≠Nisa Damaradi /Ae//gams honours president with dress

In a touching tribute to the late president Hage Geingob, a unique fashion statement has captivated the nation.

Inspired by president Geingob’s fondness for pinstriped suits, the presidential Damara dress has been introduced to honour his memory. This dress is not only an homage to his distinctive style but also symbolises the rich cultural heritage and unity of Namibia.

Steffie Skrywer, a young Damara woman and member of the ≠Nisa Damaradi /Ae//gams, shares insights into the profound significance of this initiative.

“The presidential Damara dress draws inspiration from the late president’s charismatic leadership and impeccable sense of style,” Skrywer says.

“It’s a significant cultural and now historical artefact that represents our cultural heritage, unity, empowerment and the legacy of a visionary leader. This dress gives meaningful insight into Namibia’s rich cultural tapestry and Geingob’s lasting impact on our collective identity.”

During president Geingob’s memorial, it was poignant to see his daughters wearing the pinstriped dresses, paying tribute to their father’s memory in a deeply personal and culturally significant manner, she says.

Skrywer also delves into the importance of the mourning Damara dress, known as !Nâu-rokhoes.

“This dress is worn exclusively during mourning periods, emphasising the profound respect and understanding of cultural traditions among the Damara people. The !Nâu-rokhoes is more than just a mourning dress; it’s a part of our rituals, symbolising an homage to those who have departed. It’s essential to wear these dresses with a deep level of appreciation and respect, understanding their significance to avoid bad omens.

“The former first lady’s choice to wear the !Nau-rokhoes during her husband’s passing was a testament to these traditions, further highlighting the cultural depth and the respectful mourning practices among the Damara people.

“Moreover, the headpiece, known as the !khaib, carries its significance, symbolising a spiritual connection to the ancestors.

“Only a widow or the first remaining elderly lady in the family’s hierarchy is permitted to tie her !khaib to the back, showcasing the profound respect and connection we maintain with our ancestors,” Skrywer says.

Through the introduction of the presidential Damara dress and the respectful adherence to mourning traditions, Namibia honours the legacy of president Hage Geingob. These practices not only celebrate his memory but also underscore the nation’s rich cultural heritage and the unity it brings to its people.

In addition to celebrating the Damara culture, the tribute to the late president inclusively embraced other Namibian cultures, such as the Ovaherero, showcasing the nation’s rich diversity and unity. Prominent figures, including information and communication technology minister Emma Theofelus, also participated in this cultural homage by wearing the Damara dress.

This act of solidarity and respect from various communities and leaders across the country further exemplified the profound impact of president Geingob’s legacy on Namibia’s collective identity and the importance of cultural heritage in fostering national unity.


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