31 Jul 2013 07:40
RUNDU, 31 JUL (NAMPA) Renovations are underway on the Kavango Museum, which has been regarded as a white elephant since before Independence.
The museum, located at the Maria Mwengere Cultural Centre here, is in a deteriorated state, with most objects kept inside the building in a bad condition, while the museum's roof partly collapsed.
The museum was built in 1985. During the colonial era it was open to whites only, while members of the black community were only allowed to visit the zoo at the same centre.
The Kavango Museum was not used after Namibia attained its independence in 1990.
Most wooden objects were destroyed by insects, while others deteriorated due to a lack of proper care.
Locals with interests in the preservation of cultural items and history have blamed the buildings poor condition squarely on the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture, saying it had failed to appoint a curator for the museum.
There were also no budgetary provisions made for a curator.
A curator was finally appointed by the line ministry in 2010, but she only assumed duty in August last year.
Helvi Mbwalala, the new curator in the region, told Nampa on Wednesday renovations on the Kavango Museum building started in May this year.
Work to the building, amongst other things, involves the ceiling, the roof, tiling the floor, adding more lights, installing air conditioners, as well as repainting the whole building.
A total of N.dollars 500 000 was budgeted for the renovation of the museum, but the contractor, Litu Construction Company, has apparently run out of funds already, and is waiting for an advance payment from the line ministry to continue with renovation work.
The curator explained that once renovation is completed, her office will embark upon research and collection of artifacts from all corners of the region, especially from the five traditional authorities in the region to display in the museum.
Mbwalala said some wooden, leather and grass objects kept in the museum such as fishing baskets have lost colour.
The only objects which have managed to retain its original colour and which are still in good condition are those made of steel.
Mbwalala added that she would like to make the museum fully operational as soon as the research and collection of artifacts are done, which should be sometime next year.
The curator also plans to hold mini-exhibitions during Namibias heritage week next month to create awareness of the museum, since a lot of local people are not aware that it exists.
I plan to involve stakeholders such as the communities and schoolchildren, said Mbwalala.