All Roads Lead to Katima Mulilo

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On Heroes Day By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK In two weeks, thousands of Namibians will flock to Katima Mulilo, a town that lies near the Zambezi River in the far northeast of Namibia, to commemorate Heroes Day on August 26. Katima Mulilo is known for its “pure” culture, which from pre-independence days up until now has seen very little change, if at all. The chairperson of the Information Sub-Committee for Commemoration of Heroes Day 2006 Wilma Deetlefs yesterday told New Era that between 10 000 and 12 000 people from all regions are expected at the town. President Hifikepunye Pohamba will give the keynote address and apart from ordinary people, in attendance will be heads of diplomatic missions and the various chiefs from that area. Though the official programme will only be ready tomorrow, Deetlefs said the national organizing committee and the regional organizing team have all the preparations on course. Despite the main event taking place at the town that is a gateway to most of Namibia’s neighbouring countries, it does not stop the regions from commemorating the day in their own small way, Deetlefs added. Considering the rich cultural heritage of the region, cultural performances to jazz up the masses will not be missing from the official programme. According to Deetlefs, this year the commemoration will even be more interesting compared to last year. “This year, we will add bream to the menu,” she said. Last year, the historic day was commemorated in Opuwo. Though the day will this year fall on a Saturday, no national holiday will be proclaimed for either the Friday preceding or the following Monday. Based on the Holiday Act, a holiday can only be granted if the commemoration day falls on a Sunday. “Heroes day must be commemorated. This is a time when we honour both the fallen and alive heroes of the country who sacrificed or put their lives at risk for us to be where we are today,” said the chairperson of Heroes Day Organizing Committee, Frans Kapofi. Team leader of the Regional Committee Raymond Matiti yesterday confirmed that the committee has started with a series of meetings in preparation for this big event. He could however not divulge if there are any deals struck with water and electricity suppliers in the region to ensure that the crowd will have access to these services on that day. Governor of the region Bernard Sibalatani says the commemoration of the day in his region is of great significance, especially that Caprivi was a battlefield in the 1960s. “The region has important history as far as war is concerned. Even commander Tobias Hainyeko died in the Zambezi,” he revealed. This is the first time that this day will be commemorated at national level in the region and it is an honour for them to host the event, he concluded.