The Matiti clan of the Mayeyi Traditional Authority gathered on Friday at Nkasa Rupara National Park, some 140 kilometres southeast of Katima Mulilo, where a tombstone was erected in honour of late Mayeyi chief Matiti Masuku.
It is believed that Matiti was born in 1795 and took the reins at the age of 35. He reigned as Mayeyi chief for 56 years between 1830 and 1886.
It is further believed that Matiti had settled in Nkasa and made it his royal capital, having viewed the place and concluded that it is an impenetrable fortress, as the island had deep streams that made it difficult for his enemies to pursue him.
The island is said to have been a profusion of game and wild fruit on which Matiti and his loyal subjects depended for their livelihood. He remained there until his death around 1886.
Following his death Nkasa remained the clan’s home for many more years until around 1940 when they were forcefully relocated to higher ground by the colonial regime to the area of Sangwali, where they currently reside.
During the unveiling of the tombstone the Matiti clan stressed that their forefathers had been forgotten and the erecting of the tombstone was way of restoring the legacy of their fallen chiefs.
“The decision to erect a tombstone in honour of our late chief, Matiti, was taken as a measure to preserve his legacy and history of the Mayeyi people,” read a statement issued by the Matiti clan.
Ngambela of the Mayeyi Traditional Authority Josias Mufalali, who was also present at the event, emphasised that the place should be regarded as a shrine for the Mayeyi, as not only late chief Matiti is buried in the area, but many of their forefathers.
“I would love for this area to become our shrine and I don’t want to sound negative or speak ill, however, I would like it that by the time our current chief passes away I would recommend that we bring him here,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Works and Transport James Sankwasa, who is said to be a great grandson of the late Chief Matiti, stressed that the clan is not trying to destabilise peace among the Mayeyi people, but want their late chief to be remember for all the good things he did for the Mayeyi people.