Museum Showcases Mbunza Heritage

The Mbunza Living Museum located 14 km west of Rundu showcases how the Mbunza tribe lived in the past.

Its owner and manager Sebron Sikerete told New Era the main focus is to provide visitors with a detailed and authentic insight into the traditional and pre-colonial culture of the Mbunza tribe.

The museum, situated at Samsitu Lake, is a traditional village of the Kavango community that has lived in the area for centuries. The village has been built entirely from natural material and the exhibitors are attired in clothing made from tanned and Mangetti nut-oiled leather. The outfits actually had to be designed from old photographs.

“We show our visitors the Mbunza culture’s traditional food, hunting and fishing traps, canoes, bush walks, traditional dances, fire making, baskets and mat weaving and highly specialised techniques like blacksmithing, pottery and the making of drums and many more,” narrated Sikerete. He admitted the beginning was not a stroll in the park as “a lot of work had to be done”. “In the beginning we started putting ideas together with my group that I managed to organise after I got the concept from the living culture museum foundation in Windhoek. We spent three years from 2008 just collecting information mainly about the Mbunza people, as well as formulating proposals and doing all the necessary paper work to register the business. In 2009 we started building huts for the traditional village, which is the museum we are operating now. It is built of wooden poles and grass. It was a challenge that we managed to overcome,” he told New Era.

Sikerete together with his group further approached elders in the community for more information and in 2010 they were ready to roll. “When everything was done I decided to capacitate myself with some entrepreneurship skills. With the help of Mr Fudge Andy who is the manager of Samsitu Lodge and the neighbour to our living museum, I managed to pay for my enrolment at the Cosdec vocational skills development centre in Rundu to do a short entrepreneurship and hospitality course that I managed to finish in six months. We then opened for business on 22nd October 2011,” he reminisced.

“When we first started business was slow as we were not known by tour operators and lodge owners but later we were definitely in business and now we are being promoted and supported by the nearby lodges and are recognised. We get clients through tour operators and some Google us on our website,” Sikerete said.

The museum currently operates with 10 staff consisting of males and females.

“Young people should visit the museum to familiarise themselves with the Mbunza culture which is more or less the same as all Kavango cultures. Learn to know how people lived in the past, what they did for a living and how they entertained themselves. We also aim to educate many young people about our culture and thus are willing to visit schools to teach young ones the importance of culture and so on,” said Sikerete.

The living museum is supported and recommended by the Living Culture Foundation Namibia .

Source : New Era