Marula Fruit Festival now on heritage list

03 Dec 2015 14:20pm
WINDHOEK, 03 DEC (NAMPA) - Northern Namibia’s ‘Oshituthi shomagongo’ has been inscribed on the 2003 Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity in the capital on Wednesday.
The Marula Fruit Festival, as it is known in English, was inscribed on the list during the 10th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of ICH held in collaboration with the United Scientific Educational and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in the capital.
Speaking during the event, the Commissioner for Culture and Acting Director for National Heritage and Culture Programmes Esther Moombola-/Goagoses explained that the festival runs for two to three days between March and April.
During the event, eight Aawambo communities from northern Namibia meet to enjoy omagongo, a beverage made from the fruit.
To prepare, men carve utensils and serving tools while the women make baskets, pots and gather the fruit with young people, to process and ferment to make the juice, she added.
Traditional songs are sung, poems recited and lives discussed. Transmitted through observation and participation, the element unites generations and communities.
“This is our first attempt to do this kind of work. To inscribe one of these elements in the 2003 convention means a lot to us, as we have just ratified the convention in 2007.”
She added that Namibia has 13 elements on its National Inventory list, which include a musical instrument from Hardap; the Damara wedding; and traditional medicines from Fransfontein.
According to information from the 10th Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of ICH presented to the media, the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of ICH is aimed at safeguarding the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills that communities, groups and in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage.
The core functions of the intergovernmental committee are to promote the objectives of the convention, provide guidance on best practices and make recommendations on measures for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.
The committee is entrusted with managing the implementation of the convention, including the inscriptions of ICH elements on the representative list of the ICH of Humanity.
Namibia is hosting the 10th session of the intergovernmental committee on ICH in collaboration with Unesco.
It is the second time the meeting is held on the African Continent after Kenya hosted the fifth session in 2010.
The session is being attended by delegates from 24 member states. It started Monday and ends on Friday.