By Kuvee Kangueehi
Hundreds of people converged here at the homestead of the Ovambanderu chief, Munjuku 11 Nguvauva, to pay their last respects since his passing on last Wednesday.
Wednesday saw the ranks swelling bigger with more people flocking to the village in the Epukiro Constituency. The body of the chief arrived from Windhoek on Tuesday for the last traditional rites. This morning the body will be taken back to Windhoek and then to Okahandja for a State funeral tomorrow.
Various speakers took turns to praise the chief chorusing on his steadfastness in the cause of getting the Ovambanderu recognised as a cultural group that it distinctly is today.
During the tributes, it was clear the late chief has united the Ovambanderu community and made them a proud community again after the German-Herero War at the beginning of the last century.
Likewise the chief’s death raises the question whether it would unite the tribe with some hoping that the two factions that disagree over the adoption of the group’s constitution would bury the hatchet as a show of respect to their fallen traditional leader.
There was a view hinting at the very constitution as a heritage that the group should respect and protect at all times as their own to show equal reverence to their departed leader.
It is not known to what extent this view, echoed by one of the Ovambanderu stalwarts, Apoi Kavari from Aminuis, who gave a historical rendition of the Ovambanderu, finds groundswell support among the Ovambanderu in view of the influence Kavari seems to wield among the group given his knowledge as far as the history of the group is concerned.
If it does strike a chord among the Ovambanderu, it could prove problematic for unity since the constitution has been the very source of contention within this cultural group.
But speaker after speaker seemed to be craving for unity hoping that sooner or later peace and unity-inclined individuals of note within the community would initiate dialogue.
Ovambanderu Senior Councillor for Kunene, Solomon Karutavi Hartley, was of the opinion that there was no dearth of individuals within the folk capable of such an initiative, but that the folk was its own enemy because even well meaning people within the community were mistrusted for allegiance to one or the other section of the divide.
He noted that there can be no reconciliation unless the warring parties and individuals are willing and show enough desire to reconcile.
Mistrust has been the factor that has been militating against unity.
Another Senior Councillor for the Coast, Rakurupa Murangi, challenged the readily accepted notion prevalent within the community that unity was hard to come by, questioning whether there has ever been genuine attempts at unity.
Ephraim Tjingaete from the Otjombinde Constituency said the Ovambanderu people continue to claim that unity is difficult to achieve but they have not tried to unite the people. He noted that good leaders are those who unite their people and not those who promote division.
The final traditional ritual, which entails taking the body of the chief to the holy fire, takes place early this morning.