By Kuvee Kangueehi
Chief Munjuku II Nguvauva’s body was yesterday morning taken to his village of Ezorongondo in the Epukiro Constituency for the last rites before his burial at Okahandja on Saturday.
A long convoy of close to 20 cars left for the eastern village, where hundreds of people dressed in traditional attire as well as traditional troops were expected to welcome the chief’s body.
A local traditionalist, Peter Nguvauva, who is also an uncle to the late Chief Munjuku II, said the essence of going to Ezorongondo is for the body of the late chief to officially visit the holy fire for the last time.
Nguvauva said the custom dictates that a chief or a man of his stature should be taken to the holy fire before he is buried as the ‘ondangere’ or spirit medium has to inform the forefathers that their son (late chief) is coming to join them.
Nguvauva said the visit to his village would allow the Ovambanderu community to mourn and view their chief for the last time. It will also give the subjects a chance to express their grief and accept his departure.
Nguvauva said in terms of the process leading to the funeral, there is nothing significantly different between the funeral of a chief and that of any elder in the community.
He noted that the funeral of a chief is usually bigger in terms of attendance as various other chiefs and people from other communities attend the funeral.
He added that it is not in the Ovambanderu tradition that someone is killed to accompany the chief. He said only people in the former Okaoko used to practise that tradition long ago.
Nguvauva said because of their tradition, the people of Okaoko sent a young man to be sacrificed when Chief Clemens Kapuuo was killed in 1978 as was their tradition but the authorities declined the offer.
Another traditionalist, Alex Kaputu, said in the past, chiefs were usually buried on the same day they died or early the next day. The mourning period was only declared after the burial.
Kaputu said in the past, the funeral programme for a chief was shorter with fewer speeches. He noted that speeches only started after the arrival of missionaries when people started to conduct church services at funerals.
Kaputu added that at the graveside, not everybody is allowed to throw sand over the body of a chief but only a few selected people from the paternal and maternal families are allowed to do so.
Hundreds of Ovambanderu people from various regions have convened in Ezorongondo and traditional rituals will take place at the village before the State funeral at Okahandja on Saturday.