Sangwali-Hordes of Mayeyi people and other ethnic groups from Zambezi Region and Namibia at large, as well as from neighbouring Botswana gathered on Sunday at Sangwali, the traditional headquarters of the Mayeyi Traditional Authority, for the annual Batshara Batshapi Cultural Festival.
Apart from Chief Kisco Liswani III of the Masubia and Chief Joseph Tembwe of the Mashi Traditional Authority, Chief Jacob Seidisa of the Mayeyi people in Botswana also graced the occasion, accompanied by a delegation of 84.
High-ranking government officials, including Minister of Information and Communication Technology Tjekero Tweya and Deputy Minister of Works and Transport James Sankwasa also attended.
In his annual address, Mayeyi Chief Boniface Shufu called on his subjects to promote social cohesion between the Mayeyi and other tribes within the region and the country at large.
He stressed that his community is known to be peaceful and encouraged them to maintain that peace. “I urge you to continue living with other communities in peace and unity, so that this country can see development that is much needed by all of us,” he said.
Shufu further called on his followers to refrain from tribalism and regionalism and stressed that as the region is comprised of different ethnic groups, “no tribe should feel more important than the other,” but they should all treat each other with respect.
“I am disturbed and seriously concerned to hear isolated cases of regionalism, factionalism and tribalism not only in this region but throughout our country and mostly among the youth.
“I want to appeal to you not to be carried away by such utterances, as they can easily derail the development agenda of this region – if not the whole country.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by Minister Tweya, who called on the Chiefs Forum to resolve any tribal tensions and potential conflict within the region.
“I have realised that sometimes it is not the chiefs with the problem, but it is us, the followers, who are the problem. I therefore call on the Chiefs Forum… to resolve any conflicts that may arise among their subjects,” he said.
Chief Shufu further thanked the government for notable developments in his area of jurisdiction, particularly the construction of staff houses in the Mudumu and Nkasa Rupara national parks, as well as the ongoing construction of a police station at Sangwali.
Given that the area is rich in wildlife and in addition to the two national parks has several conservancies, Shufu called on the conservancies to work tirelessly to protect the area’s wildlife.
“My traditional authority appeals to local conservancies to ensure that they beef up efforts to assist government wardens and game rangers in the protection of our wildlife. I appeal to the community to completely desist from poaching,” he stressed.
The Batshara Batshapi Festival this year celebrated its 25th anniversary under the theme, ‘Moving Proudly With History, Embracing The Future’.
The festival has been celebrated annually ever since the Mayeyi ethnic group splintered from the then Linyanti Khuta and received recognition from government in 1992 as a distinct ethnic group.
The Bayeyi people are mostly found in the southwestern part of the Zambezi. Apart from their peculiar ancestral dance, Shiboli, they share the unique Shiyeyi language, which is characterised by click-sounds.