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Namrights sues govt and Omusati over Olufuko

Namrights sues govt and Omusati over Olufuko

Eba Kandovazu

THE National Society for Human Rights of Namibia (Namrights) has instituted a legal claim against the Namibian government and the organisers of the Olufuko Annual Cultural Festival, the Omusati Town Council, for its continued ‘violation of the rights of the girl child and young women who are subjected to human dignity and privacy’.

According to the Outapi Town Council’s website, Olufuko is a female initiation, under which girls between the age of 15 and 20 have to go through in order to “become mature and marriageable women.”

IN COURT: Olufuko festival. Photo: Contributed

Namrights is of the opinion that the Olufuko festival not only violates the girls, but uses them to promote economic investments and attract tourism at the Outapi town and in particular the Omusati region. 

The organisation is requesting that the court declares the festival as a female sexual initiation ritual and a harmful traditional practice which had ceased in the country some 80 years ago. Further, the court was requested to declare that the festival is a wedding ceremony whose primary objective is to prepare the girl child as young as 12-years-old for wifehood, which he says includes marriage, sexual intercourse and childbirth.

The consequences, according to court documents, constitutes a discriminatory traditional practice, which leads to young women falling pregnant.

Namright claims that government’s “active participation and celebration” of the Olufuko festival is in violation of its obligations under both national legislation and public international laws.

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