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Anuwa?

By M'kwanailya wa Mweuta
Wow! August is indeed the mother month of all the commemorations. It seems nothing happened in Namibia until August . It was in August 1904 when the battle of Hamakari took place and it was in August 1923 when Chief Samuel Maharero was reburied at Okahandja. Ironically it was indeed in August when the war of liberation was launched.

To all my compatriots, happy belated August month. It is just befitting that it is in August that other activities such as Olufuko festivals and all other trade fairs are taking place.

Speaking of Olufuko and other cultural activities taking place at various institutions of higher education, I must commend the organisers of these activities. To quote the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture Jerry Ekandjo, "Culture is indeed our roots, it gives us a sense of pride and a steady platform on which to build our future".

I must however say that I am not impressed with the way cultural festivals are being held especially at the institutions of higher education. Apart from the Olufuko which have different practical sessions such as educating "aafuko" (brides) on the do's and don'ts whenever they eventually meet Mr. Right, elsewhere, anuwa cultural festivals have become drinking spree events.

One expects cultural festivals to be platforms where Namibians learn in depth about other cultures. Organisers ought to venture in activities such as; the process involved in proposing, marrying and divorcing a Nama speaking woman for example. A topic of this nature can be presented by respected community leaders as guest speakers. In this way the Nation is being educated to respect each other's culture and also to understand each other.

There are knowledgeable resourceful persons well versed in various cultures who could be line up to discuss different topics and behaviour of concerns among our youth during these activities. One could expect an olufuko "graduate" to be invited and to address tertiary students on her experience.

Another classic example of clash in culture is how one greets an Afrikaans and Oshiwambo speaking person. While I would regard it as odino (disrespect) for anyone to enter my house and greet me while standing; an Afrikaner person will not think is a joke to enter his/ her house and sit before you greet. Cultural festivals should look for those contrasts and explain different perspective for people to appreciate both versions and adjust accordingly.

As for the "culture college" Olufuko Centre it should not only be utilised during the month of August. The place should be used for cultural retreats and exchanges of various Namibian people.

And by the way who said that the initiation of girls should be done only once a year? August month should only be the commencement month for that specific year. From there on, every family, village or clan which wish to initiate its girls they should contact the Namunganga, (the conductor of the ceremony) pay the set fee to use the place and "naitye waka" every second weekend!

Borrowing from the Founding father Dr. Sam Nujoma's words last year when he opened the festival: "Youth should not shy away from our cultural events under the pretext that they are outdated. As future leaders youth should defend and preserve our culture as well as champion the heritage of our ancestors in order to forge a strong cultural and national identity".





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