Celebrating Namibian heritage
The official opening of this year’s Heritage Week celebrations kicked off on Monday this week at the Franco Namibia Cultural Centre (FNCC) with Christian Goltz’s photographic exhibition of the Olufoko festival which was held last month.
The exhibition highlighted the various practices embraced by the festival which has attracted a significant number of participants since it was reintroduced as a public cultural event in 2012.
Olufuko’s popularity can be attributed to the fact that people understand the importance of culture in Namibia and are willing to participate in such activities.
Throughout this week, various events including exhibitions of drawings and photographs, children’s drawing workshops, drama productions, and a quiz competition were held in different parts of the country as part of this year’s theme “Intangible culture heritage: Keeping culture alive”.
Heritage Week is an opportunity for Namibians to showcase their traditions and cultural beliefs; it encourages Namibians to keep these valuable lifestyle priorities alive and to pass on inherited traditions and knowledge to their descendants.
The events, like Olufuko, encourage Namibians to celebrate and commit themselves to protect Namibia’s natural and cultural resources. Director of the Heritage and Culture Programme, Esther Moombolah-Goagoses, highlighted the key objectives of Heritage week at the official opening ceremony.
“We will only be able to protect our cultural and natural resources if we value them. Heritage Week is an excellent opportunity for Namibians to value their rich and diverse heritage which makes us unique compared to the rest of the world.
“We host Heritage Week to promote the safeguarding and protection of all cultural heritages in Namibia irrespective of their religious or ethnic identity, to recognize that all forms of cultural heritage in Namibia are valued as equal in importance,” Moombolah-Goagoses said.
“Heritage Week is an event that promotes understanding across diverse communities of the communal value of heritage, preserves knowledge of the indigenous communities of Namibia and develops, maintains and supports a wide network of contacts and partners dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage through effective practices.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Outapi Town council, Mateus Hashilongo Ananias, expressed his gratitude at the inclusion of the Olufuko festival in this year’s Heritage Week.
“The festival is the third most visited cultural event in the country despite the fact that some people believe that the festival is a negative practice that denigrates women or works against Christianity as stated in several comments in the media,” Ananias said.
Heritage Week originated as an idea of the National Museum of Namibia to have an annual Museum Day. The Museum Association of Namibia (MAN) became a partner in promoting this original idea and the ‘Day’ was extended to the regions.
After the National Heritage Council (NHC) and other stakeholders became involved, it was decided to enlarge the event and create a broader event called a National Heritage Week.
Olufuko Festival: A photographic exhibition by Christian Goltz and the Drawing Past and Present exhibition which showcases an array of art works that incorporate soft pencil sketches and prints to charcoal illustrations and celebrates drawing in its diversity of manifestation and implementation will be on display at the FNCC and the upper gallery of the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) until 24 September and 8 October, respectively.