A Celebration of Nama Culture in Keetmanshoop

Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture officially opened a new exhibition at Keetmanshoop Museum on Thursday last week, called Nama Khoen ǂNîsasib.

The exhibition gives an introduction to Nama history and culture. The exhibition was produced by the Museums Association of Namibia (MAN) with funding from the Embassy of Finland. The occasion was also used by MAN to celebrate International Museum Day in Namibia. Hon. Hanse-Himarwa urged young people to visit the museum to learn about their history and culture. She said “There is more to Nama identity than the traditional dress”.

She argued that it was important not only for Namibians to show equal respect to each other’s’ cultures and to see their identity as Namibians as the most important. //Kharas Regional Governor, Lucia Basson, used the opportunity to speak of the importance of preserving language as the heart of culture. She warned that the numbers of Khoekhoegowab speakers in the region was falling as families were using Afrikaans or English in their homes. Mr Aaron Nambadi, Chairperson of MAN, said that the organisation believes strongly in the importance of advisory committees for regional museums.

MAN has worked with Keetmanshoop Museum Advisory Committee as it is important that the community has `ownership’ of their local museum. The wealth of knowledge and expertise on the Committee will ensure that the museum continues to develop. He read a message from Her Excellency Anne Saloranta, Ambassador of the Embassy of Finland who also praised the creativity and enthusiasm of the members of the Committee that she had met. Nambadi stressed that museums in Namibia should be viewed as important educational resources.

The exhibition covers topics such as the use of plants for traditional medicine, traditional dress and the experience of Nama communities during the 1903-1908 war of anti-colonial resistance against German colonial rule. Keetmanshoop Municipality established a Museum Advisory Committee that worked with MAN to develop the exhibition and which will continue the development of new displays at the museum.

The launch of the exhibition was combined with the unveiling of a statue of `Tseib’ the founder of the Khara-!Oan who is remembered as the founder of the town. The statue was made by well known Namibian artist Papa Shikongeni.