13 Apr 2015 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 13 APR (NAMPA) - Education, Arts and Culture Minister, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, says arts and culture in Namibia have not received the necessary support in the past.
The minister, who officially opened a five-day conference on cultural heritage and creative arts in the capital on Monday, said it is high time that the attitude towards arts and culture is changed, as many jobs can be created through their development.
Gone are the days when we invite cultural groups and do not pay them. It is no longer for leisure purposes and people's energy, efforts and gifts must be respected and paid for because it is those skills and talents that can put bread on the table, Hanse-Himarwa said.
She said her office will ensure that Namibia's cultural heritage is preserved and strengthened.
According to the minister, research from many parts of Africa has revealed that the role of cultural heritage and the creative arts in sustainable development is critical for any society, and Namibia is no exception.
She said when used as a dynamic transformative process, culture can be used to create awareness, behaviour change, tourism, therapy and social support, adding there is direct evidence that the relationship between culture and development justifies the contribution of culture in African economies.
Hanse-Himarwa said Namibia should not consider cultural heritage as a leisurely endeavour but as a powerful tool for social change and transformation.
The minister stressed that cultural heritage and arts can also be regarded as a channel for mediation during the times of conflict and uncertainty to develop an understanding and tolerance.
It is a tool we can use to redefine and reconstruct a free, tolerant and prosperous nation. It is also a commodity that can improve peoples livelihoods, she said.
The conference brought together about 300 national and international experts in arts, culture, heritage, education and tourism.
It is aimed at creating an arena for dialogue and networking to achieve growth and development of the art, culture and heritage sector.
Participants will also review, harmonise and consolidate Namibia's National Arts and Culture Policy with relevant local and international policies and legal instruments to ensure sustainable development of the arts, culture and heritage sector. Also up for discussion is the formulation of a national strategy for the development of arts, culture and heritage, while exploring ways to generate, popularise and sustain interest for and education in cultural heritage and creative arts.
The conference is being held under the theme Arts and Culture is the Seed for Social Change and Transformation, and ends on Friday.