Mbumba urges Namibians to take part in cultural events

TRADITION … Performers at the omagongo/omaango (marula) cultural festival. Photo: Eliaser Ndeyanale

Vice president Nangolo Mbumba has urged Namibians, especially young people, to become active participants in cultural events.

He says a lack of proper cultural guidance leads to not knowing who they are, where they come from, or where they are going.

Mbumba was speaking at the celebration of the omagongo/omaango (marula) cultural festival at Ohamautsi village in the Omusati region on Saturday.

He said the festival symbolises unity, because it brings together traditional authorities, communities and individuals countrywide.

Mbumba said people attend cultural festivals to witness the shared cultural heritage and practices of traditional communities.

“This cultural festival serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas and transmission of customary norms and traditions to the younger generation,” he said.

“We therefore desire to see many of our young people flock to join the omagongo cultural festival and many other cultural festivals taking place in various parts of our country.”

Mbumba said cultural events teach young people to learn more about their cultures and the cultures of their neighbours, as well as about respect, character and good morals.

Nangolo Mbumba

“Our country is witnessing an increase in alcoholism, gender-based violence, crime and drug abuse – especially by the youth,” he said.

Mbumba said cultural festivals should play a prominent role in educating young people and instilling strong moral values in them.

“I therefore urge the traditional authorities and organisers of events of this nature to act as key role-players in instilling discipline and strong moral values in our people – especially men and the youth.

“The vice president of the nation must take part in all cultural activities and enlighten the young generations to value the importance of diverse cultures and traditions,” he said.

Mbumba said culture is a vital element of any nation’s existence, development and future prosperity.

“Therefore, let us remain united in cultural diversity. By doing so, this will lead us to truly embrace the true meaning of ‘One Namibia, one nation’,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, founding president Sam Nujoma said cultural heritage is a vital part of Namibians’ identity, where they come from, and where they intend to go – not only as traditional authorities and Namibians, but also as Africans.

He said the omagongo/omaango cultural festival occupies an important place in the heritage of the eight Aawambo communities in Namibia.

“Our young children must know the whole process, starting with how to care for the marula trees and the gathering and processing of the fruits to produce omagongo and other related products,” Nujoma said.

He said Namibian cultural values and norms carry an African identity.

“I would like to urge our older generation to ensure that we pass on what we know to the young generation.

“I am therefore convinced that festivals of this nature are a useful platform for celebrating our cultural diversity, and have the potential to contribute to nation building and strengthen the unity of our nation,” he said.

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