THE Mandume Day commemoration, which takes place annually on the 6th of February, was this year a low-key event that took place belatedly at the Oukwanyama Queen Martha Mwadinomho Kristian Nelumbu’s palace at Omhedi, on the outskirts of the Helao Nafidi town, this past Saturday.
The annual event commemorates the death of King Mandume Ndemufayo, who died at Oihole in southern Angola.
Mandume ascended to the Oukwanyama throne in 1911 and was immediately confronted with the southward expansion of the Portuguese rule, and, after a series of running battles in 1915, Mandume was forced to relocate his palace from Ondjiva to Oihole near the Namibia-Angola border.
However, in 1917 he was confronted by a much stronger British/South African force from the south.
He died in combat on the 6th of February 1917. It is alleged that he was beheaded, but 104 years after his death, the whereabouts of his skull still remains a mystery.
Queen Nelumbu, who was the key-note speaker on Saturday, encouraged people who might be in possession of information about the whereabouts of Mandume’s skull to step forward.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, the commemorative event was only attended by senior traditional leaders and a small number of other dignitaries, including local church leaders.
The customary visit to the Mandume monument at Oihole, which forms part of the annual event, was this year not possible because the border between the two countries remains closed.
King Mandume Ya Ndemufayo is recognized as a national hero both in Angola and in Namibia.