EENHANA- The Mafwe cultural festival, popularly known in the Caprivi Region as the “Lusata”, takes place next Friday at Lusata headquarters, about 70 kilometres south of Katima Mulilo.
The Lusata cultural festival brings together members of the Mafwe cultural group, and other Namibian cultures, chiefs and cultural performers from neighbouring Botswana and Zambia. It is one of the main events on the annual arts and cultural calendar in the Caprivi Region. It begins with entertainment before the actual day of Lusata on a Sunday. It is one of the main features annually where the reigning chief George Mamili VII will be dressed in his special traditional and chieftainship attire with ivory encrusted Lusata (wooden stick) in both hands . Eustace Mbanga, a spokesperson and Chairperson of the Lusata organising committee, says entertainment will continue in the early morning of the Lusata day followed by the arrival of the Litunga, George Simasiku Mamili VII.
Upon the arrival of Chief Mamili VII, the traditional flag will be hoisted in his presence after which he will proceed to take his comfortable seat at Lutaitai, a special shelter made for him. “After all official statements, the Chief will make a special and spectacular display of the Lusata close aides commonly known as “Ngambela” and other subjects. Next week’s gathering will see once again dignitaries and some cultural performers from the Otjiherero’s Ovambanderu Traditional Authority and cultural group. Last year’s event was graced by Prime Minister, Nahas Angula and other senior government officials. This year’s guest of honour will be Jerry Ekandjo, the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development.
The Chairman of the National Council, Asser Kuveri Kapere, is also expected to grace this year’s Lusata cultural festival. “The ceremony will also see the Mafwe speaking tribes’ men presenting some special gifts to their chief as a way of thanking him culturally for bringing and maintaining peace and tranquility in the Caprivi Region. It is also a platform where togetherness is created so that the Mafwe speaking people would act in unison and tackle challenges facing their tribe and indeed in the Caprivi Region,” says Mbanga
Last year, foreign dignitaries who attended the event were Chief Chika from Botswana’s Masubia tribe, and his delegation, District Commissioner of the Sesheke town of Zambia, Wamunyima wa Nyambe Mwiya. Last year the Mafwe chief also launched the Imataa Foundation whose mandate is to raise funds for the Lusata festival so as to alleviate poverty through socio-economic and cultural development. “Our Imataa foundation appeals to the government to help uplift our tribe from poverty, deprivation and in solving some of the challenges facing the Mafwe tribe, which include the HIV/AIDS pandemic, poverty, inequality and unemployment among others,” says Mbanga
As usual, many tourists visiting the surrounding lodges and resorts and members of the public are expected to attend the festival which has grown in leaps and bounds in the annual arts and cultural calendars of the Caprivi Region. “We have the communication that Minister Jerry Ekandjo will be our guest of honour. We have also contracted our local artists, the likes of Simon Chidhuza, Spiny and the Green Kids and Zonke as the performing artists next week Sunday,” he confirms
Other cultural groups performing will be the ever winning Sikwekwe, Mubiza and Kapako traditional groups. The Botswana delegation is also expected to bring their dancers along.
Eustace Siyata who is coordinating the entertainment for the Lusata festival also revealed that all festival goers are encouraged to wear their cultural corporate identity with the word “Lusata” inscribed on their T-shirts. Mafwe culture adherents who would want to buy chitenges, hats, Lusata DVDs and some car number plates, may kindly contact Eustace Siyata on +264 81 323 2648 or the organizing Chairperson, Eustace Mbanga +264 81 604 5194