Tuesday, 08 August 2017 08:28

Nama cultural festival returns

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This year, the event will be held from August 25-27 in Lokgwabe. The event will be held under the theme, ‘Our Culture Our Pride’ which in the Nama language (khoekhoegowab) is ‘Sida! Hao! Nasib Sida.’

According to the Nama executive committee public relations officer, Nichodimas Cooper, activities include horse parade, horse racing, Namastap dance, Nama language and attire promotion, and other traditional performances from groups within and out of their region. He added that they will have an excursion to the Simon and Gomxab Kooper National Monument located in Kaartlwe.

For his part, the committee chairperson Edwin Saidoo told Arts and Culture that they will display the Nama indigenous foods. He explained that the Nama foods are rich in nutrition and are healthy. 

However, he pointed out guests will be served Setswana traditional foods such as bogobe jwa lerotse, kabu, letshotlho, morogo wa dinawa, seswaa, serobe, which will be served as a snack in the morning.

He said they are expecting three groups from Namibia that will be entertaining the audience with different performances such as a play showcasing a war between the Nama people and Germans, dance and others.

He said they were expecting dikhwaere groups and polka groups from different parts of the country. Saidoo further stated that the event was free and open for everyone.  He added that its main objective was to promote the Nama culture.

He however, pointed out that if the event grows with time, they will consider hosting it in a bigger venue. 

He said the Nama people originally lived around the Orange River in the southern Namibia and northern South Africa in the mid 19th century.  “The Nama people represent about one-eighth of the population of Namibia and there are other groups in South Africa and Botswana.

Their total population is approximately 1,500 in Botswana. They speak Khoekhoe language notable for its click sounds,” he said. The Nama were formerly prosperous sheep and cattle pastoralists, but intertribal warfare and continuous fighting along with the Herero against the Germans from the 19th to the early 20th century decimated their numbers.

The Nama practice a policy of communal land ownership.  Some Nama still graze sheep, cattle and goats where the groundwater of their arid countryside is not too highly mineralised for their stock to drink. Like any other tribe, the Nama people have unique ways of passing time through entertainment.

 Music, poetry and storytelling are very important in the Nama culture and many stories have been passed down orally through the generations.  The Nama people in Botswana stay in the western part of the country and are mostly found in the Kgalagadi district, with a significant number of them in Tsabong and Lokgwabe. 

They belong to the !Khara Khoen//aes clan, which was led into Botswana by Simon Gonxab Kooper during the German wars. He is known for showing great bravery and resistance in his encounter with the German troops.

Currently, Kaptein Piet F. Kaartze leads the Nama in Tsabong while those in Lokgwabe are led by Kaptein Charles Gert Cooper who is the great grandson to the fallen hero Kaptein Simon Kooper who took over the reins in 2004 after his late father, Kaptein Gert Cooper who successfully led his people from the 1960s. The Nama consists of 13 ethnic groups.

Source: Mmegi Online

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