Omhedi-Several traditional authority leaders described the late Oukwanyama king Mandume ya Ndemufayo as a fearless fighter, who had an unwavering determination to defend the territorial integrity of his people.
February 6, 2017 marked the centenary commemoration of the death of Ovakwanyama King Mandume Ndeulikufa ya Ndemufayo ya Haihambo ya Indanalo and his legacy of fighting the Portuguese and the British in and around Oukwanyama.
It is said ya Ndemufayo died in combat at the age of 23 years on February 6, 1917 at Oihole in Angola. He instilled in the minds of his people the notion that “slavery and death are one and the same”.
Government dignitaries and diplomats, traditional leaders and chiefs formed part of the commemoration over the weekend at the Oukwanyama palace in Omhedi, Ohangwena Region, and at Oihole in Angola, 40 kilometres southeast of Ondjiva in Cunene province.
The centenary commemoration started on Friday and ends today.
Ovaherero Chief Vekuii Rukoro during the occasion described ya Ndemufayo as one of the heroes and legends of Namibia, who ascended to the throne of the Ovakwanyama people at a very young age – only 17 years old at the time.
He says it is worth commemorating ya Ndemufayo’s bravery and legacy as he died fighting to protect the integrity of Namibians against foreign occupation. Around that time he was engaged in battling the Portuguese slavers and invading South African forces, the Ovaherero in the central areas of Namibia fought the German colonial forces, in the course of which many fled to Botswana and to Oukwanyama, where they were received by then King ya Ndemufayo.
Rukoro said ya Ndemufayo protected the Ovaherero, gave them water, food and shelter and this is how the bond of friendship and even intermarriage between the Ovaherero and Ovakwanyama started.
“We are here today to ensure that those bonds of friendship are strengthened, so that in the practical manner we live the spirit of’One Namibia One Nation,” Adv Rukoro said, adding that he wants young people to emulate the spirit of bravery, courage, determination and sacrifice that ya Ndemufayo exemplified.
“That is why we came here with a gift of a bull and two heifers to give on behalf of the Ovaherero to her majesty, the queen, on behalf of Ovakwanyama people to symbolise the ties of friendship and solidarity and that is what our young people we hope will emulate,” Rukoro said.
Ovambanderu Chief Kilus Nguvauva also made his presence felt at the commemoration.
“It was important to come here, so that we can inform our kids concerning what he did for Namibia. On the other side, it’s good to unite our people and we should tell our young people what our forefathers did for us. That is why [we] decided to come and be with the people here in Oukwanyama,” he said.
Oukwambi Chief Herman Iipumbu also wants young people to emulate the bravery, courage and sacrifice of King ya Ndemufayo.
“The young people nowadays are worrying us, because they don’t want to be associated with their cultural norms and practices. They are dominated by foreign cultures and this is worrisome,” he lamented.
Chairperson of the Council of Traditional Leaders Kauluma Elifas urged all communities to refrain from alcohol abuse and violence against women and children.
All traditional leaders should meet government halfway by encouraging their subjects to work hard in food production in order to feed their families, Kauluma said.