Loide Jason Outapi-Founding president Sam Nujoma believes the promotion of culture should become one of the most important engines of development. He was speaking on Friday when he officially opened the sixth edition of Olufuko cultural festival at Outapi in the Omusati Region. “The need to promote and preserve our cultural heritage has become more important in the face of the factors that endanger our cultural heritage,” Nujoma, president of Namibia between 1990 and 2005, said. “Therefore, concerted efforts should be put in place to preserve the Olufuko cultural festival for posterity and to maintain it as a unique part of world cultural heritage.” This year’s Olufuko festival attracted 79 girls aged 16 and above who are undergoing rites of passage to adulthood as part of their initiation. The initiation aims to prepare them for adulthood, as well as to teach them how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and related diseases. During the initiation process, the girls are taught to focus on their studies and resist the temptations of becoming sexually involved while they are still young. Olufuko’s main objectives are to inform, educate, enhance traditional and cultural identity and preserve and promote culture and tradition, organisers say. The girls participating in this year’s Olufuko festival hail from Ombalantu, Ombadja, Uukolonkadhi, Uukwambi and Ongandjera. Among them is 23-year old Lisa Israel, a teacher at Ekundu Combined School. Nujoma, the patron of Olufuko, called on the event’s preparatory committee to stay focused and not to divert from the original objectives of the annual event. The objectives, he explained, are to inform and educate the nation about the Olufuko rite and passage and other norms and practices which sustained previous generations. The face of Olufuko, Maria Nepembe, said girls who are undergoing the initiation process were not forced to do so but are doing it willingly for the love of cultural values, norms and identity. During its inception in 2012, the festival attracted 17 girls, last year 86, however the number of girls participating this year dropped to 79 because preparation of the festival started late due to financial constraints. There are 284 exhibitors, with some coming from as far as Zimbabwe and Kenya. Passing on the Ohungi aspect of Olufuko was held around the fire on Thursday, where moral values were emphasised through storytelling. Olufuko festival, which kicked off on August 25, is expected to end next week.
New Era Reporter
2017-09-04 09:30:53 1 years ago