8 February 2013

Namibia: Kari Pays Tribute to Women

Windhoek — There are many untold stories about Namibian women. But the recent exhibition by Kari Smaage at Blue Frog Restaurant revealed those untold stories.

A text and photographic exhibition entitled Homage to My Mother official opened to the public this Monday at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC)'s Blue Frog Restaurant. The exhibition is based on Namibian women. "The correct title would maybe be Homage to My Mothers, or just Mothers. My mother in Norway is now late, but tonight I am blessed with mothers here. Meme Susan, has been my mother more than half my life, and she is the reason why I am here," said Kari at the opening.

Kari, who has been working for the Namibian Association of Norway since 2008 in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, is involved in a project called traditional skills. Last Monday viewers explored Kari's collection of photo portraits of Namibian women who have inspired her with their selfless work for their communities. "As I initially said, I am not a photographer, I want to call my self a story-teller, and I have learned to love documenting small details and everyday life, and the beauty of the mothers I meet trough my job. To do this documentation a camera is a very good tool.|"

"My job is to coordinate a project called Traditional Life Skills (TLSP). It is a project by The Namibia Association of Norway in partnership with the Ministry of Education. This job takes me to the most remote areas of Namibia, and if I tell you the names of the small villages where I have made these photos you will not know where they are. I have 20, 000 plus images from places you don't know if they exist," says Kari.

Kari added that most of the mothers in the exhibition's photographs are involved in the TLSP and they are all volunteering as parent teachers and passing on traditional skills to the learners twice a week. Magdalena Uugwanga from Usakos is one of the women in the photographs, and was seen at the opening. "These women are doing a selfless work and they are proud, strong and committed to their communities, therefore any sales the profit will go back to the parents on the photos," says Kari.

|Awebahe J ||Hoeseb, Director of Education in the Karas Regional Council, emphasised that most of the pictures on display at Blue Frog Restaurant are those of female members of Namibian society, "our mothers, who have taken a vow, to ensure that there is a trans-generational transfer of their cultural knowledge systems, and their traditional life skills for creating crafts and artefacts, and their linguistic heritage".

"Through their involvement and participation in the Traditional Life Skills Project, a great number of learners have come to learn that their cultural practices and traditions, as well as languages were not, and are not, superior and not inferior to those of others. It is my firm believe that, this selfless-sacrificial inputs from these mothers, a service provided free of charge, is a noble undertaking that is going to counter social evils such as crime, alcohol and drug abuse and teenage pregnancies, and is an applaudable sign of constructive citizenship!" ||Hoeseb said. The exhibition run until March 8.

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