• September 22nd, 2018
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New community centre for Topnaars

Features, National, Erongo
Features, National, Erongo

UTUSEB - Construction of a cultural centre for the Topnaar community commenced last week in the Utuseb settlement about 90km from Walvis Bay. During a recent visit to the Topnaar community  Topnaar Chief Seth Kooitjie told New Era he is relieved the much anticipated centre that has been in the pipeline for the past two years has finally taken off. He explained that the cultural centre that will cost about N$4.5 million is being bankrolled by the Namibian German Special Initiative Programme (NGSIP). Kooitjie said the centre  will consist  of a set of bungalows for overnight guests and tourists,  a kiosk, a community hall,  traditional court, a camp for festivals, the chief's traditional house, an administration block, as well as ablution facilities.  The construction of the centre is expected to be completed by November. "Once completed the centre will  assist the Topnaars in preserving their own culture, promote local tourism and in the same vein uplift the livelihood of the Topnaar community. We have also sent some of our  people to undertake courses that will be beneficial to  the whole community and the tourism sector. These are all efforts by us to enhance the living standard of our people," Kooitjie explained He went on to say the centre would be self-sustaining and would employ its own staff. "The centre should not become a white elephant as it would be responsible to generate funds from its own programmes, because it will be in charge of the day to day operations, as well as the salaries of those employed at the centre," Kooitjie said. Also speaking to New Era at the construction site the  national director of the Rural People Institute of Social Empowerment (RISE Namibia), Pintile Davids said they will facilitate capacity building for the Topnaars so that the centre does not become a white elephant. “The capacity building will  allow us to enhance the centre by means of preserving the culture and norms of the Topnaar community, as well as their overall history. It will also be home to a living museum whereby visitors and tourists will have first hand experience on the culture of the Topnaars.  It will also be used for community gatherings and other major events that will take place  at the settlement.” According to Davids, Rise is a  non-governmental organisation  involved in rural and community development. The organisation was established in 1987 and has ever since been involved in  rural micro-financing,  livestock grant programmes,  community gardening, bakery projects for women and sewing among others.     By Eveline de Klerk
2014-01-30 09:07:48 4 years ago
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