KAPAKO - Hompa Alfons Kaundu of the Mbunza Traditional Authority has encouraged his community leaders and subjects to promote cultural practices that are in tandem with relevant laws in Namibia.
“As leaders [and] custodians of our culture, it is very important that we observe, practise and teach our subjects within our villages [about] our cultural practices which are not in conflict with the relevant [criminal] laws, civil laws and the constitution,” the Hompa said during the recent Mbunza traditional leaders’ gender-based violence (GBV) workshop hosted by the Men4Women Organisation, in collaboration with the British High Commission at Kapako village.
Hompa Kaundu further denounced the escalating number of domestic violence cases frequently reported in the media, saying such actions are uncalled for and not part of culture.
The Hompa encouraged his community members to condemn such harmful practices and educate each other on best practices for a better society.
Kaundu also emphasised on the importance of collaboration between the stakeholders such as village headmen and women, who are the custodians of customary laws and the law enforcement agencies, saying working together to fight social ills will make the society better.
The workshop is themed :‘Re-aligning our Culture and Traditions with Namibian Laws to help end GBV’. It is aimed at discussing issues around cultures and traditions and how they affect individuals in their daily lives.
During his remarks, the director of Men4Women Organisation, Matheus Hamutenya deliberated on how traditions and culture shape the way people think, act and their beliefs.
Hamutenya explained how the set of norms make it difficult to achieve a GBV-free society.
“In an effort to shape society, in an effort to ensure our cultures and traditions are shaped in a way that are in correlation with how things must be today, we deemed it fit to come up with a programme like this, where the custodians of our traditions and cultures have a discussion on these and ensure that our cultures evolve and do not harm any individual,” Hamutenya said.
Men4Women is a youth organisation that advocates for a society free from GBV and teenage pregnancy.
Meanwhile, British High Commissioner to Namibia, Charles Moore said changing the mindset of men is the most effective way of reducing GBV incidences.
“Let’s, therefore, work together to raise awareness, to educate men and boys about why GBV is wrong and unacceptable, to break the taboo, to talk about the issue more openly, and to ensure that victims are not made to feel guilty or shamed for reporting abuse,” Moore said.
Moore then encouraged the method of teaching respect from a young age so that children understand why GBV is wrong.
The high commissioner also urged men to become better role models for their sons, show respect to their wives, not abandoning their families, parental or marital responsibilities.
“They can’t change overnight, but we can make a good start with our generation, teaching what is right and wrong, and practising what we preach,” the outspoken Moore said. –MICT