Namibians are neglecting their history

02 October 2017 | History

Founding President Sam Nujoma is concerned that Namibians are not recording and documenting their history.

“We are not writing our own story, are we waiting for others to come and write it for us,” Nujoma noted with concern.

Nujoma was speaking at the World Tourism Day celebrated in Windhoek last week, where he highlighted the importance of history, culture and heritage.

“As a nation one of the most important things we need to understand is our collective history right from our ancestors through colonisation, the liberation struggle and post-independent Namibia.”

He said knowing one's history gives the opportunity to draw from individual strengths, to collectively speak in one voice and to have one vision for a common future.

“In the end, who are we really, if we do not know anything about where we come from, about our origins, our family, our totems, our languages, our own culture, our arts and our heritage,” the former president said.

“Through knowing our history and culture it will help us construct our identity and build a sense of pride around being part of the Namibian nation,” Nujoma said.

He advised Namibians to embrace unique and different elements of their identity and build on them because people from different tribes form the Namibian nation.

“It is important for us as Namibians to be proud of what makes us unique and to know when others try to assimilate us or when we integrate too much into the mainstream society we lose these special elements.”

He said studying history is important because it allows people to understand the past and the present.

“If we want to know how and why the world is the way it is today, we have to look to history for answers… study the successes and failures of the past, learn from them and avoid repeating them in the future.”

He added that studying history can provide insight into unfamiliar cultures and increase cross-cultural awareness, understanding and acceptance.

According to Nujoma, cultural tourism allows visitors to engage with Namibia's cultures, lifestyles, history, art, architecture and heritage.



ELLANIE SMIT

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