Feature: Namibians observe Christmas Day, festive season differently amid COVID-19

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 26, 2020
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by Ndalimpinga Iita

WINDHOEK, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- At home in Windhoek, capital of Namibia, Josefina David's family of five congregated around a dining table for a meal on Christmas Day. For David, it is an unusual event. "Although borders are open, amid fears of COVID-19, for the first time in three years I will spend the festive season at home," she said.

David usually took an international trip with her family for each festive holiday.

Like David, many Namibians this year are celebrating the festive season differently amid COVID-19.

For Johannes Erastus, Christmas Day was spent with relatives. Coming from a big extended family meant that more than 60 people would attend a family gathering on Christmas day.

However, gatherings, according to the new precautionary measures by the Namibian government, are limited to a maximum of 50 people, said Kalumbi Shangula, Minister of Health and Social Services.

Other new measures in force between Dec. 24, 2020, and Jan. 13, 2021, also include a curfew between 9 pm and 4 am as well as the closure of restaurants by 8 pm.

"So we decided to each host small gatherings in our homes, and share the moments via the family WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms," he said on Friday.

Restaurants had special offerings for the festive season. But the traders have also since adjusted their services to comply with a newly imposed closing hour of 20:00.

Justy Shilunga, who runs the Hot Sauce Cafe food outlet in the northern part of Namibia said she had to shift Christmas special offers to an earlier time.

"We also diverted to providing more takeaway orders and deliveries rather than sit-ins at the restaurant," Shilunga said.

Meanwhile, the religious and faith-oriented individuals who mainly celebrated Christmas in the church also had to adopt new ways.

Lydia Kalla is a church lover. For more than 15 years, she attended church service to celebrate Christmas day. Her choir would also perform.

"But this year, I followed proceedings online and sang along instead," Kalla said.

Meanwhile, traditional leaders in rural areas conveyed their message via radio.

"To avoid gathering that we host as per our tradition, I, instead had to give my message through the radio broadcasting in the indigenous language," said Martha Mwadinhomho, queen of a tribal kingdom in the northern part of Namibia.

Namibia so far has recorded 21,262 confirmed cases with 17,602 recoveries and 187 deaths. Enditem

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