All set for Mandume Day

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Helvy Shaanika

Ongwediva-Thousands of people are expected at Omhedi Village in Ohangwena Region between today and Monday for the commemoration King Mandume Day.

King Mandume Day is an annual event and is expected to be bigger than ever this year, as Namibians will not only commemorate the day at Omhedi, but an entourage led by Queen Martha Mwadinomho yaKristian Nelumbu will also attend the official inauguration and laying of the wreath at the King Mandume Monument at Oihole, Onjiva in Angola.

But prior to the trip to Angola on Monday, President Hage Geingob is expected to officially inaugurate the King Mandume yaNdemufayo Monument, erected at Oukwanyama Palace in Omhedi in Ohangwena Region.

Senior headman George Nelulu, the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority spokesperson, said the likes of founding president Sam Nujoma and former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, as well as a number of Cabinet ministers are expected to attend the event at Omhedi.

New Era understands that one of the notable groups of people expected to attend include a group of 2,000 Oshiherero-speaking people.

Nelulu said apart from the national leaders, other traditional leaders of various ethnic groups, as well as thousands of their followers are expected to attend.

“All I know is that all traditional authorities have confirmed their attendance, including all the eight Ovawambo ethnic groups. We also have a number of people from Angola coming to Omhedi,” Nelulu explained.

The senior headman further said he is not sure whether President Geingob and the two former presidents will accompany the queen to Oihole.

“We all know that our national leaders are very busy. If one comes to the commemoration at Omhedi on Saturday, he might have other pressing engagements by Monday. I really cannot confirm that they will travel to Oihole,” Nelulu said.

Activities scheduled for the three-day commemoration range from traditional dances and songs, story-telling and presentations on history, among others.

By yesterday morning the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority Palace was overwhelmed with hundreds of people, putting up tents in preparation for the biggest event ever held under the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority.

King Mandume was born in 1894 and died in February 1917 at the tender age of 23. He committed suicide during the battle between Ovakwanyama and the joint forces of the Portuguese and British.

The young leader who accended to the kingship in 1911 is today viewed as an icon of the early anti-colonial resistance and a defender of human rights in both Angola and Namibia.

Among others he abolished many discriminative practices.
Mandume put an end to the brutal killing of women that fell pregnant before marriage and opposed the grabbing of cattle of people including those that were considered as commoners.

In the Mandume era, no person was allowed to carry a weapon during Omaongo (marula) season, which was considered as a dangerous season as most people consumed the alcoholic beverage, produced from the marula nut.
He also banned all random or purposeless shooting.

King Mandume moreover introduced environmental and nature conservation laws that banned people from harvesting of raw fruits, cutting down of trees, while no fishing was allowed before announcement of the fishing season, among others.

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