Mashi Traditional Authority clarifies tribal identity

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Staff Reporter

Choi-The Mashi Traditional Authority, under the leadership of Chief Boniface Tembwe Mayuni, has hit back at critics who suggested that the tribe has no identity of its own or an area of jurisdiction.

During a media briefing last week, the traditional authority stressed that it has its own cultural identity spanning centuries. It said in a letter dated 17 July 2004 (seen by New Era), the then Namibian President Sam Nujoma, recognised Mayuni as the Chief of the Mafwe Community.

The authority further stressed that although the Mafwe Tradional Authority is an umbrella body, which represents several tribes, the Mashi Traditional Authority is solely a representative of the Mafwe-speaking community.

They stated that at the time of recognition they could not take the identity of the Mafwe Traditional Authority because it already existed. “It is on record that Omfumu Joseph Tembwe Mayuni was recognised as the Chief of the Mafwe Community. We have continued to use the name Mashi Traditional Authority to allow the Lozi to find a name with which they could call themselves with [sic],” reads the statement.

This was in reference to the tension that arose at the time the Mashi Traditional Authority was recognised, as they wanted to be called the Mafwe and suggested that the existing Mafwe Traditional Authority be rechristened under a name associated with the Lozi kingdom in Zambia due to the historic relationship they share.

At a recent festival, Prince Akashmbatwa Lewanika of the Lozi people in Zambia was quoted saying Chief Mamili I was brought into Caprivi (Zambezi) to be a “representative for the Lozi people who were in the region”.
The Mashi Traditional Authority further stressed that as perceived by many, the recognition of Chief Mayuni did not bring tribal tension in the region. “Far from it, the recognition of Chief Joseph Tembwe Mayuni brought stability to the region.

“Chief Mayuni continues to live in harmony with other chiefs in the region. The only tension that is going on in the region is the increase in the people’s understanding about the roots of the Mayuni chieftaincy.”

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