Spreading Lies about the Ovahimba

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– Ovahimba and Ovaherero Children watch parents having sex? What? Yes, that is how surprised I was when I read a book entitled: “Challenging the Namibia sexuality – a case study of Ovahimba and Ovaherero cultural sexual models in Kunene North in a HIV/AIDS context,” written by Phillippe Talavera (2002). This statement did not only raise concern among the subjects of his study but has called for a timely and inevitable response. Please allow me space in your esteemed newspaper to comment on the above-mentioned book in an effort to set the record straight and save the people who might have read that book, from erroneous and vilifying information given to the whole world about the Otjiherero-speaking communities in Kunene North. Among others, the author claimed that the children of the Ovaherero and Ovahimba communities in Kunene Region watch and prevent their parents from having sex. Despite his demeaning arguments given in the book, the author’s claims are nothing but false allegations. The author here questioned the relationship of a girl to her father especially when “used to prevent sexual intercourse from occurring”. Well, there is no space for background here, but this simply comes from the fact that kids sleep in the same hut with their parents until around the age of four. What is of significance to mention here in relation to the quotes is mind you, the kids (of course) do sleep in the same hut with parents but often separately as in covering themselves in blankets with other kids (either siblings or relatives) on one side of the hut (Ekuma), while the parents sleep on the other unless the husband is not around. Sometimes they go sleep in another hut with siblings or the main hut with grandma (still in the same hut, but different Ekuma). It is also not impossible that any woman (white or black) can produce any excuse be it a child or claiming illness when she is not in the mood to make love. But it would seem like the author decided to make a fuss out of it and create a ridiculous impression by adding, “It’s not difficult to imagine the scene: the crying baby held against its mother’s body, with the frustrated father looking on,” – ipso facto taking what might be a universal occurence (not only confined to these people) out of proportion for reasons better known to himself. Even if there is any reason for a baby to sleep with the mother, sick or what have you, it’s not like a child is used as a shield in the horizon of the man’s organ such that it is blocked by the baby or that his wife moves the baby in the direction where the man’s sexual organ is coming from. Contrary to that, a woman may sleep with a child at his or her mat until the child falls asleep, go to her side if they need to make love and then come back to where the baby is sleeping so the baby cannot search for her at night. Traditionally, it is culturally improper for kids to sleep between their parents and even when there is need to sleep with them. It is evident that he or she will lay dead asleep on either side of the parents and wouldn’t know the reason for being laid there at all. In that, emotional development of the child will be 0.00001% intact, if at all it is tempered with. Sometimes, it is not doing justice to others to use the pigment of one’s own imagination as other people’s reality. Generally, the book contains grossly false and misleading conclusions influenced by western concepts, which in itself counteracts his claims that “the purpose of the present book clearly became to present as realistic a picture as possible of the cultural-sexual behaviours among members of the Otjiherero-speaking cultural group in Northern Kunene”. The book has also received a bundle of criticism from the Namibian academic communities and readers. Surprisingly, people who were used to conducting interviews through questionnaires are now often ashamed if one asks them about the book, with some saying “the man has just added his own things”. Concerned Member Windhoek