Topnaars receive German Assistance

The Topnaar community of the Utuseb village outside Walvis Bay on Monday received a heritage-festival centre worth more than N$3 million through the Namibia-German Special Initiative Programme (NGSIP).

It consists of bungalows for overnight guests and tourists, a kiosk, a community hall, traditional court, a camp for festivals, the chief’s traditional house, an administration block and ablution facilities. The NGSIP assists developmental projects for communities that have historic ties with the German government such as the Nama, Damara, OvaHerero and San. It funds small-scale social and economic infrastructure projects that benefit the poor and have an impact on poverty.
Deputy Minister of Economic and National Planning, Lucia Iipumbu and the German Ambassador to Namibia, Christian Matthias Schlaga handed over the centre to Topnaar Chief, Seth Kooitjie and his community on Monday. A media statement issued by the NGSIP on Friday quoted Iipumbu as saying the community and public must play their role towards the maximum utilisation of the facility. She pointed out that the centre is not only for use by the community but also other institutions such as Government, non-governmental organi-sations (NGO)’s and international organisations such as United Nations (UN) bodies. “This centre should not be idle, it should be self-sustaining through any commercial purposes which would bring income for the community,” said the deputy minister. Iipumbu urged the community to respect and preserve their culture for the sake of future generations. “Culture is slowly taking over wild-life, especially among tourists, thus I urge the Topnaar community to explore ways to promote their culture to uplift their livelihoods and grow the economy,” she appealed.
Schlaga noted his delights that the German government could support part of the traditional structures, not only keep them alive but also to ensure they can function in line with the modern structures of Government. “I believe this centre can make a difference in the lives of this community, if put to good use,” he said. On his part, Kooitjie said he is grateful to receive the centre on behalf of the community and thanked the Namibian and German governments for the role that NGSIP played in supporting the community by establishing the centre.
He also announced that the facility will be named after his late father and former Topnaar Chief, Esau Saneseb Kooitjie. The same media statement indicates that on the same day, the OvaHerero com-munity under the Zeraeua Traditional Authority in Omatjete also received a multi-purpose commercial centre from the NGSIP. The centre is also worth more than N$3 million.

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