The World Ocean Day was celebrated globally on 8 June under the theme, ‘Planet Ocean: tides are changing’. The United Nations celebrates the event annually since 1992 to draw decision-makers, indigenous leaders, scientists, private sector executives, civil society, celebrities and youth activists together to put the ocean first.
In Namibia, Pewa’s Ocean Adventure books joined in the global celebrations that will go on throughout June and July by educating the youth on the value of oceans.
The book, which features a young girl who went on a vacation with her parents to Walvis Bay, takes the ocean to children who cannot visit Walvis Bay.
It tells how the young Pewa and her family saw sea animals like flamingos at the Walvis Bay lagoon, seals and dolphins on dolphin cruises, amongst others, while providing educative facts on each sea creature.
The book was launched on World Ocean Day 2022 at the main celebrations at Walvis Bay.
This year, the Pewa book team also has book readings at various locations in Walvis Bay and competitions, where children stand a chance to experience adventures featured in the book like dolphin cruises, hotels, quad biking and Segway tours, amongst others.
On Saturday, young Hedwig Kanghuti, who plays the role of Pewa in the book, read to some children who were shopping with their parents at Dunes Mall in Walvis Bay.
She will be reading to children throughout the month and selling books for the adventure competitions.
Some books were already donated to schools in the northern parts of Namibia, while some are heading to other regions, and will also include Angola. A Spanish version of the book will soon be on its way to Spain, said book author Taati Niilenge.
The book is also translated into Oshiwambo.
“We are sending them to other regions and countries, and translating them into other languages, so that people can come to our country and see everything for themselves. The aim is to get some companies on board in different towns to purchase books that could be used in school libraries in their own towns,” she explained.
Niilenge added the purpose of the book is to expose the Namibian ocean, its beautiful animals, the tourism potential and its importance as a job creator to everyone.
“Many children in Namibia, especially in rural areas, have heard about the ocean but have not seen a boat, dolphin or flamingo before. Not everyone can afford to take their children on vacations to the coast, but the real-life pictures will bring the ocean and desert closer to the children in other towns, especially the rural areas. School principals in the north who already received the copies said the children’s faces lit up when they saw the pictures,” said noted.
Kanghuti stressed the importance of her peers knowing about the ocean.
“Children need to know how to care for the ocean because the ocean gives us life. We get our fish from there, which gives us protein. People come to visit because everything in our ocean is beautiful. We get money from tourists. I also want other children to see what I saw in the ocean adventure. We have to appreciate the ocean,” she said.
Young people who attended the book reading and information sessions on the first World Ocean Day last year narrated what they have learned.
“I want to see the flamingos and take pictures. I also want to win a ticket and go on the boats because I like dolphins. They are really beautiful. The ocean has many beautiful animals,” said Taleiko Johannes.
“I learned that the ocean is very important because we get food like fish from it, and other animals will die if we do not take care of them. I hope to win (a ticket) so that I can touch the seals like Pewa in the book,” said Lia Andreas.
“I enjoyed reading about how a seal came on board the boat where Pewa was. She was even allowed to feed it. I would like to win a ticket to one of her adventures to also experience it,” said Aliyah Nghiitwikwa.
The World Ocean Day reminds everyone of the major role oceans have in everyday life.
The purpose of the day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilise and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.
World Ocean Day education campaign is supported by Erongo Marine Enterprises, Walvis Bay Tours, Dunes Mall, Flamingo Villa Hotel, Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre, Lady Victoria Boat Tours, Daredevil Adventures and Eco Gliding Tours.