Omhedi-President Hage Geingob says Namibia has no intention of expanding its borders into Angola, even though the territorial demarcation has split the home of the Oukwanyama people, with one part in Angola and the other in Namibia.
President Geingob was speaking at Omhedi Village in Ohangwena Region during the centenary commemoration of the late king Mandume ya Ndemufayo on Saturday, where he acknowledged that the arbitrary borders imposed by Europe have spawned significant difficulties in post-colonial Africa.
“However, this does not mean that we should start to claim the territories of fellow African states by using ancestral boundaries as justification… There is no basis for Namibians to claim Angolan territory as their own. Whoever dreams of that notion must stop it today,” he advised.
“Therefore, I would like to state in the most emphatic terms that Namibia respects Angola’s territorial integrity. We have no intention whatsoever to extend our boundaries beyond our current border with Angola and we are pleased that we can share in this celebration together as peaceful and fraternal neighbours.”
The President also reiterated his view that if Namibians encourage the practice of attending each other’s cultural gatherings and singing each other’s songs, soon Namibians would all be able to create and enjoy a truly national culture.
“It is pleasing to witness the presence of Namibians from all different ethnic groups, who have travelled from far and wide to congregate right here in Omhedi. This is indicative of the fact that Namibia is a republic and not a grouping of Bantustans,” he remarked.
“Inclusivity spells peace and harmony, where our countrymen and countrywomen come together as one people to share and partake in each other’s events. In so doing, these events are no longer regional, but national.”
President Geingob further told the gathering that exclusivity provides fertile ground for conflict and dissonance.
“We should bear in mind that there is nothing wrong with belonging to tribes and being proud of that fact, but we should avoid being tribal.
“If we encourage the practice of attending each other’s gatherings and singing each other’s songs, then soon we will be able to create a national dance, a national song and a national culture,” he said.
The story of ya Ndemufayo’s fearless and unwavering determination to defend the territorial integrity of his people is not only a testament to his bravery, but also to the spirit of the Namibian people and the African people as a whole who have roundly rejected foreign occupation, the President told his audience at Omhedi.
Ya Ndemufayo ruled the Oukwanyama as from 1911. At the youthful age of 17 years, he ascended to the throne of the Oukwanyama kingdom. His reign lasted only six years and coincided with a tumultuous period when he had to fight two colonial powerhouses, Portugal from the north and Britain, backed by colonial South African forces.
Further, a number of streets in Namibia are named after him, including the famous Mandume ya Ndemufayo Avenue in Windhoek. In Angola, he is memorialised at Oihole and a street in Luanda is named after him, as well as a university in Lubango.
President Geingob said as the nation commemorates the life and times of ya Ndemufayo, it should bear in mind that although it is good to honour national heroes through monuments, statues and street names, it is far better to emulate their feats.
“The best way we, as Namibians, can honour these heroes is by emulating their outstanding qualities, such as their moral fortitude, valour, patriotism, wisdom and commitment to justice,” although it cost their lives,he said.
Founding president Sam Nujoma and former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, Cabinet ministers, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa Amadhila and First Lady Monika Geingos also attended the historic event.