The Nakapandi Koikuti Onghwalukuwa (NKO) cultural centre, which opened its doors to the public last weekend, will provide them with these opportunities. Here Pinehas Nakaziko tells us more about the centre.
The centre is an initiative started by the settlement’s primary school principal, Victor Nakapandi.
NKO aims to promote different cultures by providing communities in the informal settlement and greater Okahandja, with the opportunity to showcase their talent and exhibit their cultural and traditional artefacts at the centre.
The aim of the centre is also to inform, educate and entertain the locals to ensure that Namibians preserve their African identity for future generations.
“This centre will be used to entrench the promotion of our Namibian norms and values.
“This will be done through holding different activities such as training people on how to dance to different traditional dances.
“[We will also] motivate and promote young musicians, as well as make music that people can identify as Namibian music such as Damara punch, Shambo, Oviritje and many more,” Nakapandi says.
He adds that they also want to promote Namibian traditional food and drinks.
“We want to inform our Namibian young generation that development did not start only on other continents. We in Africa, Namibia included, have been developing ourselves at our own pace.
“For example, this has been noticeable in communication, medicine, technology, education and transport,” he explains.
Nakapandi says they also aim to encourage the Namibian people to give their children Namibian, African names to preserve their identity.
The centre will also be used for research into traditional and cultural matters to motivate elders to inform and educate young people for them to understand that elders, whether educated or not, have knowledge and skills that they can use.
Currently, they are busy working on a book about the traditions of all Namibian cultural groups, scheduled for release soon.
“My responsibility today is to answer why a history, culture and art centre is important,” Nakapandi says.
Nakapandi was first appointed principal at Oshinamuniwe Combined School in 2002. In 2005, he was appointed principal of the Five Rand Primary School.
“When I came to the school, I was thinking, what should we do to market the school?
“I did my research and came to the conclusion that the community was rich in culture. We started with a cultural group, where I was a coach myself, and we reached our aim.”
In 2007, Nakapandi went to the centre for Indigenous Music and Dance Practices (IMDA) during a cultural festival in Zambia, where he learned a great deal about traditions.
In 2012, after attending different workshops, he started the Nakapandi Koikuti Onghwalukuwa Cultural Troupe.
Through this troupe, he says, they added value to the community by doing modern music alongside Shambo music, which was well received in the community.