OUTAPI, Sept. 8 – The Olufuko festival not only revives and promotes the cultural heritage of people, but informs and educate people on the Olufuko rite of passage and norms.
Founding President and father of the Namibian nation, Dr Sam Nujoma made these remarks as he officially opened the 6th Olufuko cultural festival at Outapi in the Omusati region.
The festival took place from 25 August- 05 September, and involved the initiation of girls between the ages of 15 – 20, with the aim of preparing the young women for marriage by teaching them how to carry out various household tasks such as pounding mahangu, cooking, preparing traditional beverages, amongst others.
Nujoma said the objective of the festive remains to educate, inform and entertain people with views towards appreciating and enhancing traditional and cultural norms.
The Outapi Town Council (OTC), with the assistance of the University of Namibia (UNAM) Multi-disciplinary Research Centre, is carrying out a social-cultural study of the Olufuko Cultural Festival before and after the advent of colonialism in Namibia.
The will be done with specific references to the historical, religious, legal (formalization) of family relations including comparative case analyses of the impact of Christianity in Ombalantu and similar practices among other traditional communities in Namibia and across Africa.
“The Study will also analyze Olufuko in line with the Namibian Constitution and lessons learnt elsewhere,” said Nujoma.
Numjoma emphasized the need to promote and preserve cultural heritage, adding that this had become more important in the face of factors that endanger cultural heritage, hence concerted efforts should be put in place to preserve the cultural festival for posterity and to maintain it as a unique part of world cultural heritage.
This year 78 girls were initiated, eight less than last year’s figure of 86, and are all from the Omusati region.
The Ombalantu Traditional Authority has sent in the highest number with 37 girls, followed by the Ombadja Traditional Authority, with 25 girls. – Maria Abraham