KEETMANSHOOP - //Kharas Regional Governor Lucia Basson says Namibians should fully embrace their culture as culture is a way of life and does not stop with traditional attires.
Speaking at the Keetmanshoop Regional Health Training Centre’s cultural festival on Thursday, Basson highlighted the importance of culture stating that society would be lost without culture and hence the need to preserve cultural norms and practices, as well as languages which she said all forms part of a people’s culture.
She noted with concern that culture, especially language was fading away from young people, as a result of outside influence and as such many young people have lost their cultural identities and only celebrate their culture during cultural events. This she said should not be the case and further stressed the need for youngsters to know where they come from in order to know where they are heading.
“I hope it is not just the attire that is saying I am Nama or Herero, but that you are in fact a proud nation in those attires, and that you are proud of your cultures beyond that attire because culture is important and without it society will not function,” she said to the students well dressed in their various cultural attires.
She also urged all present to be proud of their local languages and not shy away from speaking their own languages, as she singled out the indigenous inhabitants of the //Kharas Region, noting with concern that it is not a good picture that most of them are not comfortable to speak their language, but instead use Afrikaans as their home language.
Sharing census statistics from 2011, she said Afrikaans was the most spoken language in the region, followed by Oshiwambo, while Nama came in at third with about 23 percent of the region’s population indicating that they spoke Nama as a home language, and this she said is a clear indication that the local people are abandoning their language and choose to speak other languages instead, a situation she said must be rectified with immediate effect. “Something is really wrong somewhere that we are not doing right as Nama speaking citizens, this is a clear indication that original or indigenous inhabitants of the region are not paying enough attention on maintaining their language, and I therefore urge the Nama people to stop speaking Afrikaans and be proud Namas and embrace their language with respect and dignity it deserves as a matter of urgency,” she said.
She further urged the students to co-exist in diversity, and also do well in their studies so that they do not waste the financial resources pumped into their education by their parents and government by failing to move to their next year of studies, saying that they must cultivate a culture of hard work.
The festival also saw a display of different traditional dances, food and artifacts.