Heritage preservation and conservation is everyone’s business.
Salomon April has been on a quest to conserve, manage and provide access to heritage sites such as historic buildings, landscapes, museums and monuments since taking office as the director of the Heritage Council in 2009.
27 March 2020 | People
Having worked for ten years in the heritage conservation and preservation sector, Salomon April is part of a valuable team that safeguards the country’s heritage sites, which include museums, historic buildings, landscapes and monuments.
“It is a misconception that heritage belongs to history only; it should be kept alive throughout the ages,” says April, who also believes that heritage helps individuals to understand who they are and gives us our identity.
He preaches the importance of sensitising the youth on the meaning of heritage, adding that they ought to be proud of who they are and where they come from.
Speaking on the role of technology in ensuring the preservation of culture, April said that “technology has allowed us to obtain information right at our fingertips and these days it is the best tool to make use of to reach the youth.”
Using this as a tool is one of the ways in which he believes the youth can take a stand and contribute towards the conservation of heritage.
He is at the forefront of leading the NHC legacy, which is to maintain heritage conservation and educate those who may not be aware of its value.
When a new heritage site or resource is identified, April sees it as a great inspiration as it “awakens the importance of history in this country and gives recognition to forgotten sites and persons who played important roles in Namibia.”
On a day-to-day basis, April attends to operational matters internally and externally whilst ensuring that the National Heritage Council’s daily operations are well run.
One of the things he loves about his job is the opportunity to learn about the history the country. He is also keen to share this knowledge with the new generation and to teach them how to conserve and preserve heritage resources.
Some of the objectives of the NHC are enhancing conservation and protecting heritage resources that may have archaeological or geological significance. Once these resources are identified and declared as heritage sites, they are protected and conserved.
“A local community is the main custodian of their heritage; they are the ones on the ground to identify their heritage resources and are responsible for its protection,” he said, emphasising the role of the public as an active stakeholder in the identification of heritage resources.
Another aim of the Heritage Council is the promotion of educational and economic benefits of community heritage projects. Through this, the Heritage Council instils a sense of pride in the country’s rich heritage, normally conducted through stakeholder meetings, school visits and research.
Namibian Heritage Week is one of the examples of how the NHC enhances stakeholder relations and gets more people involved in the conservation of heritage.
Throughout this week the promotion and celebration of heritage is encouraged as various activities are set, which take place in the different regions.
“Heritage conservation is a responsibility of all Namibians and we need to stand together in protecting and promoting it,” says April.