For our second NIM Culture Cafe we had the honour to have with us H. E. Ms Linda Scott, High Commissioner of the Republic of Namibia, Hon. Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, Minister of Education of the Republic of Namibia, and two members of the staff.
After welcoming everyone, Dame Anna Porcheddu gave a short introduction on the topic of the Culture Café of this month, “Teddy Memories”. We learned that the term “teddy bear” was coined in 1902, during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, to describe a stuffed toy bear. The teddy bear is a concept that originated from Theodore Roosevelt’s fascination with the outdoors and Berryman’s account of a specific hunting expedition.
After learning of the Teddy bear’s origin, attendees shared their personal experiences. The Minister’s memories of her childhood were very moving, especially when she mentioned that during the difficult years of the Namibian struggle for independence children had to learn how to make toys out of very poor material, like a piece of wood.
Attendees brought all sorts of teddies, some of them very old indeed, such as a 70-year-old teddy bear one of our friends had. Another one had a koala from Australia, Fluffy, who made it to Malta travelling through Ireland and the Czech Republic; There was also a bear with a nice hand-knitted cardigan, that an attendee’s mum knitted for his school uniform some years ago; a big smiling bear called Abbraccio, that she met in her hometown, Cagliari. He immediately asked her to take him to Malta, as he loves travelling and discovering the world. Another attendee from Brazil, had a very sweet Maltese teddy, wearing a red and white top, Maltese colours indeed.
It was an ideal way of socialising and learning more about our countries, and also creating meaningful cultural ties.