Namibians urged to visit heritage sites

>Anastasia Paulus

Windhoek – Namibia’s director of National Heritage said Namibians are allowed to visit various heritage sites across the country this week free, as part of the national heritage week that started on Monday.   

The yearly Namibian Heritage Week provides people with an opportunity to partake in a celebration of the country’s natural and cultural heritage.

“Heritage sites are free to Namibians including school learners during the heritage week. Therefore, I encourage everyone to go visit our sites,” Ester Mwoombola-/Goagoses, the director of National Heritage and Culture Programmes in the ministry of education, arts and culture.

This year’s event is being held under the slogan ‘We’re in it together’. Mwoombola-/Goagoses said it is important for Namibians to visit historical places in the country in order to familiarise themselves with their heritage.

During the course of the week, different activities are organised including clean-up at cultural and national sites, wearing clothing which reflects cultural identity, visit heritage sites, putting Namibian specials on the menus at restaurants, organizing exhibitions, film screening or walking tours.

The heritage week is organised by the Museum Association of Namibia with other entities including the National Arts Gallery of Namibia, National Archives of Namibia, City of Windhoek, Directorate of Heritage and Culture Programmes, University of Namibia, Hospitality Association of Namibia, National Heritage Council of Namibia (NHC) and many others.

Speaking at a press briefing in Windhoek on September 12, Mwoombola-/Goagoses said regular visits to heritage sites, especially by school learners will help create and maintain interests in the country’s heritage.

Heritage, according to the National Heritage Council of Namibia consist of buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art, and artefacts, folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge as well as culturally significant landscapes and biodiversity.

Two of Namibia’s heritage sites are inscribed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list. The Twyfelfontein, situated in the Huab valley of Mount Etjo in Kunene region, was added in 2007.

The heritage council said Twyfelfontein, 70km west of the town of Khorixas was declared a national monument in 1952. About 2000 engravings dating back to about 6000 years have been recorded at the site.

The Namib Sand Sea is another site on UNESCO’s list, which it said is the only coastal desert in the world that includes extensive dune fields influenced by fog.

Covering an area of over three million hectares and a buffer zone of 899,500 hectares, the site is composed of two dune systems, an ancient semi-consolidated one overlain by a younger active one, according to UNESCO.  Namibia is currently preparing a dossier, to have the Etosha Pan declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention, Mwoombola-/Goagoses has revealed.

The Etosha Pan is a vast, bare, open expanse of shimmering green and white that covers almost a quarter of the Etosha National Park located in northern Namibia.  At 130 km long and up to 50km’s wide in places, it is comfortably the largest salt pan in Africa and is the park’s most distinctive and dramatic feature, visible even from space, as per the www.etoshanationalpark.org.

The online site dedicated to one of Africa’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries noted that the pan was originally a lake but over time the earth’s climate forced the rivers that once fed the lake to change course and flow into the Atlantic Ocean.

September 2017
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