.
She added that as a forward looking nation Namibia must reject the notion that certain ethnic groups are better than others – “and nepotism and racism should be rejected”.
“The idea that certain people are inferior should not be condoned. These are legacies of apartheid in Namibia and they should not define our trajectory,” she said.
“As a country wounded by apartheid, with divisions that remain visible to this day, we have a big cultural responsibility of integration and forgiveness. We must therefore not waste time in entertaining, in post-independent Namibia, the skeletons of the past. We must bury them and move on positively,” she stated.
She urged students and other youth to adopt real-life role models – not the ones they see on TV and rather to look in their societies to find role models who are true, adding that to a certain extent it is believed television reinforces wrong values in youth.
“Therefore students, be cognizant of what you learn from role models in your life. Do not let them influence you to be racist, tribalist or any other form of bigotry. Be friendly to others in your community based on the degree of their character and not merely their skin colour, language or culture. A person who is considerate values others, tolerates opposite views and any other positive quality that appeals from others,” she said.
“Finally, as we celebrate our cultural roots today and our diverse identities let us remember that we are one – what is the head without the body? Of what use is the foot if it does not have a leg to move it? We may be different yet are not subordinate or less important than others due to our different roles in society – thus we are all one,” said Hausiku
“Let us embrace each other as we strive to take our society forward and live by our cultural festival theme for 2016 – Cultural Roots, for Diverse Identities,” she added.