WINDHOEK: The 17th annual Cultural Festival of the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) officially commenced in the capital on Tuesday.
The festival will run until Friday, and takes place under the Setswana theme: “Mpo detu kwatemunanga yira mucuko,” which in English means “Our Cultures Blossom like Flowers”.
Officiating at the event, historian Alex Kaputu said in Namibia’s quest to become part of the knowledge-based economy, it is of paramount importance that the country’s cultural riches are viewed as a national asset integral to Namibia’s development.
“It is therefore our duty as citizens of this beautiful country to preserve our diverse cultures, so that we can pass them, in their richness, on to future generations,” said Kaputu.
He called on Namibians to ensure the survival of the country’s handicrafts, traditional music and dance forms and art by encouraging the youth to be creative and to acquire these skills.
Kaputu said embracing the country’s diversity as human beings can be the greatest tool with which the nation can conquer a positive future for the world, one that is characterised by unity, peace and cooperation.
“This way we will be able to heal the devices that haveheld back our progress and summon a patriotic spirit driven by a sense of goodwill and effort to come together and defend our heritage, take pride in our existence and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better world than we inherited, under the ideal that whatever our differences, we are fellow citizens of the earth,” Kaputu stressed.
On his part, PoN Rector Dr Tjama Tjivikua said the recent violence perpetrated on women by men in the Namibian society is something that the nation cannot leave entirely to the law-enforcement system alone.
He said society as a whole needs to speak in one voice against this rising tendency, adding that it has been sickening to observe the inclination of boyfriends who viciously attack young women when their affairs run into difficulties.
“The Polytechnic, as an extension of society, is not immune from such repugnant behaviours, and just recently experienced a painful tragedy of a female student who was strangled to death by her ex-boyfriend. The Polytechnic condemns such brutality in the strongest terms,” Tjivikua noted.
Whilst Namibia recognises the urgent need for comprehensive programmes to address violence in society, society, however, needs to denounce this ghastly behaviour with one voice, he said.
The rector further expressed concern about alcohol abuse in the Namibian society, saying it is available on every corner, adding that establishing illegal shebeens seems to be one of the most proliferating enterprises in Namibia.
“In this way alcohol consumption or abuse has gradually entrenched itself in the Namibian culture,” he added.
A Mr and Miss Polytechnic beauty pageant will also take place during the week, as well as drama, poetry, stand-up comedy, parades, traditional dances, and live music performances.