College Cultural Festival Day 1
on Sally in Namibia (Namibia), 02/Oct/2009 10:32, 34 days ago
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Last week was cultural festival week, I wasn't sure what to expect but it turned out to be fun.On Monday everyone came to work in traditional clothes– lots of hot pink stripy skirts and dresses – the hostel matrons were all gathered in the entrance ululating and posing to have their photos taken. The excitement increased when the guests of honour for the opening ceremony arrived – the Deputy Minister for Youth and local businessman-made-good Frans Indongo, a little impromptu dance and song helped to make them feel truly welcome.The whole College community gathered in the hall for the opening ceremony. We were treated to the usual speeches and dance performances. The irony of the Deputy Minister berating the whites for destroying African culture and the importance of traditional dress and values was not lost on me as he stood in his sharp suit and raybans. I am getting a bit sick of foreigner bashing by members and former members of the government. It's all part of the tub-thumping in the lead up to next month's elections but still I have no desire to be in a country where it is acceptable to make speeches calling for hammers in the heads of the English (Sam Nujoma). He was only supposed to be doing the introduction for Mr Indongo but still he seized the opportunity to make his speech and took a lot more time than he was allocated in the programme.After the ceremony we retired to the staff room for the 'gala lunch' which gave me an opportunity to eat some traditional food and I was also having some of the more obscure nuts and seeds explained to me, I have to say they all seem to require a lot of effort in terms of husk breaking, stone removal etc for very little reward but I suppose it keeps you busy.By the time our invited guests left excitement had reached fever pitch with a convoy of people escorting them to the car park and jostling for photos with Mr Indongo. He is quite amazing– he built up his business from nothing and now owns more than 60 businesses across Namibia including farms, hotels and the Ongwediva Spar complex (now I know why it's called Frans Indongo Mall). He generously donated some money to help fill the shortfall in the students' budget to buy two cows aspart of the festival, this donation led to one of the more surreal moments in my time here when I meeting about strategic planning digressed into a discussion about the cost of cows, the declining value of cow hide and the costs of slaughter!