Following a last-minute agreement between Aletha Nguvauva the wife of the late chief of the Ovambanderu, and the Ovambanderu Traditional Council, that was made a court order, a final order was made on Thursday that effectively bans Nguvauva from visiting her late husband’s grave – with the express authorisation of the traditional council.
High Court Judge Collins Parker says the traditional council is by law the statutory custodian of the holy gravesite and is responsible for ensuring the observance of the customary law of the Ovambanderu community by its members in terms of the Traditional Authorities Act 25, of 2000.
He said as a member of the community, Nguvauva is obliged to observe customary law and if the authority has laid down the manner in which, according to tradition, she may visit the grave of the late Chief Munjuku II Nguvauva, the court can find no basis in law to intervene in the authority’s lawful observance of the tradition and traditional values of the community in that regard.
The matter came before court after Nguvauva allegedly visited her late husband’s grave and laid a wreath during the weekend of May 28 – 29.
According to an affidavit by the traditional authority this is highly irregular and non-traditional as certain ceremonies have to be completed before the site can be visited.
The traditional authority further accused Nguvauva of not asking for the consent of the authority and of unilaterally breaking the lock at the gravesite.
According to them, nobody is allowed at the site aside from the people engaging in commemorations that are held yearly near the date of June 12.
Nguvauva allegedly decided arbitrarily and without the consent of the traditional authority to hold the commemorations during the weekend of June 3 to 5.
Judge Parker ordered that Aletha Nguvauva and Mutima Rikarera Nguvauva or any other person acting under their directions or on their behalf is interdicted and restrained from holding commemorations at Okahandja and entering the Okahandja holy gravesite at Erf 548, Kahimemua Avenue, Okahandja. He further ordered the Okahandja police and the inspector-general of the police to take all measures necessary to give effect to the order. He also ordered Nguvauva and Mutima Nguvauva to pay the costs of the application.
Elize Angula represented the traditional authority and Advocate JP Jones appeared for Nguvauva on instructions of Uitele & Hans Inc.