Namibian Heritage Week is set for 19-24 September. To understand what the Heritage Week is and the activities involved here is a brief question and answer guide.
Question: What is Namibian Heritage Week and its history?
Answer: Namibian Heritage Week originated as an idea of the National Museum of Namibia to have an annual Museum Day. The Museums Association of Namibia became a partner and the day was extended to the regions.
After the National Heritage Council and other stakeholders joined it was decided to enlarge the event and change the name to Namibian Heritage Week. The week encourages all Namibians to celebrate and commit themselves to protect our wonderful natural and cultural resources. Namibia’s major heritage institutions have joined together to organise Namibian Heritage Week. However, the point about the week is that every Namibian can participate in some way to celebrate our cultural and natural heritage.
Question: What is the significance of Heritage Week?
Answer: Heritage Week is an opportunity for Namibians to celebrate our heritage. It encourages Namibians to keep culture alive and to pass on inherited traditions and knowledge to our descendants. Heritage gives us pride in our identity. “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re coming from.” The week encourages people to experience the beauty of our cultural diversity or to visit a different part of the country to experience our natural wonders.
Question: What is the theme for Heritage Week 2016?
Answer: The theme for this year is Intangible Cultural Heritage – Keeping Culture Alive. “Intangible cultural heritage” means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage.
This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.
Question: What are the key objectives of the week?
Answer: To celebrate Namibia’s rich and diverse heritage; to promote the safeguarding and protection of all cultural heritage in Namibia irrespective of their religious or ethnic identity; to recognise that all forms of cultural heritage in Namibia are valued as equal in importance; to promote understanding across diverse communities of the communal value of heritage; to recognise that the holdings of cultural repositories are also locations of the tangible expressions of human history; to preserve knowledge of the indigenous communities of Namibia; to develop, maintain and support a wide network of contacts and partners dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage through effective practices.
Question: What activities will take place this year during Heritage Week?
Answer: There will be activities across the country during the week. There will also be at least one activity each day of the week in Windhoek. The poster, included in the press pack, provides more details about all the events taking place during Heritage Week.
Question: Who can participate in Namibian Heritage Week and how?
Answer: All Namibians from the 14 regions. During Namibian Heritage Week everyone in the country is encouraged to participate. We can attend the events that have been advertised and organised by our local museum or cultural organisation. We can all, living together in the Namibian house, also celebrate our cultural diversity in our own way.
We can dress in a way that reflects one of our cultural traditions or create a special, uniquely Namibian dish during the week. We will only be able to protect our cultural and natural resources if we value them.
The Namibian Heritage Week Team include Museum Association of Namibia (MAN); Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC); National Arts Gallery of Namibia (NAGN); Military Museum; Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF); National Archives of Namibia (NAN); City of Windhoek (COW); Directorate of Arts; Directorate of Heritage and Culture Programme; National Theatre of Namibia (NTN); University of Namibia (UNAM Press); National Heritage Council of Namibia (NHC); Namibia Tourism Board (NTB); Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)