Feature: Namibians resort to creative ways to observe independence day amid COVID-19 outbreak

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-22 17:53:02|Editor: xuxin
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By Ndalimpinga Iita

WINDHOEK, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Namibians on Saturday resorted to creative ways to observe the swearing in of Namibian President Hage Geingob for his second term, and Independence Day as precautionary measures were taken against COVID-19.

The Namibian government last week cancelled the country's public 30th independence celebration following recent confirmed cases of COVID-19 to ensure safety and health of all.

Instead, an exclusive event was held at the State House in Namibia's capital, Windhoek, which was live-streamed on social and local media.

Locals pursued other ways to commemorate the event.

Lucia Mweshila was determined to join the rest of celebrators at the country's 30th independence celebration on March 21 initially planned to be held at a stadium in Windhoek.

Online platforms enabled her to follow the official swearing-in of President Hage Geingob.

"My family and I followed the proceedings on Facebook. We also organized a small celebration indoors at home to celebrate," Mweshihala said on Saturday.

According to the Windhoek dweller, the family event was complemented by food, songs and spirit of unity.

"The aim is to join the nation in commemorating our independence in our way while we take precaution and adhere to health and safety measures in place against COVID-19 as communicated by the health ministry," she said.

Namibia's Ministry of Health and Social Services has enhanced public education to raise awareness about the spread of the virus, said Ben Nangombe, executive director in the health ministry.

Another Windhoek resident, Lucas Joel, said that his family ordered clothing items and accessories branded with the Namibian flag and celebrated the day at home.

"We did that in solidarity with the rest of the populace and national pride. From home, we were able to wash our hands frequently and enforce preventative measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19," Joel said.

The branded T-shirts were procured from a local entrepreneur, at the cost of 150 Namibian dollars (about 9 U.S. dollars), said Joel.

Meanwhile, creativity was not limited to urban dwellers. In the far-flung village in Oshana region, northern Namibia, Kaleni William followed the proceedings on the radio.

"They ran a live broadcast, and I was able to follow. Under normal circumstances, I would have travelled to Windhoek to attend the event. But I am distancing myself socially as precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19," said William.

Meanwhile, even though they witnessed the event via the virtual platforms and other ways, citizens are hopeful that the retained leader will boost development and address persistent social challenges.

Namibian President said Saturday that the emergence of COVID-19 is a threat to the country's prosperity, and urged that "all Namibians should embrace the spirit of unity" to overcome it.

Namibia has so far recorded three cases of COVID-19, with the government encouraging social distancing as well as a proactive precaution by inhabitants as part of measures to curb spread of the virus.