The Namibian (Windhoek)

5 December 2012

Namibia: Oranjemund Diamond Festival Begins

Though all festive season roads inevitably lead to Swakopmund, the new beach town on the block eager to entertain visitors, entrepreneurs and investors alike, is Oranjemund.

As the previously restricted town seems shrouded in mystery and Namibians remain largely unaware of its resources and potential, its newly elected town council will be spearheading the Oranjemund Diamond Festival this weekend.

Aimed at celebrating and appreciating Oranjemund’s natural resources as well as its heritage and promoting a sense of pride and belonging, the festival hopes to couple a unique cultural experience with an event that promotes the town’s business opportunities in a fun, interactive and immersive marketing and networking opportunity for both locals and visitors.

“We need this event as a springboard for all residents’ aspirations to be carried forward in unity. Now that the town is proclaimed, it means a lot for the residents. There will be more hard work, such as taking ownership of the dealings of the town,” says Oranjemund Diamond Festival committee chairperson, Francis Milomo.

“A lot will be required from the residents, such as looking at diversifying the economy of the town and this is one such a platform to realise this dream. We need to look at the period beyond diamond mining. For this we all need to be united and strong. Hence the event’s theme: ‘Unifying the aspirations of the Oranjemund Community’.”

In this endeavour, the festival will hold a business expo and breakfast led by the local Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the event’s speakers will include the Honourable Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Tjekero Tweya as well as Danny Meyer of SME Compete. The breakfast well be held from 06h30 at Eloolo’s Restaurant on Saturday morning.

Friday night, will be one in which to unwind by watching or participating in a number of sports meets including soccer, netball and volleyball. A beer tent will be in session to quench the thirsts of local teams and their supporters.

In terms of Saturday’s celebration and entertainment, the festival will treat visitors to Mr. and Mrs. Diamond competitions at the local recreation club while national stars such as Tequila, Mushe, Big Ben, Raphael, Bedrock Band and Linda Blaauw will add some live music to the proceedings.

Performances by local comedienne Jar Jar and the Uukumwe Cultural Troupe from Kavango are more exciting items on offer.

The festival will also present a potjiekos competition, Diamond raffle draw, kiddies’ entertainment, Miss Tiny Tots, face-painting and a helicopter drop in from Father Christmas. An interdenominational church service will cap the event off on Sunday..

“It is important to mention that such an event is only possible when smart partnerships are formed, and thus it is imperative to mention our appreciation of the support we have received from key stakeholders such as Namdeb, Oranjemund Town Council as well as various key stakeholders and service providers in town,” says Milomo.

“We want to once again to extend an invitation to all to visit this beautiful oasis, especially ex-Oranjemunders.”

Though the Diamond Act still requires one have a Restricted Area Permit to enter Oranjemund, special entry will be granted for this event.

“A stakeholder meeting was held between Security Department, the local Ministry of Mines and Energy office and the Mayor’s office and it was agreed that this event should be treated as a ‘special case’ and thus visitors to this event will only be required to give a name, ID number, date of birth or passport number to enter the town.”

The event will be broadcast live by NBC Radio and Milomo maintains that the community is excited and looks forward to receiving ex-residents, visitors from neighboring towns, adventurous Namibians, international tourists, national and regional leaders, captains of industry and entrepreneurs.

“We have a unique and beautiful town,” says Milomo. “The Orange River to the east, the Desert to the north and to the west we have the mighty Atlantic Ocean and the sparkling diamonds along the coast. What a setting!”

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