MARIA NEPEMBE INTERVIEW 1. WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AS THE FACE OF OLUKUKO? My role as face of Olufuko is to market the Olufuko Cultural Festival, invite people and help reach a wider audience with the objective of sharing relevant information about Olufuko as a culture and tradition. 2. TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE OLUFUKO FESTIVAL? I will have to say, the highlight of my experience as the face of Olufuko was visiting His Excellency Dr. Sam Nujoma, Founding President of the Republic of Namibia and Father of the Namibian nation. The marketing team and I spend the whole afternoon at the farm in Otavi, where we went for a game drive with the founding president and had lunch with him. His Excellency Dr. Sam Nujoma then took us for a tour around the school and the clinic which he is building for the children and people in the nearby farms. I also enjoyed dressing up in the Olufuko bridal attire for the photo-shoot as well as for the television advert. I would then conclude it with sitting next to the founding President during the gala dinner of 2016 throughout the event, not to forget the 3.3 million that was raised and the 42 tables that were sold for last year’s gala dinner. 3. HOW DO YOU FEEL BEING THE FACE OF OLUFUKO FESTIVAL FOR TWO CONSECUTIVE YEARS? I’m honored and so happy to be the face of Olufuko for the second time around. I will be attending the Olufuko festival again this year for the Olufuko Official Opening which will be on the 1st September 2017. It’s really good to see my work and image being appreciated by my own people in Namibia. 4. YOU WERE CRITICIZED FOR BEING THE FACE OF OLUFUKO LAST YEAR, HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THAT? AND HOW DID YOU TAKE THE ISSUE? I didn’t really make an issue about it and to be honest, I don’t really pay too much attention to it. I am a model and an actress who is influential and for that reason I was given the job as the face of Olufuko Festival with an objective, to promote, market, create awareness about the festival and educate people on the Olufuko tradition. I had nothing to get over as this is my culture and being the face of Olufuko has taught me a lot about my tradition and my values as a young woman coming from oshiwambo culture and tradition. It was one of my greatest experiences with memories I will cherish forever. No amount of criticism can ever make me regret that. 5. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT AT THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL? A lot can be expect, apart from learning about our culture and tradition as well as science and art, this year there will be the hosting of Miss Heritage and the best traditional fashion show ever. From my side as the Face of Olufuko, on the 1st September 2017, I will pay visits to some stands and engage some of our exhibitors. Olufuko Festival has so much to showcase, so much to teach and let’s not forget the entertainment part with Exit, Bullet Ya Kaoko, Young T and many other artists that will be performing. Ohungi where we as young people can truly learn and understand the value of the Olufuko Tradition is something not to be missed. 6. ANY MESSAGE OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO ALL PARENTS? WHY THEY SHOULD ALLOW THEIR CHILDREN TO BE PART OF THIS FESTIVAL? Absolutely, parents should encourage their girls to participate in the Olufuko Festival which is the ovambo culture and pride. Any girl participating in this festival should not feel shame but rather be proud as she represents ovambo woman values, purity and pride. I believe any young girl growing up has a dream to first finish high school, graduate from University and only engage in sexual activities once married; but in today’s world girls are promiscuous as early as the age of 11 and getting pregnant as early as 12 years of age. Is this what we would like to pride ourselves in? Is this the kind of freedom and values we want to teach young girls so we continue with the lifestyle of dumping babies and increasing the number of unwanted pregnancies? I don’t think so. Olufuko teaches young girls how to preserve themselves for marriage and how to become the good wife and daughter in law according to tradition. Olufuko initiation is not encouraging any sexual activities before marriage or marrying off young girls to old man as it is perceived. Any girl participating in the Olufuko initiation is not forced but given a choice and it is an agreement between her and her parents. No girl is forced into Olufuko initiation at all, those who participate are proud and happy with their decision. Our Cultural values were erased during the colonial era but now living in an independent Namibia, its only right for all Namibians to revive their culture and traditional values, doesn’t matter if you are Ovambo, Damara, Herero, Kavango or Baster, celebrate who you are, be proud of where you come from and don’t judge anybody’s culture and label it as evil simply because you don’t have the full understanding of it and its purpose. You coming to the Olufuko Festival says you want to know and learn something new, indulge in a variety of our traditional food, fashion, norms and people. We look forward to having you and celebrate with us.
New Era Reporter
2017-08-18 11:34:41 1 years ago