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Omagongo Festival not confined to Aawambo – Geingob

2023-06-05  Helvy Shaanika

Omagongo Festival not confined to Aawambo – Geingob

OHAMAUTSI – President Hage Geingob says Omagongo Cultural Festival serves as a symbol of unity as it brings together traditional authorities, communities and individuals from all the regions of Namibia. 

Omagongo Festival is an annual event hosted by traditional authorities, predominantly from the northern regions of Namibia, to celebrate the marula tree, which is a symbol of hope in African communities. 

Apart from the delicious marula juice (omagongo), which is extracted and fermented, communities also extract oil from marula seeds which is used for cooking. Marula oil has also found a niche in the hair and beauty business. 

In his speech delivered by Vice President Nangolo Mbumba during Omagongo Cultural Festival that took place at Ohamautsi village in Omusati Region, Geingob asserted that the festival serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas and transmission of customary norms and traditions to the younger generation. 

“Through this platform which this festival creates, the Omagongo event is not confined to Aawambo communities alone, but to the whole country. Testimony to this is the inscription of the Omagongo Cultural Festival onto the World Intangible Cultural Heritage list by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2015, in accordance with the UNESCO Convention for the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage,” said Geingob.  

According to the president, the event represents the extent at which culture can unite communities and promote understanding within the wider Namibian nation. 

“Together, as a nation, let us take part in all our cultural activities and enlighten the young generations to value the importance of our diverse cultures and traditions. 

Culture is a vital element in any nation’s existence, development and future prosperity. Therefore, let us remain united in cultural diversity. By so doing, this will lead us to truly embrace the true meaning of One Namibia, One Nation,” said Geingob. 

He however expressed concern over drug and alcohol abuse as well as gender-based violence among the youth. 

The head of state said Namibia is witnessing a wave of increased negative vices of alcoholism, gender based-violence, crime and drug abuse, especially by the youth. 

“Therefore, in a society afflicted by negative social deviance, we want to see cultural events such as the Omagongo Cultural Festival, play a prominent role in educating and instilling strong moral values in our young people in particular and the communities in general,” he said. 

Geingob urged the traditional authorities and organisers of events of a similar nature to act, as key role players in instilling discipline and strong moral values in the people, especially men and the youth. 

Among the dignitaries who attended the 2023 Omagongo Festival were Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and Omusati governor Erginus Endjala and traditional leaders, mainly from the northern regions, as well as some people from the neighbouring Angola, UNESCO representatives and members of diplomatic corps, among others. 

The host, Chief Oswin Mukulu Ombalantu, said there is a pressing need to instill cultural morals and values among the youth as they are gradually losing their identity.

“Give young people a space of 20 years, our identity will be totally gone. We should not fail to still our morals and values, otherwise we will be a directionless society,” said Mukulu. Ondonga and Ombadja traditional authorities will host the 2024 Omagongo festival.  


2023-06-05  Helvy Shaanika

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