Keetmanshoop-Tribalism has no place in the Namibian society was the message from various speakers when the University of Namibia southern campus celebrated its cultural diversity.
During the official opening of this year’s Unam cultural festival on Thursday, the southern campus assistant pro-vice chancellor, Dr Erold Naomab, said there is no room for tribalism at the campus, adding that people should not look at their differences in culture in a negative way and see it as a problem, but embrace and celebrate the cultural differences among different groups.
He said students should not be preoccupied with negative vices such as tribalism, but instead celebrate cultural diversity and respect not only one’s values but the value of others too, adding that tribalism and racism are destructive.
“These are nothing but self-destructive attributes and illustrate a confused state of entitlement by individuals who are trying to cover up their weaknesses and failures by seeking justification through cooperative power,” he said of tribalism.
He further said culture is an important aspect of individuals and it is up to each and every one to showcase their traditions and ways of doing things, so that they are not mischaracterised by others.
Keetmanshoop local authority councillor Gabriel Freyer shared the same sentiments, saying in order for Namibia to become a truly united country people need to learn and understand other cultures, adding that cultural diversity accepts different values and traditions.
He said Namibia’s rich cultural diversity should be seen as a blessing, as many countries and tribes have lost their cultural identity due to globalisation, and thus cultural diversity should be celebrated as wealth.
“Ethnic and cultural diversity is wealth, and we should realise what kind of wealth we have as some people have lost it all due to globalisation.”
Freyer said cultural diversity should not lead to tribalism, but should encourage people to respect and learn more about others’ cultures, “as this is the only way we will create a common Namibian identity”.
“We can conform to one culture, or complain about cultural dominance but none of that is the answer, but when we understand each other’s culture then we will be able to live together as one Namibia,” he said.
This year’s festival is celebrated under the theme ‘showcasing the silver lining in our culturally diverse landscape.’