UUKWANDONGO – Dissimilar to preceding celebrations of the Omagongo festival, Omunyekadhi Adelheid Mupiya of Ongandjera rewarded 10 women who contributed the most litres of omagongo for the festival.
The women were rewarded with certificates and money.
In addition to the awards, Omunyekadhi Mupiya was also made patron of a project that will attempt to add value to the marula fruit and subsequently empower women.
This year’s event was celebrated at Ongandjera palace at Uukwandongo in Omusati Region.
Omagongo festival, a revolving annual event, will be hosted in Ombalantu.
The festival, which kicked off on Friday, was described by the various speakers as aiming to unite people.
Guest speaker at the festival, Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba, said the festival showcases the significance of the natural endowment of northern Namibia, while informing and educating about the cultural heritage, cultural legacy and custom.
The Vice-President further said that cultural platforms such as the Omagongo festival are a perfect opportunity to restore the dignity that Namibians were robbed of by colonialism.
“Through embracing and respecting our indigenous languages and similar reinforcing customs, we are able to impart positive values and behavioural norms to future generations to safeguard and preserve the growth of the Namibian national identity and culture,” he said.
Singing praises of the importance of culture, the patron of the Omagongo festival, former President and Father of the Nation Sam Nujoma commended the Ongandjera Traditional Authority for the theme ‘Omagongo our heritage’.
“Indeed cultural heritage is a vital part of the identity of who we are, where we come from and where we intend to go, not only as a traditional authority, but the Namibian nation as a whole,” Nujoma said.
Nujoma said the rich cultural heritage can however only be preserved if it is passed on to succeeding generations.
Nujoma also sung praises to the ‘ohungi’ held on Friday afternoon until past midnight.
Ohungi is an Oshiwambo term for an event where elders gather around the fire to share cultural stories, folklore, riddles and jokes with the young folks.
While the event is important in any household set-up, Nujoma expressed discontent with parents, particularly men who spend time at cuca shops abusing alcohol instead of being with their children.
“For this reason, the younger generation is forgetting and ignoring the significance of embracing our culture because of lack of proper cultural guidance to know who they are, where they come from and where they are going,” said Nujoma.
Omukwaniilwa Johannes Mupiya of the Ongandjera Traditional Authority appealed to parents to impart cultural knowledge and practices to the young generation.
Giving an insight of the Omagongo festival and season, the chairperson of Ongandjera Traditional Authority, Johannes Kandombo, said apart from enjoying omagongo, the festival brings communities together.
During the omagongo season, people are not allowed to carry weapons, crimes committed during the festival are not trialled while promises made during this time are equally not followed.
In addition to the speeches made during the event, there was a festival parade of omagongo.