16 Jun 2013 06:20
By Maggy Thomas
OTJIMBINGWE, 16 JUN (NAMPA) ? Hundreds of OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu people converged upon Otjimbingwe in the Erongo Region on Saturday in remembrance of the leadership summit held by OvaHerero traditional leaders here 150 years ago.
The summit took place on 15 June 1863.
All Otjiherero-speaking communities gathered at Otjimbingwe that year to deliberate on the common threats and challenges they faced, as well as to consider the possible ramifications if they did not act and come up with strategies to address those challenges.
On Saturday, throngs of people from as far as Opuwo in the Kunene Region, Aminuis in the Omaheke Region, Tsau in Botswana, and Vaalgras in the Karas Region participated in the historic event, which will now be remembered on an annual basis.
Besides honouring the 150 years of the summit here, the agenda also included discussions on issues of a socio-economic and political nature, especially the fragmentation of the OvaHerero and OvaMbaderu people.
Other issues include restoring the unity and cooperation between the various clans, chiefs and followers; alcohol abuse; teenage pregnancy; poor education and health facilities; lack of rural development and unavailability of land for purposes of farming and settlement.
The meeting was also seen in some quarters as an attempt to bring to an end the division, infighting and struggle for power within traditional authorities of the various pockets of OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu communities.
The OvaMbanderu community has been divided in two groups since January 2008 when their Chief Munjuku Nguvauva II passed away.
The late chief?s sons - Keharanjo Nguvauva, now deceased, and Kilus Nguvauva, who is currently Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, were in a tussle to take over the chieftaincy.
Immediately after the death Keharanjo, the deceased's faction installed his mother Aletta Nguvauva as Queen of the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority.
Aletta was the wife of departed Chief Munjuku Nguvauva.
The OvaHerero royal houses of the Kambazembi, Maharero, Zeraeua are also still in power struggles.
The Zeraeua Traditional Authority recently split into two factions, with one led by Mannese Zeraeua and the other by Rafael Kapia fighting for the chieftaincy of the Zeraeua Royal House following the death of Chief Christian Eerike Zeraeua in 2012.
One group led by Tjipepa and Kapia descendants claim to be the rightful heir to the Zeraeua Royal House, and installed Kapia as successor last year, while the other group led by the late Zeraeua?s son Manasse held a separate coronation ceremony, claiming he is the rightful heir to the throne.
The meeting on Saturday was organised by the OvaHerero Traditional Authority led by OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako.
Although the meeting was seen as an attempt to restore unity between the OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu communities, the Maharero, Vita and Kambazembi royal houses were not visible, while the Kilus and Manasse factions also shunned the meeting.
The proceedings commenced at around 09h00 with participants visiting several sacred places around Otjimbingwe, while the formal event only kicked off at 14h15 with speeches.
Speaker after speaker emphasised unity between the two communities (OvaMbanderu and OvaHerero), and encouraged the two communities to fight for their socio-economic challenges in unison.
The event was attended among others by Riruako, DTA of Namibia president Katuutire Kaura, OvaMbanderu Chief Alletta Nguvauva, several traditional authority leaders and members of the public.