Ovatue group on the edge of civilisation

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Loide Jason

Eenawa-A family from the marginalised Ovatue tribe, recently discovered in Eenawa village in Ruacana, is appealing to the government to expedite the process of investigating them for purposes of attaining national documents.

The family hopes to attain documents so that it too can reap the benefits availed nationally to marginalised groups.

Late last year the Ruacana constituency office was informed about the discovery of this family that did not have national documents.

New Era understands that the Office of the Vice-President, through the Directorate of Marginalised Communities in Omusati, helped the head of the family acquire national documents in order to get the social grant to support his family.

The family consists of 12 people, including the children that are currently living at an open area at Eenawa.

This year when the rains came the family was sleeping in an open area and the office of the constituency councillor helped them temporarily with a tent for shelter.
However, officials say the tent will soon be taken back because it is not within their mandate to help in this way, except during emergencies.

Sackaria Sheetekela, the head of the family, told New Era that they have been roaming around the area because Ovatue norms and culture do not allow them to settle in one place.

He is a father of seven children and is currently staying with two of them while others went to their relatives in Okaluheke in Angola.

“When we realised that there was drought in the area we decided to come close to villages so that we could look for food,” said Sheetekela.

Sheetekela however applauded the government for recognising them and providing them with drought relief food.

When New Era arrived at their current location, family members were just sitting around telling stories while their children played around.

The family has now planted some crops on the portion of land where they are living and hope for a good harvest.

Sheetekela told New Era that they cultivated the land because they were convinced by the official to do so since they are staying on fertile land.

“We are hoping for a good harvest since we have already started cultivating,” he narrated.

He said it would be good if all family members got documents, especially the children who want to attend school.

One female family member, aged 26, is already a mother of four children. None of the children has any national document, despite being fathered by Namibian men.

Senia Endjala, a development planner in the Office of the Vice-President, said investigations into the nationality of these communities take long while people are suffering in the meantime.

However, she said that their office is working tooth and nail to ensure that the family receive national documents.

“Lack of national documents that leads them not to get government benefits such as social grant is one of the main challenges,” she said.

She however assured that their offices are in the process to get the family permanent structures for shelter because they were given land by the traditional authority to settle on.

Endjala further registered her disappointment that some stakeholders are reluctant to help destitute and marginalised communities and just cast their eyes on the offices for the marginalised to help them.

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