By: Hertha Ekandjo
President Hage Geingob says that culture should never divide us but should instead unite us.
He said by celebrating our respective cultural festivals together, we will develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the verbal and non-verbal norms of other cultures, thus bringing us closer together.
Geingob made these remarks during the Nama Cultural Festival held in Keetmanshoop at the Keetmanshoop Westdene Stadium in the //Kharas Region last week.
Geingob said that by celebrating cultural festivals, all Namibians can enhance their capacity to understand and acknowledge the critical aspects of their cultural diversity and appreciate how their various cultures make us more united and stronger as a nation.
“The celebration of our cultures enables us to neutralise the potential cultural barriers and conflicts, such as stereotypes that may exist in our society due to ignorance and fear of the unknown,” said Geingob.
Geingob added that this fear and ignorance were exploited during the Apartheid era through the establishment of Bantustans.
He further said free Namibians can no longer ascribe to the
Bantustan ideology of division must therefore rid themselves of any cultural stereotypes that were perpetrated in the past.
According to him, the best way to do this is to celebrate our cultures as Namibians.
“Let us endeavour to travel to all regions and celebrate the joy of culture together,” said Geingob.
He added that Namibia’s various cultural groups consist of the bricks that make up the structure of the Namibian House. Geingob said the unity amongst these groups is the mortar that firms up the foundation Namibia established.
“As Namibians, we should ensure that our respective cultures should lead to the fostering of a better understanding amongst all our people,” said Geingob.
“If Namibians understand each other better in our souls, then it will be easier to overcome any economic or political barriers that may exist in their society.
Culture is said to be the oil that keeps a society running when it comes to the role of nation-building.
“Tradition and knowledge have been described as the main pillars of development and sustenance of communities and that no society can progress in the absence of the two,” he said.
According to Geingob, author Paulo Coelho emphasises the integral role culture plays in societies by saying that culture makes people understand each other better, and if they know each other better in their souls, it is easier to overcome economic and political barriers.
Geingob said every nation has a set of values and norms that govern the behaviour of its people.
“We refrain from engaging in tribalism, racism, sexism, nepotism and fascism. These are all counterrevolutionary traits and enemies of a progressive society, and therefore they are enemies of the Namibian House,” said Geingob.
This was the fourth edition of the Nama Cultural Festival after the event was inaugurated in 2018 to bring together the Nama community to discuss issues affecting them and revive the Nama traditional customs, norms, history, and language.