Nama community unification a long journey: Stuurmann

06 Jun 2019 06:40am
By Suzith Tjitaura
KEETMANSHOOP, 06 JUN (NAMPA) – The Nama Cultural Festival committee says their goal to unite the Nama community will be realised, even if it takes years to come to fruition.
The festival is an annual event hosted to unite the Nama community in Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and the diaspora.
In an interview with Nampa towards the end of the festival, committee spokesperson Antonio Stuurmann said Nama people are more willing than before to embrace one another, not only the Namas in Namibia, but in southern Africa at large.
Stuurmann said the unification of the Nama clans will not be achieved in two festivals, but will be realised over a number of years and through additional festivals and engagements.
“The festival is one of the interventions to unite our people, for our people to celebrate and embrace who they are. In terms of our objective of unity we have seen a positive move as well as a positive reaction towards the exhibitions, panel discussion and cultural village. We have seen more young people showing interest in listening and learning during the festival,” he said.
This year’s festival took place from 30 May to 02 June in Keetmanshoop under the theme ‘/Hao da ni’, which means ‘we will come together’.
Also speaking to Nampa was a young man from Botswana attending the festival, Nichodimus Cooper, who concurred that unity is a process and cannot be achieved overnight. He said the seed was planted during the first edition of the festival last year and in due time, the fruits will sprout.
Cooper called on young people to participate in greater numbers, noting that it was time for the organisers to see what hampers their participation.
“The organising committee should investigate and see why the youth hold back, however there was a larger audience than last year and it is good to see other tribes coming and being part of the event,” he said.
Gospert Kaffer from the |Hai-|Khaua clan of Berseba also urged the youth to come on board to participate in the panel discussions and learn more about their culture.
“The youth should be more involved. Our elders are dying and if they are not involved, our culture will vanish when the elders are no more,” he remarked.
Kaffer said the Nama people “cry that people do not hear, see and appreciate them”, but said it was time for the Nama people themselves to stand up and embrace and appreciate themselves.
“Let us as Nama people take ownership of our culture and keep our culture burning, otherwise it will not exist in the generations to come. If I respect my culture, another person will do so too,” he said.