Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro Windhoek-In less than a month since selling close to 80 copies of the book Otuzo twOvaherero have been bought, and this only in rural areas. Author of the book on the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu patrilineal clans and the praise-singing of the homesteads/families belonging to these clans, Dr Ngungaa Hangara, took 85 copies for selling in the rural areas and by last Thursday, with the launch of the book, he had only five copies left. The book provides information on the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu patriclans and records folklore and poems in Otjiherero. Ovaherero and Ovambanderu patriclans are structured around the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu patrilineal descent and is the basis of Ovaherero and Ovambanderu religion. The 160-page book contains 34 patriclans and 448 praises and/or poems of such clans. Not that Hangara is an Omuherero or an Omumbanderu linguist, folklorist and/or culturalist by qualification. Instead he holds a doctorate in sustainable agriculture from the University of the Free State in South Africa. Currently he works for the National Youth Service as an executive responsible for agriculture and aquaculture. But how and why a book on patriclans, instead, one cannot but wonder? Hangara says this is one way in which he could help repair or restitute those who lost land, livestock and other belongings during the 1904 to 1908 genocidal war waged against the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu by imperial Germany, at least through starting to help them reclaim their culture. And one way to do this is through this book focusing on patriclans, which can especially be of great value to the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu, many of whom to this day, because of their near annihilation, find themselves in the Botswana and South African Diaspora. “Today, some Ovaherero living in the southern parts of Namibia and in the diaspora keep asserting their Ovaherero identity although they generally seem to have lost all knowledge of their language, Otjiherero,” Hangara affirms his motivation to compile the book. But foremost, the United Nations estimates that if nothing is done, more than 3,000 languages spoken today will by the end of this century disappear. “With the disappearance of unwritten and undocumented languages, humanity would not only lose cultural wealth but also important indigenous knowledge,” Hangara equally fears for Otjiherero. Hence this book. Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo, launching the book, lauded the publishers, the University of Namibia (Unam) Press, saying it is not the first it publishes a book relevant to the Ovaherero community, emphasising the university’s important role in the preservation of history and cultural heritage. This, she said, is in line with its vision and mission, among others, of serving as a repository for the preservation, development and articulation of national values and culture through the promotion of Namibian history, art and languages. Taking a lead, Ndjoze-Ojo did not preach to the audience but showed also that she is well-versed in her culture by reciting to the audience praising of her own patriclan, and activating them in doing same. She was particularly impressed with the approach of Hangara in the compilation of the book, he having widely consulted when collecting data for the book. Otuzo twOvaherero is available at local bookstores (our distributor has had orders from Book Den in Windhoek and Swakopmund Buchhandlung). The author will be selling the book at upcoming events like in Epukiro during the annual commemoration of the Hoveka Royal House on November 17-19. International distributor – African Books Collective: http://www.africanbookscollective.com/books/otuzo-twovaherero Southern Africa distributor – Namibia Book Market: http://www.namibiabooks.com/english-books/field-guides/product/759-otuzo-twovaherero. It sells for N$150-00 a copy.
2017-11-07 08:59:20 10 months ago