Heritage Week embraces ‘new normal’

Lessons learned

21 September 2020 | Events

Nadine Phiri; SSS assistant curator; “We want to give people hope in these hard times.”

Swakopmund • [email protected]

The Namibian Heritage Week officially started in Swakopmund today (Monday) under the theme “Ombazu Ndjiritutumuna”, which means “Building Cultural Resilience - The New Normal”.

According to Nadine Kohlstaedt, operations manager of the Scientific Society Swakopmund (SSS), the theme was inspired by the omnipresence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Assistant curator for the SSS, Nadine Phiri, said that the collaborative effort between the COSDEF Arts & Craft Centre and the ministry of education, arts and culture, is set to deliver a better than ever Heritage Week.

“Heritage Week is a highlight for the Swakopmund museum and every year we challenge ourselves to go bigger and better,” she said at the official launch.

This year, for the first time ever, Heritage Week celebrations will be held offline, but will be available online as well.
The celebrations started with an online activity to usher in the “new normal”: A workshop for teachers on the use of Zoom to teach.

On Tuesday, two mask-making workshops will be held – one for children and another for adults.

“The children’s mask-making activity focuses on making fun and exciting masks for kids, while the adult workshop will focus on adding delicate and unique embroidery to masks,” Phiri said.

A guided tour through the Beacon of Hope exhibition will be held on Wednesday. This exhibition tells stories of hope in the pandemic and draws parallels between the 1918 Spanish influenza and Covid-19.

“We do not just want to make notes on history. We want to help tell it. Pandemics are going to keep happening; whether 100 years from now, this won’t be the last pandemic. All we can hope for is that we can guide those struggling with the next pandemic by leaving them with the lessons we learnt from this one,” Phiri, who also curated the exhibition said.

The exhibition includes more than 40 handwritten stories by Swakopmund residents telling of the silver linings they experienced during the pandemic. “We want to give people hope in these hard times,” Phiri said.

Thereafter Audrey Gaes, the chief social worker of the ministry of health and social services, gives a presentation on the stigmatisation of Covid-19 patients and COSDEF presents a workshop on sustainable gardening.

Friday evening brings an online movie night as the film Once We Were Hunters can be viewed on the SSS social media platform at 18:00 followed by Mbunza of the Kavango at 19:00.

The week will not conclude with a parade as in previous years, but will end with the “Why I Love My Culture” online storytelling video.

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