Bukalo-Thousands of people on Saturday gathered at the Masubia Tribal Headquarters at Bukalo to mark the Masubia Cultural Festival that is hosted annually in honour of Masubian heroes and heroines.
As is tradition, Chief Kisco Liswani III and his senior indunas attended, giving the crowd an opportunity to see their chief in person.
The daylong event attracted people from all parts of the country.
Some came from as far as Zambia and Botswana, where there are pockets of the Masubia. Among the notable guests was senior Chief Inyambo Yeta from Mwandi.
Yearly, the Masubia community gathers to celebrate their culture, both in its intangible and tangible forms. They say the event serves as a reminder to the community of their past, both distant and recent, and serves to commemorate and honour their heroes and heroines, ancestral and contemporary, who have played a role, alongside their fellow Namibians to bring about the independence of Namibia and the resultant peace, stability and progress the country presently enjoys.
This year, the event was celebrated under the theme: ‘Tuvahamwina, Tulivumbe’, which literally means “We are one, let us unite”.
The ceremony began with the entry of President Hage Geingob, Munitenge Kisco Liswani III, and the chiefs from other traditional authorities, who also graced the occasion.
Other dignitaries present on the day were First Lady Monica Geingos, Swapo Party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba,
Justice Minister Albert Kawana, Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta, Urban and Rural Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa, and many other senior government officials.
Apart from senior Chief Inyambo Yeta from Mwandi, Zambia, Chief Moffat Malva Sinvula of the Vekuhane community in the Chobe district of Botswana, and local chiefs, such as Chief Ervin Mbambo Munika of the Mbukushu Traditional Authority from Kavango East Region, as well as Chief Joseph Tembwe Mayuni of the Mashi Traditional Authority and Chief Boniface Lutibezi Shufu of the Mayeyi Traditional Authority also witnessed the occasion.
In an address read on his behalf, Chief Liswani III called on his subjects to work tirelessly to maintain peace and stability in the country.
“Without peace and stability, there will be no progress, development and prosperity. Continue to be tolerant and exercise restraint, as you have done on many other occasions in the face of continued and persistent provocations from disillusioned individuals,” he advised.
Liswani III also called upon fellow traditional leaders to step up the inculcation of moral and ethical values of respect, humility and obedience among the young people in society.
The hosting chief further used the occasion to call for the preservation of historical memory and heritage.
“We request for the construction of memorial structures and gravesites of our heroes and heroines, such as Tobias Hainyeko, Benjamin Bebi, and others in order to enable the proper commemoration of Heroes Day at those sites.
“We also call for the erection of a statue where Brendan Simbwaye was arrested. Additionally, we call for the sustained search and location of Greenwell Matongo and other leaders of the PLAN’s graves for repatriation and reburial in Namibia,” he urged.
Liswani III also spoke against the erosion of respect for elders among the youth.
“It is very disturbing that we observe that insulting the elderly is becoming the order of the day, particularly among people involved in politics. We can surely engage each other and debate issues of national interest without being disrespectful towards each other,” the chief said.
Various cultural groups, the police band, and a number of local artists entertained the crowd with splendid performances.
Members of the Masubia community also used the opportunity to present gifts to their chief.
After the official programme concluded, vendors used the opportunity to sell their goods, while the entertainment continued at the palace, where the people continued to celebrate the day in style.
* Hilma Nakanduungile is an information officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Zambezi Region.