Namibia’s foremost political and traditional leaders said the devastating drought that has most of Namibia in a strangle hold, must be met with by unity, compassion strength of character and a reliance on cultural and traditional knowledge.
In this regard the Namibian Government has budgeted close to N$500 million for the severe drought currently devastating the country. The money will be managed by the Office of the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Saara Kuukongelwa-Amdhila introduced the Vice President, Nangolo Mbumba the people gathered at the traditional palace of the Ongandjera King Johannes Mupiya during the two-day Omagongo Cultural Festival 2019 held at the Uukwandongo village in the Omusati region and said a strong team with the correct background was chosen for the management of the looming disaster.
Vice President Nangolo Mbumba in his keynote address at the official opening of the cultural festival urged traditional authorities to play their part in assisting the affected communities without discrimination.
Namibia in general and the northern communal areas in particular are currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent memory.
Mbumba described the festival as a grand cultural event which “we cannot afford to miss”.
He thanked founding president Sam Nujoma for his steadfast support for Omagongo festival since the festival’s inception in 2001.
In his speech Nujoma thanked the organizers for choosing the theme “Omagongo Uuthiga Wetu/Our heritage”.
“Cultural heritage is vital part of the identity of who we are, where we come from and where we intend to go, not only as traditional authorities, but the Namibian nation as a whole,” he said.
He also said that “our rich cultural heritage” can only be preserved if it is passed on to succeeding generations. “Indeed it is through festivals such as this that we teach the young generation to be conscious about the values of natural resources like marula fruits,” he said.
He lamented the fact that most parents no longer spend time with their children to transmit to them the traditional norms of their respective communities. Instead they spend most of their time abusing alcohol at cuca shops and bars, he said.
The unified Omagongo cultural Festival was the brainchild of then-president Nujoma who is the festival’s patron.
The festival is hosted by the eight traditional communities of Aawambo on a rotational basis.
It was held for the first time in Ongandjera in 2001.
Before that, each of the eight tribes of Aawambo held its separate festival.
This year’s two-day event started Friday with a social evening during which feast-goers were addressed by historians and experts on traditional norms and were entertained by traditional dancers and musicians.
Niilo Taapopi, the chairperson of organizing committee described the event as a resounding success.