29 Apr 2014 13:40pm
KAPAKO, 29 APR (NAMPA) - The construction of the first-ever Kavango cultural village at the historical tree at Kapako has been put on hold due to a lack of funds.
The Acacia Eriolab thorn tree, known in Rukavango as 'Munyondo gwaKapande', is about 20 times thicker than a normal thorn tree.
It is situated some 30 kilometres west of Rundu in the Kavango West Regions Kapako Constituency.
Popular belief has it that a powerful drum-beater who was known locally as 'Munyondo gwaKapande' climbed into the tree while beating his drum, and disappeared.
It is believed that the sound of the drum is often heard coming from the tree in March during the harvesting season, which is also the month when he disappeared into the tree.
The Munyondo gwaKapande cultural village project chairperson Tuhafeni Pessa told Nampa on Tuesday that a lack of funds is hampering the completion of infrastructure at the project, which is meant to boost tourism.
Pessa stated that they need about N.dollars 250 000 to set up water and toilet facilities at the project, while electricity has already been installed there.
He has been paying a security guard out of his own pocket to look after the premises, but the security guard stopped working in February this year as he is also finding the going tough.
The existing infrastructure at the envisioned cultural village such as huts that were already erected, is busy deteriorating, and as there is no security guard, the fence is also being vandalised.
Some villagers are using the ground in the area to relieve themselves when nature calls as the grass around the village has grown very high.
The construction of six display huts which was delayed, also due to a lack of funds, has been completed.
A curator within the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture in the Kavango Region, Helvy Mbwalala earlier told Nampa that the ministry will be doing research on what kind of items can be displayed there.
The first and second phases of the project at the historical site which have both been completed included electricity infrastructure, a fence, display huts, septic tanks, a performance area, a story-telling area, and a reception area.
The third phase of the project, which will include a restaurant and accommodation establishments, are next in line depending on the availability of funds.
Once the cultural village is completed, the tree will become the site where its story will be told to visitors, which will also be a way to preserve the area's rich oral history.
In early 2012, over N.dollars 1 million was availed by the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Fund for the development of the cultural village.
The architectural design of the cultural village was approved by the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture.
Once completed, the 'Munyondo gwaKapande' cultural village will also house small and medium enterprise (SME) stalls, a theatre, different types of Kavango households, and a parking lot.
The cultural village will in addition harvest local natural resources for sale to the general public and tourists.
The cultural village will then be registered as a business entity.
None of the Kavango Region's various historical sites are recognised by the National Heritage Council of Namibia.
Some local historians have advocated that it is high time that the region's oral history is documented and recognised.