Onamundidi-Residents of Omusati Region celebrated the Oshipe Festival at Onamundindi village near Ogongo.
Northern communal farmers have since the time of their ancestors celebrated ‘Oshipe’, a celebration to give thanks to God for giving them a good harvest the previous rainy reason. Directly translated from Oshiwambo, “oshipe” means new harvest.
The event took place at the crop field of Matheus Iilonga and was attended by Vice-President Nickey Iyambo on behalf of President Hage Geingob who is currently in the United States of America on other presidential engagements.
After Iilonga’s mahangu field had a bumper harvest he decided to host Oshipe at his homestead. It was at Iilonga’s mahangu field, in January this year, that President Geingob officially launched ‘Operation Tulongeni’, where the prsident at the same time participated in ploughing the land.
“The [Oshipe] tradition has for decades been enshrined in the culture of, particularly, the Oshiwambo [sic] people in northern Namibia,” Iyambo said.
The initiative encourages crop farmers to work hard in their mahangu fields to produce enough food for own consumption and surplus for income generation. It also provides farmers with assistance in crop production and furthermore aims at encouraging crop farmers to produce surplus mahangu and sell them to the government – to be stored in silos in order to be distributed to needy people countrywide during drought.
Iyambo called on crop farmers to develop a culture of hard work to ensure food security. He said if Namibia became self-reliant in food production the country would be able to minimise costs on food imports.
“We do not want to work but if couples walk early in the morning to go and consume alcohol at shebeens and come back home, then children will join them .This tendency should cease because it will lead to hunger and poverty,” said Iyambo.
During the event various women gave donations of mahangu grain, sorghum, cowpeas and others produce to be kept in silos as drought relief food.
The vice-president said if people start to work hard the government can save money on drought relief and rather spend it on other important projects that will bring development to people.
Meanwhile, the chief of Uukwambi Traditional Authority, Herman Ndilimani Iipumbu, explained that the ways of celebrating Oshipe are not evil practices but merely thanksgiving to God for good rainfall received.
“Good rainfall has resulted in a bumper harvest so this is what we are celebrating today,” he smilingly said.
Iyambo expressed the hope that all 14 regions would emulate Omusati’s productivity so that people can eradicate poverty and achieve the dream of a shared, inclusive and prosperous Namibian House. in which no one feels left out.
He applauded Iilonga and other local farmers for the concerted efforts they have made to ensure a bumper harvest and food security for their households and the nation.
Omusati Governor Erginus Endjala said Omusati inhabitants this year donated mahangu for distribution to the needy. The mahangu is stored in silos in Tsandi.
Villagers from Ohaingu district of the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority on Friday also celebrated Oshipe Festival at the Oukwanyama palace in the Ohangwena Region, and donated bags of mahangu and sorghum to Queen Martha Mwadinomho waKristian yaNelumbu of Oukwanyama. – Additional reporting by Nampa