Cultural heritage is fundamental: Hanse-Himarwa

13 Dec 2015 12:10pm
WINDHOEK, 13 DEC (NAMPA) –The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa says safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage is fundamental to Namibia's identity.
The minister said this during her keynote address at the official opening of this year’s 20th Annual National Cultural Festival that was held at the Keetmanshoop Stadium on Wednesday.
In her speech made available to Nampa after the event, she said safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage is fundamental to Namibia's identify, and being mindful that culture has the potential to reap economic benefits for the people is important when creating jobs.
“One of the valuable gifts our creator has endowed us as a human species is the ability to consciously think and actively play out our thoughts with deeds. The display of culture is another element that is shaped within our spiritual realm and naturally evokes our physical activism. And therefore, cultural events are human pinnacles that bring to the fore identities of a nation, a society, a community and a tribal group,” said the minister.
Hanse-Himarwa added that by fostering the responsible use of cultural heritage for tourism purposes to generate employment, Namibia could alleviate poverty, curb migration from rural to urban areas, and nurture a sense of pride among communities.
Tourism, she said, can offer a powerful incentive for preserving and enhancing intangible cultural heritage, since the revenue it generates can be channelled back into initiatives to aid its long-term survival.
The annual National Culture Festival has become one of Namibia’s flagship events since its establishment in 1995 and is regularly attended by Namibians from all walks of life, showcasing their culture and tradition.
Over the past years, the festival was devoted exclusively to traditional dances but this year’s festival also accommodated traditional materials and cuisines.
The festival this year featured a total of 90 cultural groups consisting of 15 individual members each; over 1 300 Namibian traditional performers gathered at the stadium to celebrate and teach each other their ways of life.
Hanse-Himarwa urged Namibians to continue working hard and take part in cultural activities to uphold traditional values and customs as to ensure that children practice the rich cultures in the future.
The celebration of Namibia’s diverse cultures and heritage during this year’s festival confirms and acknowledges Namibian constitutional rights as stipulated in Article 19 of the Namibian Constitution.
Article 19 states that every person is entitled to enjoy, practice, profess, maintain and promote any culture, language, tradition or any religion of their choice.