In the national interest and in the interest of respecting the Office of the President, to whom a request was made by one of the late Chief Alfons Maharero’s clan people, one Mr Kangumine, that the President should prevent the annual Okahandja Red Flag commemoration, started in 1924 by our late Chief and father of the Namibian Nationalism Hosea Kutako, we would like to request with humility that our most respected President Hifikepunye Pohamba not accede to such a request.
We do not think that anybody who holds the office of the President in high esteem and respects the person of the President would try and drag him into meddling with the intra-tribal squabbles of the Herero cliques.
Should the President oblige as requested, he will become the national fire brigade who subsequently must put out all the tribal fires that are burning amongst the Caprivians, Kavango, Ovambo tribes, the Hereros, the Mbanderu-Hereros, the Nama tribes, the Damaras, the list goes on and on.One might ask when the President of the Republic of Namibia is going to have time to attend to his constitutional duties.
It must be said that the whole intent and purpose of the 1924 request by late Chief Kutako, not even by any of the Maharero people, to commemorate the 26 August event was not to commemorate “holy fire”, but simply to come every year and remember the noble cause of all our fallen heroes who were buried at Okahandja. These included Hereros/Mbanderus and Namas.
It was not to glorify the Otjika-Tjamuaha/Maharero Clan!
Here we would like to state categorically that Okahandja is the sacred ground of all Hereros/Mbanderus. (Okahandja Ongumbiro jova Herero, so we sing).
To say that Chief Riruako changed the so-called “Okuruuo” (Holy Fire) is simply not true because there is and never was such a thing as Okuruuo at that place, (the Komando) in Okahandja. Let us look at what is Okuruuo (Holy Fire).
The Okuruuo is a living sacred ground with an eternal burning Holy Fire characterized by the following:
– Presence of cattle including ‘holy cattle’ for their ‘holy milk’. This is not the case at the Komando house in Okahandja.
– It works with the Main Hut “Ondjuuo Onene Jonganda” which is never left to stand empty, but is peopled with people who live in there and houses the ‘holy calabashes` for the ‘holy Omaere’ for men, women, boys and girls, according to their age and social rank. Other ritualistic artifacts are also kept there for different purposes – this is not so with the Komando house in Okahandja.
– The Main Hut’s man entrance faces the west towards the cattle kraal, while the Okuruuo is situated in between the two, which is not the case with the Komando house in Okahandja, where there is no cattle kraal.
– Okuruuo structure is made with special ‘Omusaona’ bush and poles meant for seating the owner during rituals. This is not so at the Komando house in Okahandja where the ritualist sits on a chair, which he takes back home after the commemoration is over.
– During certain days in the month, women do not go between the Main Hut and the Holy Fire. This is not the case with the Komando at Okahandja.
Please note that the Holy Fire is not lit on Friday and put out on Sunday once a year. This indeed is the case at the Komando in Okahandja
Looking at all the above concerning Okuruuo and the set-up at the Komando in Okahandja, we would challenge anybody to prove that the Komando place in Okahandja constitutes Okuruuo as is known and revered by the Hereros/Mbanderus.
The Herero Day Commemoration was established with a good intention by our visionary leader and father of Namibian Nationalism, Chief Hosea Kutako, and is now part and parcel of our national calendar and national heritage being commemorated by Namibians of all colours and traditions and foreigners alike who travel from far.
This day also contributes to the socio-economic life of Okahandja and its people by what the pilgrims buy and pay for meals, accommodation, fuel, souvenirs, drinks and so on.
Those who are asking the President of the country to stoop so low and stop the 88-year-old tradition and national heritage of our country, do not have the best interest of our people at heart but are consumed by narrow mindedness and fear about the obvious dwindling role and importance of their Clan.