Youth festival aims to reverse cultural decay

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Jeremiah Ndjoze
Windhoek

Those in the know have it that culture is important to society as it defines its evolutionary identity while enhancing the understanding of the native’s ancestral values.

Better yet, in addition to its intrinsic value, nowadays culture provides important social and economic benefits. With this in mind the Ovaherero Cultural Youth League (OCYL), a youth empowerment arm under the auspices of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA), is planning the launch of its maiden Ovaherero Cultural Festival with the aim of making it an annual happening.

Venee Korumbo reveals that the cultural affair, slated for April 27 to 28, could not have come at a better time, in light of the cultural decay that is fast eating away at the fabric of Namibian society. Cultural decay is when a culture no longer holds any value to the youth of the period and is slowly cast aside in favour of new trends.

“We realised that there are so many cultural norms within our society that is fast being overtaken by new trends. For example, young people no longer take their new acquisitions, like cars, to their elders, and not so many young people are aware of the praise songs attached to various localities or let alone, how to slaughter a sheep for traditional purposes,” Korumbo laments. But she maintains the event is not strictly meant for the Ovaherero youth but for persons of any tribe and age. As such, the Nama community as well as other clans that fall within the Ovaherero kinship such as the Ovahimba and Ovazemba people have also indicated their interest to display their traditional activities.

“The collective need is for us to come together as a people and educate each other about our various traditional norms and practices, which in turn will pave the way for a better understanding of each other’s ways of living and coexistence,” Korumbo adds.

The event will take place at the Okakarara Trade Fair Centre, at Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa Region. This year’s do will be held under the theme “Ombango movyombazu yoye ondikameno kove” (Interest in your culture is your sustainability). It will feature, among other activities, the importance of circumcision, followed by traditional circumcision activities to be performed by local experts under supervised conditions.

“There will also be a choir singing competition, a competition on how to tie the traditional women headgear or garb (otjikaiva) and another competition on traditional military exercises (drills) both on feet and on horses,” Korumbo reveals, adding that all these activities will be subject to a N$30 entry fee for those who want to watch while those who intend to partake will enter free of charge.

Today (Wednesday, April 11) the organisers are hosting a traditional gala dinner at the Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School hall where traditional cuisines will pair with the selling of traditional apparels and collectibles. Tickets to the gala dinner are going for N$250 a person, N$450 for partners (strictly Noah’s Ark style), and N$2,000 for a table of ten people.

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