Vanyemba Tribe And Language Dominate Talk Radio

22 May 2015 08:40am
By Olavi Haikera
(Nampa Features Service)

RUNDU, 22 MAY (NAMPA) - The dust around the debate regarding the Vanyemba tribe’s calls for recognition in the two Kavango regions is refusing to settle.
The discussion dominated a call-in programme on the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Rukavango radio for three consecutive days this week.
The discussion comes after Nampa published a story on the new traditional authority emerging from the two Kavango regions known as the ‘Vanyemba tribe’, which recently requested Government’s recognition of their tribe in Namibia.
The Vanyemba tribe committee late last year wrote to the then President, Hifikepunye Pohamba, requesting him to recognise their tribe in order to maintain their privileges, language, norms, values and culture.
Caller after caller on the NBC radio call-in programme earlier this week said it is practically impossible for the tribe to have its own chief, as the two Kavango regions already have five traditional authority chiefs and there is thus no land for them.
Some callers, who identified themselves as being from the Vanyemba tribe, felt that the government should at least recognise their language so that it can be taught in schools and so that Vanyemba programmes can be broadcast on NBC’s Rukavango radio.
“We do not want our own chief in the two Kavango regions but at least the Vanyemba language must be recognised,” said one caller.
The callers feel that since the Vanyemba migrated into Namibia many years ago they have contributed significantly to the region and the country’s socio-economic developments through various means, while some occupy prominent positions in society.
According to the letter dated 09 September 2014, which is in possession of this agency, the tribe’s nine-member committee told the former president that their forefathers came to Namibia from Angola in the early 1900s to settle in the then South West Africa.
The Vanyemba tribe’s committee consists of Samuel Likholo as chairperson, deputised by Joseph Kasera with Lucas Domingos as the secretary and Joseph Mukonda as deputy-secretary. Robert Hamunyera is the treasurer, deputised by Ndara Martins with Moses Kashela serving as the coordinator. The committee advisor is Kankala Thadeus and Andreas Elias is the culture advisor.
In the letter, they say their Namibian citizenship is based on the country’s Constitution that in Chapter 2, Article 4, states that a person can be Namibian by birth and if that person’s forefathers were born and resided in Namibia before independence in 1990.
The disgruntled tribe argued that up to date, the Vanyemba are not yet recognised countrywide, while the government knows that they are Namibian citizens and that they migrated to Namibia, like many other tribes.
They argued that not being recognised is disadvantaging them, as they are not enjoying the practice of their traditions, culture and language as per the country’s Constitution, which they say entitles them to enjoy their freedom.
Vanyemba tribe chairperson Samuel Likholo told this agency on Tuesday that the Nyemba tribe has asked Government to recognise their language.
Likholo explained that the Vanyemba tribe are not asking for their own chief or land as they already have land in the two Kavango regions where they have farms and residential areas.
Asked whether the Vanyemba tribe will need its chief in future, he said that will depend on the government following the recognition of their language.
The committee questioned why the Vanyemba tribe falls under other tribes and languages in the two Kavango regions, as if they do not have their own language, tradition and culture.
The Kavango East Governor, Samuel Mbambo earlier confirmed to this agency that he is aware of the VA’s letter of demand but could not divulge details, as the issue is in the hands of the President’s office and he is not mandated to comment on the matter. Mbambo said the matter is currently under investigation.
“It is a well-known letter. It’s not a secret but I will only give information once I have clarity from the President’s office,” he said.
The Kavango West Governor, Sirkka Ausiku said that she was aware of the letter and received a copy from her Kavango East counterpart on 07 April this year.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Mbunza Traditional Authority Chief Alfons Kaundu who is the Chairperson of the Chiefs Forum in the two Kavango regions also earlier confirmed that he is aware of the demands but stated that the office of the Kavango East governor was mandated to arrange an appointment with the President’s office to discuss the matter.
Chief Kaundu noted that once the appointment is secured, governors for the Kavango regions, together with their traditional authority leaders will undertake a trip to State House to discuss the matter.