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Reviving cultural roots in the diaspora

2022-04-01  Paheja Siririka

Reviving cultural roots in the diaspora

Ovaherero community in Botswana were recently treated to a feast of cultural appreciation during the Herero-Mbanderu Cultural Festival at Kopong, Botswana.  

Hosted by a team of young Batswana Namibians, the event aimed to revive and protect the Herero-Mbanderu cultural roots of those in the diaspora.

Organisers Kandjako Thapelo Humbu, Vatjizatjike Ndjavera and Segametsi Kandjise hosted about 600 persons at Kopong, a small village in the Kweneng District on the outskirts of Gaborone, to promote the Herero-Mbanderu culture, and inculcate it in children who seem to be “losing” their heritage.  

“What drove us was seeing our children and other brothers and sisters not being able to speak the language (Otjiherero) properly or not speaking it at all.  That was the gap we were trying to fill and curb the language barriers of our descents,” Humbu told VIBEZ! Otjiherero has become a challenge for the younger generation of Ovaherero and Ovambanderu, as they are only exposed to the Tswana language and culture.

 “With hosting this event, we have faith that we can fill that void, and wholeheartedly trust it will bear fruits.  We hope people will learn to appreciate this other side of them,” expressed Humbu.  

The organising team left no stone unturned, and made sure entertainment was on point, roping in award-winning Oviritje artist Mutjangatjike Ben Muundjua, who set the stadium alight with his electrifying performances and dance moves. Without derailing from the mission of the event, Humbu said the purpose of having people like Muundjua is to teach the culture through song and dance; something the youth can relate to more.

 Among the invitees were Uazenga Tjamuaha, who has deep Herero knowledge, as well as former Okakarara councillor Vetaruhe Kandorozu, who gave an overview of where Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Ovatjimba come from, and countries they currently reside, including South Africa.

 Humbu said: “Their (Tjamuaha and Kandorozu) mission and focus were to educate us on how we ended up in Botswana and other areas beyond the Namibian borders, and even the history of the genocide.  I must say they informed us well and did not disappoint. 

We are eager to host it next time and make sure we include others as well”. “It was very emotional to stand there to deliverå a keynote speech during the very first-annual Herero-Mbanderu Cultural Festival; it is one of a kind,” Kandorozu told VIBEZ! 

Kandorozu added that over the years, he was reflecting a lot on their cultures, wondering when their traditional authorities will organise a cultural festival like that. -

2022-04-01  Paheja Siririka

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