Namibians urged to preserve their heritage through books, movies, theatre

22 Sep 2017 18:10pm
By Charles Tjatindi
GOBABIS, 22 SEP (NAMPA) - Namibians should preserve their heritage for future generations by documenting their stories in books, documentaries and movies.
Gobabis Municipality Strategic Executive for Local Economic Development, Urban Planning and Health, Patrick Mbala made the call during the launch of National Heritage Week for the Omaheke Region here on Wednesday.
Mbala said turning such stories into motion pictures and books will also provide employment to others, especially the youth who are grappling with the scourge of unemployment.
He said although making such films and publishing books can be a costly exercise, youth groups and other community members that combine their interests in the form of community-based organisations stand a better chance of being funded by established non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other aid agencies.
It is also through such structures, Mbala said, that young people can be mentored into play, film and book writing.
“Aid agencies and NGOs always advertise in newspapers for submission of proposals for such things. Also, young people can approach such institutions themselves once they have organised themselves,” he said.
Tapping from his experience as promoter for grassroots theatre development during his previous employment with the National Theatre of Namibia, Mbala said anyone can tell or retell a story, as it does not take special skills other than attention to detail and an overwhelming desire to preserve history.
“A lot of young people have become award-winning script writers, film directors and authors of books just by simply documenting what others relate to them,” he said.
Mbala mentioned Armas Shivute, Norman Job and Joel Haikali who have all emerged through the ranks of developmental theatre, and went on to be leading film actors and script writers.
He noted that social media, despite its relative benefits, continue to threaten the existence of traditional mediums of information sharing such as storytelling.
If the status quo persists, Mbala said, future generations will have a diluted version of their cultural norms and values.
“Today’s youth are forever on the Internet, but mostly for the wrong reasons. They are only there for social media and hardly take time to read on matters surrounding their heritage,” said Mbala.
Despite the hive of activities such as traditional song and dance performances and displays of various cultural costumes during Heritage Week, Omaheke remains quiet during the year and no perseverance or documentation of heritage takes place.
The National Heritage Week, which is this year celebrated between 18 and 24 September, gives Namibians an opportunity to celebrate the country’s diverse cultures, traditions and beliefs.
The theme for this year’s celebration is 'We are in it together'.