Botswana And Unesco 18th Edition

I t was a day filled with a colourful display of beauti- fully patternedNama patch- work attires and tongue twis- ting clicks of a rich culture. The festival was held in the small village of Lokgwabe, Kgalagadi, Botswana, The festival is said to be held in the last Friday and Saturday of August annually. This year it fell on the 30 th and 31 st of August 2019. In its first in- stalment in August 2016, the event was initially organ- ised by the collective Nama community of Botswana, but when the BWNama Devel- opment Trust was registered in 2017, it assumed the role of organising and coordinat- ing the event to this day, al- though it employed the help of Local Organising Commit- tees (LOCs) to act as liaison bodies between the Trust and the different communities; Tsabong (which encompasses areas such as Strezindam, Bokspits, Rappelspan, Gakhi- bane, and Khawa), Gantsi (encompassing Ncojane and Charleshill) and Lokgwabe (encompassing all theMach- eng villages – Tshane, Hukun- tsi and Lehututu). The BW Nama Development Trust was set up as way of organ- ising the different Nama communities spread across the country. It is mandated to tackle all issues concern- ing the Botswana Nama. TheNamapeople inBots- wana stay in the western part of the country, and are mostly found in the Kgala- gadi district, with a signifi- cant number of them found in Tsabong and Lokgwabe. Most of them belong to the !Kharakhoen //Aes (clan), whichwas led into Botswana by Kaptein Simon /Gomxab Kooper during the German- Nama wars of 1904-1908. Simon /Gomxab Kooper had showed great bravery and resistance in his encounter against the German troopers. In his honour, a tomb- stone was erected in 2011 at his grave on the shores of the Kaartlwe pan, about 8 km southwest of Lokgwabe, under cooperation between the Namibian government, a German NGO (based in Namibia) and the Botswana government. It was subse- quently recognised as a Na- tional monument and pla- ced under the custody of the Department of National Mu- seums andMonuments. The monument is nowknown as the Simon Kooper National Monument and there are clear signage towards it from the village. The Annual Na- ma Cultural Festival is one way of celebrating the brave- ness and heroism of Simon Kooper and his lieutenants, andan excursion to themon- ument forms part of the fes- tival proceedings on the offi- cial opening day. This year the festival was held under the theme; Cul- tural Inheritance; AGateway to Identity. The organizers hope is to instil, through the B OT SWANA AND UN E S C O The Annual Nama Cultural Festival: A Quest for the Revival and Restoration of a Culture Spanning Centuries by Edwin Salim Saidoo & Nichodimas Cooper 61 BOTSWANA NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR UNESCO

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