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Mthimkhulu hails Ovambanderu for preserving culture

03 Mar 2024

The Ovambanderu have been hailed for their significant contribution in enhancing the country’s cultural heritage.

Speaking during the Ovambanderu Cultural Festival held under the theme; Culture a Source of Livelihood, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Dumezweni Mthimkhulu said the Ovambanderu rich culture and all the associated customs and traditions, provided them with a common language and insight that enabled them to communicate on a deeper level with each other and to express themselves in a unique way to the outside world.

He said the national museum had acquired over 500 000 of heritage collection of ethno-history, art, archaeology, monuments and cultural science specimen of which the Ovambanderu artefacts in form of attire, utensils and stories were amongst these collections.

The collections, he said were in various forms such as artefacts, photographs, slides, audio tapes, video, film, print and other types of objects. 

He said the collections formed part of the social and cultural studies in school syllabus and  also contributed significantly towards heritage tourism, research and created employment for others.

In addition to the collections and assets within the museum, the ministry, he said was responsible for over 2 500 monuments and heritage sites around the country, one of which was a renowned World Heritage Site, Tsodilo in the Ngamiland district.

He called on the gathering to come forth and assist the ministry identify other areas of historical significance as their potential towards wealth creation was now evident.

Furthermore, the ministry, he said spent around P4 million through payment of regional community museums grants to ensure effective and efficient running of the facilities. 

In addition to grants, the minister said government procured cultural materials on substantial amounts in an effort to encourage communities to realise economic value.

Mthimkhulu challenged attendants; individually and as a collective, to venture into sustainable cultural projects to boost heritage tourism, which would have a spinoff effect on socio-economic development especially job creation.

He said enterprising on cultural heritage was in line with the national aspirations of becoming a knowledge-based economy as well as supporting the achievement of sustainable economic development and human and social development which were priority areas of the country’s Vision 2036.He also commended organisers for such a spectacular event saying it was in line with Botswana’s national meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions strategy, which sought to promote incremental hosting of both local and international events and assured them support in their yearly episodes of the festival.

“This festival also offers a grand platform to build and foster a spirit of understanding, respect and appreciation of traditions that form the beautiful and diverse fabric of Botswana society,” he added.

The festival was organised by Mbanderu Youth Association of Botswana and its chairperson, Ikumba Ngaruka said their primary objective was to promote initiatives that strengthened cultural preservation and heritage citing that the occasion aimed to revive and showcase the unique, richness and diverse culture of the Ovambanderu tribe.

He appreciated government support towards achievement of their dream and also acknowledged that some of their concerns had been addressed citing the recommendation for teaching in mother tongue in schools.

Member of Parliament for Ngami, Caterpillar Hikuama appreciated that the association continued to drive its mandate and encouraged the community to support the event.

Hikuama, who is also founder of the association, appealed to elders to mobilise their children to join the association and maintain the legacy of culture preservation.

He also wished government could revisit the Constitution to ensure it achieved tribal equality citing that there were many ethnic groups, which the Constitution did not recognise. 

He also appreciated that government recognised the importance of introducing the use of mother tongue in schools. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Esther Mmolai

Location : Sehithwa

Event : Ovambanderu Cultural Festival

Date : 03 Mar 2024