By Simon Liseli
University of Namibia Katima Mulilo Campus is celebrating its annual cultural festival under the ‘Theme Embracing our roots, Enriching our future’.
Head of Academic Affairs , Dr. Charles Chata of Katima Mulilo UNAM Campus, defined culture as an important tool in many senses that , especially to Africans for bringing growth and practices.
He noted that a well-educated person is someone who understands and respects his or her culture.
“If you don’t do that you will be called uneducated fool because you are an educated person without culture” noted Dr. Chata.
Chata added that research indicates that in the past when western influence was on a minimum level setting, there were no issues of depression which are common today where people are being diagnosed with many complicated diseases because they believed and respected culture.
He lamented that pure African culture takes care of everybody by expressing what they want in the form of culture and that Africa is being together.
“We are going to express our culture here through music and dancing because music talks to the understanding of own belief” he said.
At the same occasion , Mr. Immanuel Mwilima Mushokobanji, Chief Executive Officer for Meatco , in his keynote speech for the UNAM 2023 Annual Cultural Festival that was read on His behalf by Prof. Bennett Kangumu, Katima Mulilo Campus Director said 2023 theme, allows him to commend the organisers of the event for their wisdom to always reach out to all different tribal, ethnic and racial groups to come and assemble in number at their premier institution of higher learning in order to learn, share and embrace one another’s culture.
“This is mostly appreciated as we lately note unpleasant developments where some of our country’s men and women revert back to pre-independence divisive ways of separating our people along tribal, ethnic and racial consideration” explained Mushokobanji.
According to him , Culture is an important aspect of any society, whether ancient or modern from time of immemorial and human existence because cultural expression in any form has always been present in human interaction and expression.
Mushokobanji further noted that UNAM created, fostered and still maintains a culture where everyone’s voice is heard and respected, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or other characteristics. As an academic institution it encourages the essence of critical thinking and problem-solving.
UNAM culture supports the civic engagement and social responsibility where students learn about the world around them and how they can make a difference. It also encourages students to get involved in their communities and assist them to solve really global, socio-economic and political challenges.
He highlighted on some achievements which the University of Namibia has been able to record over the past 30 years with increased level of unemployment amongst youth competition over available resources and in some instances breeds ugly tendencies of corruption, favouritism, nepotism and greed.
“As we celebrate this event, we are encouraged by the beacon of hope that this institution strives to foster efforts of uniting our people through cultural exchange and affirmation of the good value, ethics and norms”.
He pointed out that all people have unique belief systems and distinctive ways of life which reflects their languages, food, dresses, custom, cultural artefacts and similarities which set them apart and as such UNAM occupies a special position in shaping positive cultural values, norms and ethical behaviours for its communities across its twelve (12) campuses to address the current moral decay within the society.
He called for embracing and cherish the rich cultural heritage and share one another’s positive aspects of culture as they strive to one day evolve and form one Namibian culture which will cement unity in diversity.
Mwilima in his statement described culture as a cornerstone for acceptance behaviour and influences the way people lives, interact and relate to one another and observe prohibited and set restrictions of what should not be done in particular circumstances.
It also creates an atmosphere of deterrence to certain practices that may lead to sanctions and penalties that may be imposed by society within a specific cultural set up.
“I believe that UNAM has its own culture of doing things which sets conformity parameters for both staff and students and I am convinced that this culture also advocates for unity, respect for other people’s languages, cultures and tradition and unity in diversity that discourages stereotyping and creating stigma around certain groups of people and communities” explained Meatco CEO.
He mentioned that as students embrace their roots, education remains core and a pillar that will fuel their social economic advancement as a University, which reminded him of the wisdom of Nelson Mandela who stated that: “education remains the most powerful weapon in alleviating poverty in the world, it is only through education that a son of a mine worker can one day become the head of the mine and a daughter of a farm worker can become a doctor and son of a slave can become a leader of a great nation”.
The event was attended by Mafwe Traditional Authority, Ngambela Boniface Maemeko Lukopani and Ngambela Albius Kamwi of Masubia Traditional Authority, Katima Mulilo Town Council’s Chief Executive Officer , Mr. Raphael Liswaniso, His Worship Deputy Mayor of Katima Mulilo Lascan Sikosi and other Local Authority Councillors, and many other local dignitaries from different line ministries also attended the event.
The gathering was entertained by Cultural Groups from Mponje, Students from Kavango, Katima Campus Choir and Oshiwambo Students Cultural Dance Group.