African culture has been a critical weapon in the struggle against slavery, racism, colonial subjugation, and economic marginalisation, says Swapo parliamentarian Eveline !Nawases-Tayele.
Nawases-Tayele said this in parliament on Tuesday while throwing her weight behind the debate on the Ratification of the Charter for African Culture Renaissance. The charter, among others, is aimed at strengthening cultural collaboration within Namibia and between and the rest of Africa.
While calling on Namibians to embrace culture, Nawases-Tayele said: “I firmly believe that culture will provide, as it always does, the moral and spiritual substance for the gradual but inevitable social, economic and political integration of our country, our continent.”
“We fought the liberation struggle amongst others to preserve our culture because the aim of colonialism was to destroy our culture, our identity, and our being as a people,” said the Swapo backbencher.
!Nawases-Tayele said at independence, Namibia took initiatives to preserve and promote cultural heritage by establishing the ministry responsible for arts and culture.
“The reason for giving such prominence to culture is because culture has an inherent potential to create an identity and preserve our heritage and can also serve as a forceful instrument for promoting health, peace, integration and development,” she said.
She was also aware the African Union (AU) has over the years put culture firmly on the continental agenda through the development of cultural instruments and events.
“I am proud to say that many of these were spearheaded by our own daughter, Advocate Bience Gawanas as former AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, such as the development of this very charter we are discussing today; the Plan of Action on Creative and Cultural Industries and the Campaign on Cultural Renaissance,” she said.
She said the underlying objective was to advocate for the ratification of the charter, the adoption of the Statutes for the Establishment of the African Academy of Languages and the Language Plan of Action for Africa and the adoption of the AU symbols.
As Africans, she said, Namibians should promote, protect and develop their cultures through enhanced collaboration with the AU and African states.
“You will agree with me that cultural activities certainly have strong potential to promote Africa’s cultural integration, thereby recreating and maintaining our people’s will for progress, as well as will for development,” she said.
The MP said through promoting cultural heritage, Namibians can, and do assert their dignity and reclaim their identity by expressing themselves through music, dance and songs.
According to her, African leaders adopted the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance, which has come into effect, and the AU has provided an implementation guide to the charter.
She said the charter provides a sound framework for promotion of Africa’s cultural riches.