New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Dr Nujoma Launches Mrs Kangaroo

Eenhana — The Founding President and Father of the Nation, His Excellency Dr Sam Nujoma has officially launched Mrs Kangaroo visits Namibia, a children's book authored by Ambrosius Amutenja.

Mrs Kangaroo visits Namibia is a children's fiction book which is aimed at promoting children's literacy in Namibia. The book is about Mrs Kangaroo, a well known tourist and also an author of children's book from Melbourne, Australia. Namibia is the first country she has visited in Southern Africa. Simply, the book is about how tourists especially from European community regard Namibia has their first tourist destination in Africa.

Officially launching the book, Dr Nujoma said since independence, the government of Namibia has firmly been believing that education is the key to power and knowledge. Education is believed to be the most important long term investment and that is why the Government is continuing to allocate the largest share of the budget to the education sector. "Indeed, our efforts are bearing fruits and I am happy today that we are witnessing what our comrades we sent to school have accomplished, especially Cde Ambrosius Amutenja, who studied publishing in Zimbabwe while in exile. Having been sent to Zimbabwe from 1983 to 1985 by SWAPO party to learn, he now puts in practice what he acquired and wrote this interesting children's fiction book," Dr Sam Nujoma said

Mrs Kangaroo visits Namibia is a story which has captured the hearts and imagination of many children and adults alike since it was published in early February this year. The story kindles the desire to become a tourist in one's own country. It is very informative and can be appreciated by children and their parents or guardians. A kangaroo is one animal which is quite fascinating and the role it was given in this book makes a reader wonder if Mrs Kangaroo might take up a permanent residence in Namibia because after all, she did say that Australia and Namibia share many similarities when it comes to its environment and scenes.

The Founding President also took the same occasion to encourage other writers, especially those who were involved in the liberation struggle to involve themselves in writing and documenting positively the Namibian liberation struggle and its rich history and to write about the war of resistance waged with heroism and gallantry by the Namibian forbears such as Kaptain Hendrik Witbooi, Jakob Marenga, Chief Samuel Maharero, Chief Kahimemua Nguvauva, Chief Nehale lja Mpingana, Chief Mandume ja Ndemufayo, Chief Iipumbu ja Tshilongo, among many others, who inspired the younger generation to fight against the enemy occupying forces with bravery and dedication for the emancipation of the country until it finally achieved the freedom and genuine independence on the 21st March 1990.

"It is for this reason that we should encourage and persuade Namibians to write about their own history as well as to buy and adopt a culture of reading. Those who pride themselves as having a reading culture surely started somewhere. One of the challenges for authors in Namibia is that lack of customers to buy books. Writers bemoan that Namibians do not have a culture of reading and they forget that a writer is like a cook. One can't keep on cooking if people do not appreciate his or her food," he said

He also said that it was not enough for publishers to only sell books to the Ministry of Education but rather they should also target both children and adults as general readers. "This can be accomplished through aggressive advertising and marketing. One would find people enjoying "Kentucky Fried Chicken - KFC" because the business is well marketed and brought to their doorstep, right there among people, what about buying books for a living," he emphasised.

The launch was graced by the Australian High Commissioner to Namibia, Members of Parliament. Mrs Kangaroo visits Namibia was edited by Helvi Itenge-Wheeler of Yambeka Children media. The book is now officially on the market selling for N$ 60 at Book Den, Edumeds and Universal Sounds.

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