Windhoek – Youth were among the participants in the Otjiherero Cultural Festival under the auspices of the Ovaherero Cultural Youth League (OCYL) at the Okakarara Trade Centre.
The festival that took place on April 28, attracting close to 500 people, saw youth participating in various cultural activities like drilling parades, choral singing and notably praise-singing in which children of tender age particularly distinguished themselves.
Praise-singing is highly popular among the Otjiherero-speaking communities and hitherto has been considered a difficult cultural facet to attain because those excelling in it are not only deemed deep rooted in the Otjiherero cultural ways but must be well versed in the history of these communities. Basically praise-singing, okutanga ala Otjiherero culture, entails the oral transmission of the history of these communities poetically, making those transmitting such history poets in their own right. They can be likened to the griots in West Africa.
The socio-economic fabric of the Otjiherero communities revolves around land and cattle as basic tenets. Attendant to such were various artefacts such as the homestead, of which an important tenet thereof is the holy fire. And ultimately the various wars for survival to protect these. These are usually the elements which form part of most praise-singing among the Otji-communities.
Inherent in such praise-singing has also been the ability to know one’s various lineages, paramount of them the patrilineal and matrilineal clans, omayanda.
Thus it was not only amazing for many to see youngsters entreating what all along has been considered difficult cultural embodiments, but reassuring that culture, besides modern, usually western cultural influences and trappings, is far from dying with the younger generations taking on the cultural baton.
Otjinene United Youth Choir emerged winner in the choir competitions going away with N$3,000 and a trophy, Okakarara Constituency Youth Choir first runner-up getting N$1,000 and the Ongombonbome (Waterberg) Junior Secondary School in third place winning N$500. Ngurije Katusuva, conductor of the Otjinene Choir, also returned home with N$500 for his personal pocket for his conducting antics.